Today's event, co-hosted by BayBio, Northern California's life sciences association, brought together top executives at Genencor and its collaborators, including Skurla and The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.'s Director, Global Materials Science, Jesse Roeck, as well as representatives of the Bay Area's biotech activities.
"Northern California's cluster of life sciences companies is the biggest in the U.S. Genencor is one on of the pioneers in the area that are tackling critical industrial challenges through biotechnology," says Matthew Gardner, President and CEO of BayBio, who moderated an executive panel. "They represent a shift toward applying science to building the green economy, which will help spur economic growth in California and nationally."
Showcase highlights interactive biorefinery demo
A highlight of the event was an interactive demo that gave participants a firsthand look at how cellulosic biomass, such as sugarcane bagasse, and corn cobs, is converted into many useful products. Like oil refineries, biorefineries will produce many different end-products, but with renewable feedstocks that reduce dependence on fossil fuels, increase national security, and reduce natural resource consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The demo illustrated that these technologies are in advanced stages. Cellulosic ethanol will supply commercial volumes in the next two to three years, and Genencor just made its first delivery of BioIsoprene to The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. on March 9, 2009.
During a tour of the R&D facility, participants got a look at how Genencor scientists and technicians engineer molecules and enzymes and scale them up quickly for mass production. "Our cell factories are our core competence," says de Ruiter. "Every day we are supplying industries with enzymes to run their processes, while at
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