President Bush’s Visit to North Carolina Highlights Key Role for Industrial Biotechnology in Expanding Production of Biofuels
WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 22, 2007) – The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) thanked President Bush for his participation in a panel discussion on advances in industrial biotechnology that can help dramatically increase ethanol production, held today during a visit to Novozymes North America of Franklinton, N.C. Novozymes is a leading industrial biotechnology company that produces enzymes and microbes for applications such as ethanol production, additives for detergents and novel food ingredients.
“We appreciate the personal interest that President Bush has taken in boosting domestic biofuels production. The President’s recent statements underline his commitment to developing new biofuels technologies. We believe President Bush’s visit to Novozymes sends the world a strong message about the importance of the work that industrial biotechnology companies are doing to provide a key enabling technology for large-scale production of ethanol,” said Jim Greenwood, president and CEO of BIO. “We are proud that our member companies put the ‘bio’ in biofuels. We are also grateful for the President’s leadership on this important issue.”
In his 2007 State of the Union address, President Bush proposed a very aggressive alternative fuels standard to require use of 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels by 2017, helping to reduce gasoline usage in the United States by 20 percent.
“We can achieve the President’s ambitious alternative fuel standard by using industrial biotechnology to both increase current ethanol production efficiency and make even more ethanol from cellulosic feedstocks such as corn stover, fast growing trees and wood chips, and dedicated energy crops, including switchgrass,” Greenwood continued. “Last year, President Bush announced he wanted ethanol from cellulose to become cost-competitive with gasoline within six years. Advances in enzyme technology by companies such as Novozymes, Genencor and Dyadic and other BIO members mean that soon the production of ethanol from cellulose can be cost-competitive with gasoline.”
Brent Erickson, BIO’s executive vice president for industrial biotechnology, noted, “Cellulase enzymes convert the cellulose in plant matter to sugars that can then be fermented to ethanol motor fuel. Research recently completed by Novozymes successfully reduced the cost of cellulase enzymes for production of ethanol from cellulose to between $0.18 and $0.10 per gallon and further enzyme cost reductions are expected in the near future.”
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 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.