Published “to take part in a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress.”
We can borrow this mission statement written on the contents page of the first issue of The Economist, published by James Wilson in September 1843, to define exactly the reason that today, 173 years later, leads to the launch of The BioJournal.
The bioeconomy is alive and is set to grow. This is the strong message coming from Vicenza, Italy, where last Thursday and Friday was held the sixth edition of IFIB, the Italian Forum on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioeconomy.
About 300 participants. Among them some of the big global companies active in the bioeconomy: Braskem, Dow, Novamont, NatureWorks, Mossi Ghisolfi, Clariant, GFBiochemicals and Carlsberg. Innovative start-ups, universities and research centers, as well as clusters such as Clib2021 (Germany), IAR Pole (France) and Bio-based Delta (Netherlands). And again: OECD, European Investment Bank, German Bioeconomy Council.
“Sustainability – Rafael Cayuela, Chief Economist at Dow Chemical, stated – is a huge technological challenge but also the single largest business opportunity of this generation”.
Renmatix, the U.S. leader in affordable cellulosic sugars headquartered in King of Prussia (Pennsylvania), announced a $14 million investment, led by Bill Gates. Industry demand for competitive alternatives to petro-derived molecules is gaining traction, despite recent market pressures. In the interest of expanding that supply, the Plantrose® process provides an enabling technology for profitable biorefineries. This investment in commercializing Plantrose will help drive towards the first wave of Renmatix licensees building Plantrose-enabled biorefineries in diverse global markets like Canada, India, Malaysia, the U.S. and elsewhere. In parallel, that activity will facilitate further market development in downstream bioproduct applications.
“The government is working on a national bioeconomy strategy, which started with our new federal government attending the COPS meeting in Paris. Discussions and consultations are now taking place with the provinces and the Canadian public with the intent to have a federal strategy in draft form later this year.” To say it – in this long exclusive interview with Il Bioeconomista – is Murray McLaughlin, executive director of Bioindustrial Innovation Canada, who was recognized in the top 100 global leaders in the Advanced Bioeconomy at Biofuels Digest Conference in Washington, 2016. With him we talk about bioeconomy in Canada, climate change, biomass, Green public procurement, carbon tax and other policies. Murray McLaughlin has held various positions in the private, government and non-profit sectors such as director of Business Development for the Canadian Light Source, president of Ontario Agri-Food Technologies, deputy minister of Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food, and president of Ag-West Biotech Inc. He co-chairs the Industrial Bioproducts Value Chain Roundtable which is a partnership between Industry and AAFC for the bioeconomy. He is a graduate of Nova Scotia Agricultural College, McGill (B. Sc. Agr.) and Cornell (MSC and PhD), and has an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Dalhousie University.
Waiting for the new buyer of Versalis, Eni – the Italian oil giant – has made new and important progress in its commitment to combatting climate change, creating an original model of integration between its traditional business and energy from renewable sources.
“To pass laws that can make a difference means overcoming the braking action of those who defend and feed the advantageous position, put into practice the good industry and multiply virtuous cases there are in our country. Much of the Italian industry has invested and is investing in the development of new products and “green” technologies, and now considers sustainability as an opportunity rather than a constraint”. Catia Bastioli talks to Il Bioeconomista. In this exclusive interview with the Chief Executive Officer of Novamont, considered as the beacon of Italian bioeconomy, we talk about bioeconomy, circular economy and climate change. A few days before the 4th EU Bioeconomy Stakeholders’ Conference in Utrecht, Bastioli gives us her vision to fully realize in Italy and Europe the new economy based on biological resources, able to create wealth and jobs, starting from the local areas.
“They are on a journey of no return anyway. They are a “mining” industry, and all mines eventually become exhausted. The question is whether some or all of the petrochemical industry will realize this fact and act to change their feedstocks and practices so that their businesses can continue long term based on sustainable feedstocks and sustainable practices.” To say it – in this exclusive interview with Il Bioeconomista – is Bruce E. Dale, a highly-ranked academic in the Top 100 People in Bioenergy (Bioenergy Digest). Professor Dale received his doctorate in chemical engineering from Purdue University in 1979. He is currently University Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University. He serves as Editor in Chief and Founding Editor of Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining. Dale has won the Charles D. Scott Award (1996), the Sterling Hendricks Award (2007) and the Award of Excellence of the Fuel Ethanol Workshop (2011). He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (2011) and a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers (2016).
His research interests are cellulosic biofuels, the relationship between energy and societal wealth, life cycle assessment and the design of sustainable systems for producing fuels, chemicals, food and animal feed.
We receive and publish with pleasure this comment by James Cogan related to the land use impacts of biofuels comsumption in Europe. James is a technology, industry and policy analyst collaborating with PNO Innovation in Brussels and with a number of public and private organisations with stakes in the future of biofuels and transport energy. We are delighted to promote the debate.
On March 10 2016 the European Commission was obliged to release an essential report on the land use impacts of biofuels consumption in Europe as determined by the Commission’s own policy on the matter. The Commission has had the report since the Summer of 2015. The report goes a long way to answering the question of how much better are biofuels for the environment than continued use of fossil fuels. In recent years some parts of the Commission have been sharply critical of conventional biofuels yet unable to produce evidence as to why. Reaching a fact-based consensus on the matter is essential for transport decarbonisation for 2030.
So what are the implications of the report findings for EU and member state transport energy planners who urgently require robust and practical guidance?
“Making The Revenant was about man’s relationship with the natural world,” Di Caprio said. “A world that we collectively felt in 2015 was the hottest year in recorded history. Our production team needed to go to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow; climate change is real, and it’s happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species and we need to work together and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters or the big corporations, but who speak for all of humanity; and for the indigenous people of the world; for the billions and billions of underprivileged people who will be most affected by this; for our children’s children; and for all the people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed. Let us not take this planet for granted; I do not take tonight for granted.”
“Removal of corn residue for biofuels can decrease soil organic carbon and increase CO2 emissions because residue C in biofuels is oxidized to CO2 at a faster rate than when added to soil. Net CO2 emissions from residue removal are not adequately characterized in biofuel life cycle assessment”. A $500,000 study – paid for by the U.S. federal government and released last Sunday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change – concludes that biofuels made with corn residue release 7% more greenhouse gases in the early years compared with conventional gasoline.