Saying the world is rapidly changing isn’t a revolutionary statement. But the way industrial biotech contributes to global change is indeed revolutionary. In fact, it’s hard to imagine a future where our lives aren’t deeply affected by industrial biotech.
The innovative products and technologies that come out of the industrial biotech segment contribute significantly and positively to global progress and to our everyday lives. Heavily polluting chemicals are replaced by much more environment friendly biotech products – with enzymes as a prime example.
Industrial biotech is also known as ‘white biotech’(with agricultural being ’green’, and pharmaceuticals ’red) and has been called the ’Third Wave of Biotech’. After thousands of years of agriculture (first wave) and the last century of pharmaceutical development (second wave), biotechnology has entered into all aspects of industrial processing, moving the world away from industry based on petrochemicals.
One of the most revolutionary technologies is biofuel – fuel derived from biomass that contains 80 percent renewable materials. Biofuels such as bioethanol and biodiesel offer vast savings of carbon dioxide emissions compared with petrol, and thus contributes significantly to improving our environment.
Biotechnology is constantly spreading into new fields of application. Emerging technologies create products from renewable sources using biotech methods, such as biopolymers from lactic acid, direct fermentation of biodiesel, and biosource for bulk chemicals (e.g. succinic acid) that normally originate from petrochemical sources.
Industrial biotechnology widely replaces existing materials, products and production methods – with a hard competitive pressure on the unit cost, very unlike the patented pharmaceuticals where time to market is the primary driver. Thus, the industry’s biggest challenge is to steer innovation in a direction that produces practical results while dealing with the reality of low margins, new processes and CO2 neutral production.