Industrial biotechnology (IB) offers innovative solutions for resource and energy-efficient processes while simultaneously bringing economic and social benefits. Here are some examples:
- Mitigating carbon emissions
Pioneering IB companies have developed technologies to use greenhouse gas emissions as a feedstock for industrial processes. This could dramatically reduce our carbon footprint, but more importantly this represents a sustainable solution to resource scarcity as it does not compete with the food chain, it is independent of biomass sourcing and it is based on circular economy principles.
- Reducing waste
At the very core of the EU circular economy model and recently proposed review of waste targets is the importance of changing mind-sets and habits related to waste. This is crucial for limiting landfill, preserving the environment and ultimately moving away from a throw-away society. We are now finding that one man’s waste is another man’s gold mine. Increasingly, entrepreneurs are setting out on to take full advantage of the opportunities from ‘byproducts’ and ‘waste’ by using industrial biotechnology.
Bioremediation through industrial biotechnology consists of using the metabolism of microorganisms to remove pollutants. It essentially relies on the use of bacteria and enzymes to clean up contaminated sites and waters.
- Greener mining
Biotechnology has many potential applications in the mining industry including metal leaching, metal recovery, impurity removal and product upgrading. It is an alternative to the extensive crushing and grinding of traditional methods and it also requires far less energy. Given that Europe is the greatest consumer of rare and precious metals in the world, increasing the efficiency of mining is instrumental to ensuring EU supply chains are protected and that the EU gains raw material independence.