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Biotechnology: Improving Your Life

April 2, 2013
The World Economic Forum released a list of 10 ways biotechnology can improve your life. Experts from their Council on Biotechnology selected the 10 which they believe could help increase productivity and drive job creation in addition to meeting the world’s rapidly growing demand for energy, food and healthcare.

The list is filled with developments related to industrial and environmental biotech including bioproduction of sustainable chemicals, energy and other materials. Through biotechnology, living organisms, such as bacteria, fungus or plants, can be used to create fuels, chemicals and other materials. This benefits our nation’s energy security by providing new sources for fuels and both our national and economic security as it lessens dependence on foreign sources of oil. Sustainability is also a key benefit as the extraction, refining and burning of fossil fuels are a major cause of greenhouse gases and the warming of the planet.

BIO’s 10th Annual World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology – the only conference dedicated solely to industrial biotechnology – takes place this June, and will look directly at the sustainability issue. A featured plenary session, Building a Sustainable Biobased Industry, will showcase industrial biotech innovators, global brand owners, retailers, and consumers discussing how the industrial biotech sector can move from R&D to commercial deployment, while preserving its contribution to a more sustainable production system.

Also on the World Economic Forum’s list is zero-waste bio-processing. New bio-processing techniques can help realize the longtime dream of environmentalists for a zero-waste society. Biorefineries turn industrial waste streams into chemicals and fuels. These biorefineries are producing new employment opportunities and jump-starting economic development when they’re needed most as they integrate biomass conversion processes and equipment to produce fuel, power, heat and value-added chemicals from biomass.

At BIO’s World Congress there will be a lot of talk about converting biomass into chemicals and fuels including an entire breakout program track dedicated to Advanced Biofuels and Biorefinery Platforms. Individual sessions will highlight the roles of industry and government in developing biorefineries and the bioproducts sector, and will also look at how industry is progressing in making cellulosic fuels a commercial reality.

Also, a plenary session called Feeding Next Generation Biorefineries in 2013 will feature biotech feedstock producers and experts in the field discussing the progress in deploying conventional and novel feedstocks around the world, and what challenges feedstock providers face as they attempt to build and expand a marketplace for biobased raw materials.

The World Economic Forum list goes on with many other ways biotechnology improves our lives and will continue to do so in the future including using seawater bioprocesses to produce fuel and chemicals and using carbon dioxide as a raw material. To see all 10 and understand how they benefit us, check out the full list here.