Federal Investment in New Ways to Produce Ethanol Critical for Meeting Aggressive Production Targets, BIO Says

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 9, 2007) -- The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today urged House and Senate budget writers to invest in research and development and support commercialization of ethanol from cellulose as outlined in the Bush Administration’s 2008 budget. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman appeared before the House Energy and Commerce today to testify about the President’s proposed budget.

“The Administration’s budget contains funding for biofuels research that is significantly increased over last year’s budget. It also contains funding to guarantee loans for construction of modern biorefineries. This backing will help the biotechnology and ethanol industries, farmers, and the investment community work together to achieve the President’s goal of annually producing 35 billion gallons of renewable fuel within 10 years,” said BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood.

“To rapidly increase availability of biofuels at the pump within the next few years, we must fund the necessary research into applied fundamentals, at both laboratory and commercial-scale facilities. We must start to overcome issues in supply of raw materials, conversion of new feedstocks, and distribution of biofuels now,” Greenwood continued.

BIO supports the production of ethanol from all feedstocks. Agricultural biotechnology is helping to increase corn yields, while industrial biotechnology is helping to convert corn starch and crop residues into ethanol more efficiently. With ongoing advances in biotechnology, biofuels can help America meet nearly half its transportation-fuel needs by the middle of this century.

BIO Executive Vice President Brent Erickson said, “With recent advances in industrial biotechnology, the United States can significantly increase production of biofuels to meet the ambitious goals set by the President. The biotechnology and ethanol industries are ready to take fuel production to the next level.

“Biotechnology is the key enabling technology that can help the United States significantly reduce its use of foreign petroleum. America could soon be producing a significant portion of its transportation fuel needs from crops and crop residues with the help of improved crop yields from agricultural biotechnology, increased ethanol production efficiency from industrial biotechnology, and the production of cellulosic biomass ethanol.”

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.