June 18, 2009

US biorefineries step up capacities

A recent round table hosted by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) produced interesting updates on several biorefineries planned in the US. Participants at the roundtable included Coskata, Zeachem, Genomatica and Genencor.

First let's define what a biorefinery is according to BIO:
"Bio-refinery" - a facility that integrates production of biofuels, energy and value-added chemicals or - or plastics from renewable sources of sugar - similar to the current petrochemical refinery, but with flexible feed stocks.
BIO's spokesman Paul Winters quoted a recent study by the UK Industrial Biotechnology and Innovation Growth team that estimated the current global market for biorefinery-based chemicals at $164 billion. This is up from the $150 billion 2010 projection the consulting firm McKinsey and Company estimated in 2006.

The UK study estimated demand for plant-based chemicals could generate sales of nearly $600 billion by 2025.

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