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White House unveils new goals to advance biotechnology and biomanufacturing

White House unveils new goals to advance biotechnology and biomanufacturing
Artistic depiction of meteorological events over Earth, icons of a leaf and Erlenmeyer flask, a leaf on a fueling station, a farm, and lowering CO2 (image courtesy Los Alamos National Lab).

In the United States (US), the Biden-Harris Administration has announced a new report, Bold Goals for U.S. Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing: Harnessing Research and Development to Further Societal Goals, to advance biotechnology and biomanufacturing, strengthen America’s bioeconomy and supply chain, and support American innovation.

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The report’s goals are supported by more than US$1 billion in US Defense Department funding, and the announcement follows the September 2022 executive order known as the National Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative.

The newly released report is in response to the executive order supporting the US Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office’s (BETO) groundbreaking efforts to produce viable biofuels and bioproducts using sustainable sources of biomass and waste resources and to enable substantial investments that translate scientific discoveries into commercial applications.

The bioeconomy goals and research and development (R&D) needs are outlined by DOE, the US Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, and the National Science Foundation.

The report serves as a guide for public and private sector efforts to harness the full potential of biotechnology and biomanufacturing to develop innovative solutions for multiple economic sectors, create jobs, build robust supply chains, lower energy costs for families, and achieve the administration’s climate goals.

DOE has identified four areas within the report’s Climate Change Solutions findings where biotechnology and biomanufacturing can play a critical role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and removing carbon from the atmosphere:

  • Developing more carbon-neutral transportation and stationary fuels;
  • Seeking alternative processes to produce chemicals and materials from renewable biomass and intermediate feedstocks;
  • Developing climate-focused agricultural systems and plants;
  • Addressing carbon dioxide (CO2) removal.

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