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Press release ¤ Information de presse

May 12, 2006

ACHEMA News: White Biotechnology – Perspectives for a sustainable chemistry

Dr. Stefan Buchholz, Degussa AG
Plenary lecture, Forum, Room Agenda
19. Mai 2006, 1.30 p.m.

It was always a good idea to learn from nature and to benefit from its creativity. It is simply amazing how plants, for example, are able to reach such heights, and how they store the energy of sunlight. So it is no wonder that there is a great deal more interest now in plants as a source of energy and as a base for raw materials, given the explosion in the prices paid at the gas station and for heating oil. Fuels made from rapeseed and soya, chemicals from sugar cane and potatoes, plastics from corn and sugar beet – the opportunities for using renewable materials are growing all the time.

White biotechnology in particular is opening up new ways of using renewable raw materials. Additionally, it applies bioprocesses, which often are more selective and run under milder conditions than classical chemical processes. In addition it provides new products opportunities with high value generation e.g. in the fields of nutraceuticals, active ingredients for cosmetics and biopolymers. White biotechnology thus contributes to all three dimensions of sustainability – environment, economy, and society.

After red biotechnology transformed the pharmaceutical industry and green biotechnology changed the agro business – at least outside of Germany – now white biotechnology is initiating a wave of innovation in the chemical industry, as Dr. Stefan Buchholz from Degussa is going to talk about in his plenary lecture at ACHEMA on 19 May 2006, 1.30 p.m.

Dr. Stefan Buchholz started building the Biotechnology Project House at Degussa which focussed on biocatalysis and later on the new Project House ProFerm, which broadens Degussa’s capabilities in the field of strain development and fermentation. Today Stefan Buchholz is Director for Exploration & Validation Biotechnology at Degussa’s new business development unit Creavis. He is active in numerous political bodies and holding a lectureship at the University of Stuttgart.

Degussa intends to increase the sales share of renewable materials from today's five percent to around ten percent in the next five years. Depending on how the cost of raw materials develop, this proportion could amount to 20 percent in ten years. Degussa is underscoring these targets with the new Science to Business Center Bio. Working in state-of-the-art laboratories and pilot plants, around 60 of its own research assistants will collaborate with universities and cooperation partners from industry to develop new biotechnology products and processes based on natural raw materials.



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