US biochemicals too technology-driven, need business focus – DoE

16 February 2011 17:54  [Source: ICIS news]

SAN DIEGO, California (ICIS)--The US biochemicals industry should broaden its focus beyond technology and seek out further opportunities for business investment, a manager with the US Department of Energy (DoE) said on Wednesday.

“To get things moving, the business side has to be even with the technology,” said Paul Bryan, programme manager with the DoE’s office of biomass.

Bryan spoke at the Next Generation Bio-Based Chemicals Summit in San Diego, sponsored by Infocast.

Bryan expressed disappointment that the “technical” track of the conference was much more attended than the “business” side.

“Over here [in the technical room], it’s been packed,” he said. “But over there, there is plenty of room. I’d like to see that side packed as well.”

“I’d like to see you pull more people in, and persuade more people in the business world that this is a place to invest money,” Bryan told attendees.

Bryan said US officials were beginning to involve biochemicals in the regulatory process, offering encouragement that the industry could move beyond merely biofuels.

“People in government are beginning to understand that making fuel - and the price you have to sell fuel at to compete in the marketplace - is extraordinarily challenging,” he said.

“This [biochemicals] is getting us back into the natural order,” he added.

But in addition to government initiatives, the biochemicals industry must focus on innovative commercialisation strategies, he said.

“It can’t just be about the technology,” Bryan said.

The Bio-Based Chemicals Summit runs through Thursday.

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By: Ben DuBose
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