BIO’s 10th Annual World Congress on Industrial Biotech kicked off its first full day of programming Monday and the halls were abuzz with good news. Attendees packed the exhibit hall, breakout rooms, plenary hall and investor sessions at the Palais des congrès de Montréal.
During a morning breakout program Myriant Corporation, a global renewable chemicals company, announced the successful start-up at its flagship bio-succinic acid plant located in Lake Providence, Louisiana. The plant is the first of its kind and scale in North America and has an annual production capacity of 30 million pounds of bio-succinic acid. Uses include a wide variety of applications such as polymers, urethanes, plasticizers and coatings. Myriant's bio-succinic acid is made from renewable feedstocks and is chemically equivalent to petroleum-based succinic acid while providing a lower environmental footprint.
"This is an exciting and challenging time for Myriant as we work through typical start-up and optimization activities to produce our high-performing bio-succinic acid at Lake Providence," said Stephen J. Gatto, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Myriant.
During a plenary lunch Brent Erickson, Executive Vice President for BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, welcomed attendees and talked about the significance of the World Congress entering its 10th year. Here when it started, Brent watched the conference grow from 300 attendees in its first year to more than 1,200 attendees from 30 different countries. The industrial biotech industry has grown as well during this time.
“In the early days of the sector, we talked a lot about the ‘promise’ of industrial biotech,” Brent said. “Today we are talking about the robust reality of industrial biotech. This is an exciting and gratifying time to be involved with this technology.”
Jim Greenwood, BIO’s President and CEO, moderated the plenary panel called “A Regional Approach to a Global Biobased Economy.” The dynamic panel brought together heads of industry from Canada, Russia, Europe and Malaysia for a discussion on current industrial biotech trends in their regions and policies driving business development or hindering growth in this sector.
The heads of industry from Canada, Russia, Europe and Malaysia all focused on the pressure we’re putting on the planet as the global population continues to swell on its way to a predicted 9 billion people by 2050. Each talked about the need to adapt and industrial biotech’s role as a part of the solution.
“A global biobased economy is the way forward as it addresses key sustainable development challenges affecting the world,” said Dato Dr. Nazlee Kamal, CEO of BiotechCorp.
Greenwood talked a lot about growth during the session. The Industrial Biotechnology Section of BIO has more than 85 members, he said - a far cry from it’s beginning 15 years ago when six companies formed the Section. He then turned his attention to the industry itself. “The biofuel industry has grown substantially around the world,” he said. “The United States has grown to a leading position, due to the Renewable Fuel Standard. The renewable chemical industry is now growing rapidly and attracting increased investment.”
Before the RFS existed, Greenwood said the industry goal was simple: create a vision and advocate for the creation of a biobased economy. “The challenges now facing our industry require a re-dedication to our original vision, and new initiative to defend and expand it,” he added.
Stay tuned to BIOtechNOW for the latest announcements and highlights as BIO’s 10th Annual World Congress continues. Get real time updates on Twitter by following the conference hashtag: #BIOWorldCongress.