WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 17, 2001) – Skyrocketing gasoline, home heating oil and natural gas prices underscore the importance of developing renewable energy sources. The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) applauds the White House for its support of such research in its national energy policy released today.

U.S. biotechnology companies are developing new ways to make energy from biomass – sources such as corn stover (leaves and stems), wheat and rice straw, rice hulls and sawdust. Through the development of new enzymes – or biocatalysts – this previously unusable waste can be fermented and made into ethanol, biodegradable plastics, fine chemicals and other products and forms of energy.

“The Bush administration’s Energy Policy Task Force, led by Vice President Cheney, clearly understands the potential of biotechnology to help produce cleaner and renewable forms of energy and other biobased products,” said Carl B. Feldbaum, president of BIO.

“The same genomic and proteomic technologies that are leading to lifesaving drugs and therapies, are also helping scientists discover new ways to produce energy and other biobased products,” Feldbaum said.

BIO represents more than 950 biotechnology companies,academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states and 33 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.

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