At the World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing plenary breakfast this morning, “Investing in Energy Security and Industrial Biotechnology – A Venture Capitalist’s Perspective” Jim Woolsey, Venture Partner at Vantage Point and Vinod Khosla, Founder of Khosla Ventures highlighted impressive prospects for industrial biotechnologies such as biofuels, products and renewable specialty chemicals. Mr. Woolsey said it best, renewable electricity technologies such as nuclear and wind, do nothing to reduce our dependence on oil. And it sounds like it wouldn’t even “green” our electricity production. If we electrified the majority of our passenger auto fleet, those plug-ins, hybrids or battery-powered autos could likely run on the electricity capacity we already have. Meaning, no wind or solar facilities would be built. Instead, existing, likely coal-fired power plants, would simply increase their output to meet the demand. Mr. Khosla focused on the economic viability of the different biofuels technologies and renewable specialty chemicals. He presented a view of the broad spectrum by breaking the opportunities down to feedstock options, processing technologies, and end products and categorized the economic viability for each combination.
Importantly this morning’s speakers highlighted the availability for industrial biotechnologies to assist in significantly reducing petroleum use in the near term and the opportunity for innovation, particularly in the small, entrepreneurial realm of industrial biotechnology. The future looks bright for these companies with a broad spectrum of opportunities on the horizon.