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Industrial Biotechnology Tools Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Industrial Production

Greenhouse gas emissions from the production of a wide range of products, from auto parts to fabrics, can be drastically reduced by utilizing industrial biotechnology tools. A technology showcase was jointly hosted by EuropaBio and the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), at Copenhagen, Denmark. The event was organized to demonstrate the important part played by biotechnology in developing ecofriendly products,  such as automobile tires, carpets and biofuels, as alternatives to products from conventional production methods. These products were selected by the UN Climate Change Conference organizers.

Brent Erickson, Executive Vice President of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, said that industrial biotechnology technology development and deployment can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in industries that currently use materials associated with to carbon emissions. Erickson further added that the negotiations at the climate conference should result in providing incentives to technologies that help in increasing economic growth while, at same time, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Some of the products exhibited at the showcase include automobile tires, bread and fabrics. Genencor has developed a new product, BioIsoprene, which is produced from the fermentation of renewable sugars. BioIsoprene can be used to manufacture synthetic rubber, thus effectively replacing petroleum-based isoprene. Ingeo fabric, developed by NatureWorks, is used in clothing and fabric, and is fermented from renewable sugars and when compared to PET and petroleum-based Nylon, it can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75% and 90% respectively. The freshness of bread is prolonged by using Novozymes’ enzymes, thus helping to reduce energy use for preservation and the associated emissions.

A report from WWF states that the industrial biotechnology tools can help to reduce carbon emissions up to 2.5 billion tons per annum from industries, transportation, and the production of materials and goods. The report also states that if biotechnology tools are used more widely in traditional industries such as baking and textiles, up to 200 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions could be eliminated. About 1.7 billion tons of emissions per annum can be eliminated by using renewable chemicals and biofuels instead of petrochemicals, according to the report.

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