Blockbuster Renewable Fuel Standard Plus Advances in Biotechnology Will Transform U.S. Energy Picture and Economy, BIO Says

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Wednesday, December 19, 2007) - The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today applauded President Bush and Congress for enacting the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, containing the new renewable fuel standard (RFS) that explicitly supports production of 36 billion gallons of biofuels, including cellulosic ethanol and advanced biofuels.

Brent Erickson, executive vice president for BIO’s Industrial and Environmental Section, issued the following statement:

“The Energy Independence and Security Act is a-game-changing moment in American history.  This new law includes the most ambitious policy undertaken by any government in the world to create a viable, large-scale biofuels industry. We are about to move from ethanol being a bit player to being a major player in the transportation fuels industry. President Bush is to be commended for having the vision and leading the charge to develop next generation biofuels. It is also a rare and commendable example of Congressional bipartisan cooperation to accomplish a very significant change in public policy. This moment in the history of transportation fuels development can be compared to the transition from whale oil to kerosene to light American homes in the 1850’s.

“This effort to produce biofuels on a massive scale is an undertaking larger than the Apollo project or the Manhattan project.  America can meet this goal because of the accelerating advances in industrial biotechnology. The new RFS will catapult the U.S. biofuels industry to the next level of commercial development and take us beyond conventional ethanol. It will accelerate the creation of a U.S. biobased economy built on sustainable and renewable resources instead of petroleum and it will reduce both our dependence on foreign oil and our climate change emissions.

“The RFS could add as much as $170 billion to the U.S. economy in advanced technology development, biofuel production, and infrastructure construction. McKinsey & Company analysts project that the new RFS will bring the potential for tens of billions of dollars for biotech companies, farmers, suppliers and fuel producers and necessitate the investment of more than 100 billion dollars for building some 300 new plants. The bold new RFS provisions in the federal energy bill will induce an unprecedented level of venture capital investment in the biofuel industry.

“In order to meet the new RFS we must couple advances in biotechnology with the building of this new renewable energy infrastructure across rural America. The industrial biotechnology and biofuel industries are ready and able to meet the challenge of sustainably increasing production of cellulosic and advanced biofuels to accomplish the goals of the new renewable fuels standard. Industrial biotechnology companies are already improving the technology for making conventional ethanol and cellulosic ethanol. And, we are developing new processes using microbes for making advanced biofuels – alcohols like biobutanol, and even hydrocarbons that can directly substitute for gasoline in fuel tanks.”

Renewable Fuel Standard Facts

  • At the mandated volumes, biofuels would make up for more than 20 percent of total gasoline for road transport in the United States by 2022.
  • These volumes imply a total revenue pool of about $50 billion to $70 billion for producers and very significant revenues for farmers and suppliers.
  • Enzymes and fermentation organisms necessary for biofuels could represent a business opportunity worth $3 billion to $5 billion.
  • Construction of this capacity requires major capital investments, up to $100 billion for building some 300 new plants.
  • BIOWA ( a non-profit group in Iowa) estimates that 10 new cellulosic biorefineries would create 22,000 jobs, yielding $11.6 Billion Economic Impact/yr and $367M Iowa Tax creation.
  • Reducing dependence on oil by about 1.5 million barrels per day is a major move for enhancing energy security.
  • And the United States could reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mostly via use of lingocellulosic ethanol, by about 200 million tons of CO2 equivalents. For comparison, 200 million tons is more than the total emissions of countries like the Netherlands.

Upcoming BIO Events


    BIO-Asia Partnering Conference 

January 28-29, 2008

Tokyo, Japan


    BIO CEO & Investor Conference

February 11-13, 2008

New York, NY


    Partnering for Global Health 

March 10-12, 2008

Washington, DC


    BIO-Europe Spring

April 7-9, 2008

Madrid, Spain


    World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology & Bioprocessing 

April 27-30, 2008

Chicago, IL


    BIO International Convention

June 17-20

San Diego, CA


About BIO

BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and 31 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the annual BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry.  Visit for more information on BIO and all upcoming events.