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Industrial Biotechnology: A Unique Potential for Pollution Prevention

July 21, 2017
In 2007, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report titled “Bioengineering for Pollution Prevention” showed how industrial biotechnology can be used with sustainable renewable resources in biobased manufacturing to reduce reliance on oil and environmental waste as well as increase energy efficiency. The report wrote about priorities for future research and the condition of the science. That was a decade ago.

In the time that has passed, products have been made for commercial use that show the ways in which industrial biotechnology can re-utilize carbon, cut pollution and gain quantifiable improvements in biomass sustainability. A new report from BIO, “Industrial Biotechnology: A Unique Potential for Pollution Prevention,” documents that progress.

The BIO report shows how companies are working to utilize new technology in various ways. Some have developed crop management technology, sustainability initiatives and newly developed crops with environmental benefits. Other biotech companies have started commercializing the processes that utilize methanotrophs and algae to capture CO2 and change it into renewable chemicals. This process averts carbon and pollutant emissions and additionally, replaces fossil fuels.

During this past decade, the report notes that other companies have been focusing on making improvements to address the challenges discussed in the EPA report. These companies have made great progress in improving cellulosic biomass conversion, microbial genetic engineering techniques, biorefinery operations and life-cycle sustainability. Furthermore, demonstration-scale biorefineries are in use to work toward developing cellulosic ethanol.

It is safe to say that significant progress has been made in the past decade. In order to produce new renewable chemicals and biofuels, developments have been made in engineering microbes, utilizing synthetic-biology to enhance microbial metabolic pathways. To analyze the progress, the biotech industry continues to use life cycle analysis to establish the sustainability and cost-effectiveness of biofuels, biobased products and renewable chemicals.

BIO wants to recognize the progress from these companies, and show the potential that the industrial biotechnology industry has to reduce carbon, waste and energy use and to replace fossil fuels with lasting technologies. Examining the accomplishments made shows how far industrial biotechnology has come. The documentation shows what can be expected in the future and how biotech has possibility to reduce pollution by great amounts.

To read the whitepaper, click here.