Biotech future

An industry-led report has outlined its vision for the UK’s low-carbon economy, highlighting the importance of biotechnology companies in achieving the country’s energy targets.

The Industrial Biotechnology Innovation and Growth Team (IB-IGT) claims that its recommendations provide a commercially viable route to reducing the UK’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Its report states that by 2025, the UK should see the benefits of the biotechnology industry being evidenced across chemical and chemical-using processes.

Estimates of the UK Industrial Biotechnology (IB) market by 2025 range from £4bn to £12bn, with future projections of growth expected in the area of high-value low-volume chemicals.

The IB-IGT has made a number of recommendations to ensure that the UK reaches these market projections.

These include connecting IB activities across the supply chain, improving knowledge transfer and retaining high-quality scientists, managers and engineers.

Chair of the IB-IGT, Ian Shott, said: ‘I have seen the various ebbs and flows of this technology sector, with market investment windows opening and closing over the last three decades.

‘However, never have I been more certain that the growing maturity of this technology, combined with its all-pervasive breadth and ever- increasing depth, will ensure that it makes a major contribution to the opportunities and challenges facing the world as we strive for global sustainability.’

Secretary of State for business, enterprise and regulatory reform, Lord Mandelson, said: ‘The government welcomes this report, and it comes at an opportune time as the government focuses on building a low-carbon economy.

‘Industrial biotechnology will be one of the strongest driving forces behind the world’s low-carbon revolution.

‘Offering businesses the capability to develop and use less carbon-intensive products and processes, while reducing costs and opening up new, emerging and established markets.’