Renewable Chemicals & Biobased Materials

Oils produced by algae hold the potential for replacing fossil resources in many products. In fact, according to recent research, much of the petroleum and coal we drill for and use today was originally produced thousands of years ago by a species of green algae.

Biotechnology is all around us and is already a big part of our lives, providing breakthrough products and technologies to combat disease, reduce our environmental footprint, feed the hungry, and make useful products.

Biorefining isn’t just for bio-ethanol. Biorefining can produce polyester, nylon, and amino acids just to name a few. In fact, one feedstock may produce many different products.

Biotechnology is everywhere you look - even in places you might not expect.

Biobased products can supplement or replace a wide variety of petroleum-based products, and the United States has a substantial potential competitive advantage in their manufacture.

2009 brought many challenges for the biotechnology industry, but proposed legislation and technology improvements leave industry leaders optimistic about 2010.

The Environmental Protection Agency this month issued final rules for the federal Renewable Fuel Standard. The biofuels industry now must step up production to meet the aggressive targets for producing cellulosic biofuels in the coming years.

The EPA released a State of the Science Report detailing how biotechnology is enabling the transition from petroleum to a biobased economy, making possible materials and products that are renewable, environmentally friendly, and widely available.

This video provides a basic overview of biotechnology and its many applications in our daily lives.

Learn how materials, such as plastic, are being developed from renewable resources like plants.

With these benefits increasing demand for industrial biotechnology products and processes, this study uses patent data, survey results, and technology and firm level data from emerging sectors of industrial biotechnology to paint a detailed picture of innovation in the field. 

We have used the biological processes of microorganisms for 6,000 years to make useful food products, such as bread and cheese, and to preserve dairy products.

Letters, Testimony & Comments

August 27 2012
We are writing to caution against granting a waiver for the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). A number of groups and some governors seem to believe that the RFS is a substantial part of the equation when it comes to grain prices, and waiving the program this year or next will ease the impact of the drought on consumers. There is substantial evidence to the contrary.
May 21 2012
BIO is the world’s largest biotechnology organization, with more than 1,100 members worldwide.
May 17 2011
BIO encourages Congress to support advanced biofuels and biobased products programs and initiatives during consideration of the Fiscal Year 2012 Energy & Water Appropriations bill. Industrial biotechnology is the key enabling technology that is causing a dramatic paradigm shift in the production of fuels and chemicals. By building modern biorefineries and using industrial biotechnology our nation could significantly reduce its dependence on foreign sources of oil.
December 1 2010
Biobased products and renewable chemicals should be incentivized along with other renewable technologies in Congressional bills aimed at creating jobs, according to letters sent by BIO and biotechnology companies to House and Senate leaders.
September 20 2010
BIO’s letter to President Obama proposes several necessary steps to fix the LGP and achieve the goal of near-term commercialization of advanced biofuels, biochemicals, and bioproducts

Press Releases

November 13 2015
The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today thanked Senators Stabenow (D-MI), Coons (D-DE) and Franken (D-MN) for introducing S. 2271, the Renewable Chemicals Act of 2015, a bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide credits for the production of renewable chemicals and investments in renewable chemical production facilities.  
July 30 2015
BIO expresses thanks to Representatives Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Richard Neal (D-MA) for introducing, H.R. 3390, which provides renewable chemical producers access to production or investment tax credits currently available to other renewable energy producers.
July 16 2015
BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood was invited to make a presentation and participate in today’s national stakeholder forum, hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to announce the new Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program (“Section 9003 Program”).
October 16 2014
BIO member companies Solazyme, Inc. and Amyris receive awards.
October 8 2014
A new report from USDA, "Why Biobased?," provides an initial quantification of new jobs and other economic opportunities in the emerging bioeconomy. USDA also commissioned a larger, more comprehensive report that BIO hopes will be issued on a regular basis.