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Industrial or White Biotechnology A driver of sustainable growth in Europe Working document from EuropaBio and ESAB to be used as input for the Industrial Biotechnology section of the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry
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Industrial or White Biotechnology A driver of sustainable growth in Europe Working document from EuropaBio and ESAB to be used as input for the Industrial Biotechnology section of the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry 3 Industrial or White Biotechnology
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4 Industrial or White Biotechnology Foreword Christian Patermann Director: Biotechnology, Agriculture and Food Research DG Research - European Commission It is with great pleasure that I accepted the invitation to write the foreword to this document on Industrial (or White) biotechnology which is one of the three pillars supporting the Sustainable Chemistry (SUSCHEM) platform. This topic is of particular importance to the Commission as this sector is an important part of its Framework Programme 7 proposal. The Commission, with the strong endorsement of the Council and Parliament, has identified life sciences and biotechnol- ogy as the next wave of the knowledge-based economy (after information technology). Europe “owns” a clear long-term European Strategy and Action Plan in support of the sector 1 . We see Industrial biotechnology as the application of modern biotechnology for the sustainable and eco-efficient industrial production of chemicals, materials and energy. It is based on the knowledge revolution that has taken place in the life sciences over the last two decades including genomics and bioin- formatics, and exploits the renewable resources of agricultural and forestry production. Industrial biotechnology will not only impact the chemical industry itself but also other sectors such as energy, paper and pulp , polymers , enzymes, tex- tiles and leather, animal feed, metals and minerals as well as waste treatment. Industrial biotechnology is seen as a major contributor to meeting Europe’s Lisbon objectives and a driver of sustainable development. Many Member States have already indicated the interest they attach to this area as several of them have recently launched national initiatives: in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the UK, which will complement the Community action. It is the interaction of life sciences and chemistry that will lead to innovative products and processes such as biodegrad- able plastics made from maize and biodiesel from oil seed rape. In the fine chemical sector up to 60% of products may use biotechnology processes by 2010. Air and water pollution could be reduced, energy use and raw material input lowered. In the near future “biorefineries” will gradually and partially replace fossil-fuel based refineries in our countryside.
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