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Report sets out UK’s low-carbon biotech goals

atvgThe Industrial Biotechnology Innovation and Growth Team (IB-IGT) today published its report on how UK industry can maximise opportunities in a low-carbon economy.

By 2025, the report envisions the UK will see “the power and benefits of IB being fully evidenced across the UK chemical and chemical-using industries, driven by coherent manufacturing, skills, environment and technology policies, judicious investment, and a sense of urgency, to deliver innovation, jobs and prosperity.”

The industry-led IB-IGT, chaired by Ian Shott, has focused over the last year on how to put the UK in the strongest possible position to gain maximum benefits from the new strategic market in renewable chemicals and low-carbon manufacturing. It envisions industrial biotechnology, or IB, as providing a sustainable, commercially viable route for the UK out of dependence on fossil fuels. It also sees IB as vital to maintaining UK competitiveness in global markets, where bio-based systems and processes are rapidly gaining strength and scale.

By 2025, the global IB market could reach anywhere from £150 billion to £360 billion. In the UK, that market could range from £4 billion to £12 billion, with a favourable research environment and technology development having a high likelihood of pay-off in the future in the area of high-value, low-volume chemicals.

“I have seen the various ebbs and flows of this technology sector with market investment windows opening and closing over the last three decades,” Shott said. “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.”

“The Government welcomes this report, and it comes at an opportune time as the Government focuses on building a low-carbon economy,” said Lord Mandelson, Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform. “Industrial biotechnology will be one of the strongest driving forces behind the world’s low-carbon revolution, (o)ffering businesses the capability to develop and use less carbon-intensive products and processes, whilst also reducing costs and opening-up new, emerging and established markets.”

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