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Genencor promotes biobased economy to address challenges of fast-growing world population

PALO ALTO, Calif. Oct. 5, 2011 Today at the first-annual California Industrial Biotechnology Conference, Genencor called for the collaboration of industry, science and policy stakeholders to help solve the challenges of a growing world population through accelerating a biobased economy. A biobased economy is driven by the use of renewable sources for energy, fuels and the production of chemicals and materials.

"The global population is expected to increase to 9 billion by 2050, and we are already experiencing challenges in meeting the needs for food, energy and protection," said Genencor CEO Tjerk de Ruiter. "Working together to power industrial biotechnology solutions and educate others about them can help boost the economy, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, create a healthier environment and decrease water and energy consumption."

Genencor recommended four key components necessary for creating a biobased economy:

  • Cultivating a steady supply of renewable feedstock;

  • Developing infrastructure (from farm to factory);

  • Building sustainable biorefineries; and

  • Developing and securing responsive distribution channels.

De Ruiter said the best collaboration to help develop the foundation for a biobased economy needs to consist of: public and private partnerships; governmental policies and industry incentives; a regulatory framework that doesn't stifle entrepreneurial innovation; and public education. Genencor has been seeking new partnerships to address the needs of a growing population through its open innovative program called GNext, as well as making significant progress in developing cost-effective enzyme technologies that are helping to solve the world's sustainability issues.

For example, Genencor's newest enzyme technology, Accellerase TRIO, will help the United States reduce its dependence on a petroleum-based economy by allowing advanced biofuels producers to cost-effectively manufacture cellulosic ethanol from a range of renewable, nonfood feedstocks. Advanced biofuels have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions up to 86 percent over gasoline.

Genencor's BioIsoprene platform is another biobased alternative for the rapidly growing automotive and transportation industries. A partnership between Genencor and The Goodyear Tire Company, BioIsoprene platform is an alternative to petroleum-derived isoprene, a key chemical in synthetic rubber. The technology also has a vast potential beyond tires, including becoming key ingredients in rubber products and adhesives.

"Indeed we are making progress. The challenge ahead of us is to work as a collective group to take discoveries from pilot projects to commercialization faster," De Ruiter said. "Working toward establishing a biobased economy will help us be better prepared to address society's biggest challenges."


Contact: Chris Nguyen

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