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Biotechnica 2013 More Than Just Biofuel

| Editor: Dominik Stephan

Biotechnology is looking for the recipe for success — and, between resource efficiency and added-value products, it is becoming clear that there may be more than one path to success. Will we in future have to speak of many bioeconomies?

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Panel discussion on bioeconomy at Biotechnica 2013: From left Dr. Christian Patermann (European Comission and DG Research), Jan Buch Andersen (Arctic Zymes), Edward Green (Green Biologics) and Jörg Riesmeier (Direvo).
Panel discussion on bioeconomy at Biotechnica 2013: From left Dr. Christian Patermann (European Comission and DG Research), Jan Buch Andersen (Arctic Zymes), Edward Green (Green Biologics) and Jörg Riesmeier (Direvo).
(Picture: LABORPRAXIS)

Where is the economy in the bioeconomy? Biotechnology is still primarily the pet business of small technology specialists. Neither chemicals giants nor big commodities firms are driving the development. But they would be well-advised to put bio on their agendas, thinks Edward Green, of Green Biologics: “Our driver is economic sense,” he affirmed in a panel discussion at the marketplace Industrial Biotechnology.

Jan Buch Andersen, Arc-tic Zymes, agreed: “We are left to ourselves when it comes to initiating processes. Our customers often have no idea that they will need, e.g., an enzyme!” Yet the transformation is in full flow: bioplastics, biofuels or biochemical processes for petroproducts are forcing their way powerfully onto a globalised market.

Jörg Riesmeier, Direvo, emphasised that even small firms will have a hard battle without international partners. Agricultural waste and biomass, although hard to obtain cheaply in Europe, is often plentiful in threshold countries. It is also dangerous, to become dependent on one single raw material. The bioeconomy is much too multi-facetted, was the unanimous conclusion.

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