Many of the products consumers purchase and use on a daily basis are made from petroleum, natural gas or petrochemicals. The availability and affordability of these products contributes to improved standards of living in countries around the world.
The volatility of prices for oil and natural gas present a challenge to manufacturers seeking to keep consumer goods at competitive prices. Further, consumers are increasingly seeking products with natural or renewable ingredients, enhanced performance qualities, or environmental benefits. The use of biotechnology presents an opportunity to meet these consumer demands.
Biotechnology enables the use of renewable resources in the production of chemicals that are identical, drop-in replacements for petrochemicals. In many cases, the only difference between the petrochemical and renewable chemical is the stability of the price. In other cases, renewable chemicals provide enhanced formulation qualities.
Biotechnology processes are inherently cleaner than petrochemical or thermochemical processes, producing fewer byproducts or using less energy. Renewable chemicals can meet consumer expectations for environmental sensitivity.
Renewable chemicals represent an opportunity to commercialize innovative biotechnology applications because they are competitive on cost and performance in low-volume, high value markets. The capital investment costs for building small-scale renewable chemical production plants is lower than for a bulk chemical such as a biofuel.