Biofuels at the Tipping Point
by Margaret Ryan (AOL Energy) While the “food versus fuel” debate has grabbed headlines, biofuels technology worldwide has been accelerating down the learning curve and is at a “tipping point” for commercialization.
That was the consensus of an expert panel last week at the International Finance Corporation’s Cleantech Workshop. The IFC is part of the World Bank group.
Early attempts at biofuels commercialization were in the US and Europe, but are now concentrated in Asia and Latin America, moving “to where the feedstocks and customers are,” said Roger Wyse, Managing Director, Burrill & Co.
Bioprocesses “can be very specific to what a country needs,” said Michael Rosenberg, Vice President of OPXBIO. Technologies are being adapting to use feedstocks including agricultural waste that’s locally available, not food.
…Jim Matheson, General Partner of Flagship Ventures, said venture capitalists considering any biofuels investment today put “a lot of work into life cycle analysis.” Much innovation in biofuels, he said, has gone into trying to reuse byproducts like carbon dioxide or waste, to make processes fully sustainable.
…Tony Lent, Senior Managing Director, Wolfensohn & Co., said biotechnology offers a “tremendous” opportunity for developing nations to take local products and turn them into higher value products for export, rather than exporting low-value crops. READ MORE