New industry bio-economy web portal launched (link)

September 16, 2005

Brussels, 15 Sep 2005

As a major EU Commission conference on the bioeconomy (1) opens today in Brussels, a brand new biobased economy portal is launched ( The portal is full of facts, figures and photos and aims to explain what is meant by the biobased economy, how will it affect our lives and latest news on its development across Europe and the world. The project is a joint science and industry initiative led by EuropaBio (2), the EU Association for bioindustries, and ESAB (3), the Applied Biocatalysis section of the European Federation of Biotechnology on behalf of the science community. "We want to provide a site that can act as a one stop information source for news and views on the bioeconomy," says Jack Huttner, Chair of the Industrial Biotechnology Council at EuropaBio - the EU association for bioindustries.

The biobased economy is the new term for using renewable resources and new biological processes in our manufacturing base. Knowledge about the functioning of living organisms such as plants, bacteria, fungi, yeasts and their enzymes are enabling scientists and industry to use biological systems to produce much of the fuel, chemicals and materials needed by advanced societies. Examples are detergents that use enzymes to get rid of dirt, compostable plastics that are made from corn, and biofuels made from agricultural waste streams. Using processes based on biological systems, industry reduces the environmental footprint of many process industries. Some of these successes are little known: By replacing phosphates with enzymes in detergents, huge energy savings have already been possible because much lower temperatures are now needed to wash and launder clothes with a major reduction of phosphates in water streams and rivers.

"Biotechnology can make a major contribution to Europe becoming more sustainable and economically dynamic. There is a whole new industry just emerging that can develop these clean and competitive materials," says Johan Vanhemelrijck, Secretary General of EuropaBio. The prospects for the bio-based economy are currently particularly favourable, in view of the sky-high prices for petroleum today. "Under the present European market conditions, finite fossil resources such as petroleum cost more than twice as much as renewable resources such as corn and wheat. So the development of the biobased economy is as inevitable as it is desirable," says Prof. Wim Soetaert, Scientific Secretary of ESAB.

The new biobased economy website is for anyone interested in how biotechnology can contribute to a more sustainable industrial system relying more on renewable raw materials.

For further information, please contact

Dirk Carrez, Tel: + 32 2 735 0313 Direct: +32 2 7391173 Mobile: +32 473 73 65 28 Email:

Adeline Farrelly Tel: +32 2 735 0313 Direct: +32 2 739 1174 Mobile: +32 475 93 17 24 Email:

Notes for Editors

  • The event: The EU Commission's knowledge-based bio-economy event http:/// research/confe rences/2005/kbb/index_en.html

  • EuropaBio, the European Association for Bioindustries, has 60 corporate and associate members operating worldwide and 25 national biotechnology associations representing some 1500 small and medium sized enterprises involved in research and development, testing, manufacturing and distribution of biotechnology products.

  • ESAB is the Applied Biocatalysis Section of the European Federation of Biotechnology (EFB), promoting Applied Biocatalysis and Industrial Biotechnology throughout Europe. EFB is a non-profit association of all national and cross-national Universities, Institutes, Companies, Learned Societies and scientists interested in the promotion of Biotechnology throughout Europe and beyond.

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