At the World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocesses, held in Montreal, Quebec this week, biotechnology companies showcased technologies that offer alternatives to energy production from non-fossil-fuel sources, and manufacturing options for cosmetic products, pesticides, construction materials and auto parts.
Advances in biofuel varied from from renewable energy production from waste sources; to technologies to increase the ability of common crops and plants to be used for energy; and genomic advances in new crops, like switch grass, for use in energy production.
"Industrial biotechnology is entering its growth stage and is offering workable solutions to address climate change concerns by producing transportation fuels and green chemicals from a range of cellulosic feedstocks," explained Ross MacLachlan, CEO of Burnabys Lignol Energy Corp., a biofuels and biochemicals company.
"One of the continued challenges for biofuels production is of course the availability of enough raw material (feedstock) to supply energy producers," said Peter Matthewman, President and CEO of Performance Plants. "Technologies that allow us to grow biomass feedstocks, like miscanthus, faster to meet these needs will be the real value for future energy development."