In honor of next week’s BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotech and Bioprocessing event in Montreal, ICIS Chemical Business (the company I work for) published last week its white biotechnology feature with articles about synthetic biology, bioplastic, overview on white biotechnology, Germany’s biotech plans, the surge in biorefinery investments in the US, and researchers from California San Francisco University developing methyl halides from biomass.
The magazine also featured the chemical industry sustainability survey by ICIS/Genomatica which I posted last week in the blog.
More about green chemistry/industrial biotechnology news and updates next week as I cover the BIO event (via tweets and blog) so stay tune!
1. Germany gears up for biotech future - a consultant from Euro Swiss Research reported the recent launch of the Chemical and Biotechnological Process Centre (CBP) in German chemical site Infraleuna, which offers access to non-food-chain renewable feedstocks such as straw, wood, starch, oilseeds and algae and respective transformation processes to existing, on-site refinery and chemical companies, as well as third-party off-site companies, R&D institutions, universities and others.
The CBP offers significant time, investment, and cost savings compared with a stand-alone pilot plant since it is a readily available, subsidized, fully equipped facility.
2. US biotech optimistic on gov’t funding - The US industrial biotech industry will tap significant funding from the Obama administration for biorefineries and biochemical plants. The US Department of Energy (DOE) recently expanded its grants for integrated biorefineries from $200m (€144m) to $460m, as part of the government’s massive stimulus package.
3. Synthetic biology could transform chemical manufacturing - Biologists have amassed an increasingly sophisticated set of tools for harnessing the productive capacities of living organisms through genetic engineering, and they have begun to use a new term to describe their activities: synthetic biology.
4. Bioplastic demand expands despite recession - Development and marketing are surging as bioplastics categories expand to meet a worldwide demand that is growing exponentially. The global bioplastics market is growing at 20-30%/year, and will jump from 400m lb in 2006, to 10bn lb by 2015, according to a consultancy.
5. White biotechnology starting to fulfill its potential - White Biotechnology has been touted as the next big thing for years but has never quite lived up to its billing as an alternative to key chemical processes. Thanks to increased consumer awareness and demand for all things green, coupled with advances in technology and political support, its potential is now starting to be realized.
6. Californian researchers develop biomass-based methyl halides - Using the microbial strain Actinolea fermentans, combined with genetically modified yeast, researchers at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry were able to produce methyl halides from biomass such as unprocessed switchgrass, corn stover, sugar cane bagasse and poplar.
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