Press release

Evonik's BioTechDay presents that "white biotechnology" has above-average growth prospects

  • Nearly 200 participants learned about what biotechnology can do for the chemical industry
  • The use of renewable raw materials presents special opportunities and prospects

Without it, we would have no beer, no bread, no wine, and no yogurt. We're talking about "white biotechnology. "It’s the lever of nature, as it were, and is used in the production of these and many other products. Microorganisms and enzymes have been performing this task for thousands of years, so today we cannot imagine the chemical industry without white biotechnology either. Also called "industrial biotechnology," it provides new approaches to manufacturing novel products with useful properties, or to manufacturing, for example, polymer building blocks and active ingredients by entirely different means. Because it is highly energy- and resource-efficient, white biotechnology is often an alternative to conventional chemical processes. Especially in the health, nutrition, and cosmetic markets, there are constantly new growth opportunities for bio-based products. Evonik's BioTechDay has clearly shown that white biotechnology has above-average growth prospects.

Some 200 participants from the Group as well as from business and government met for this event on March 9 and 10, 2011, in Marl in the spirit of "Superior growth through biotechnology." Evonik itself has special expertise in developing strains, in fermentation, and in processing bioproducts. Evonik is thus well-positioned in those areas that are relevant to industrial biotechnology.

Besides the economic growth opportunities through biotechnology, the event also centered around "renewable resources." The backdrop for this topic is the changing raw materials supply. Patrik Wohlhauser and Dr. Thomas Haeberle from Evonik Degussa GmbH and Dr. Peter Nagler, who heads Innovation Management Chemicals & Creavis at Evonik, and the managers of several business units offered their assessments of the situation. In his remarks, Wohlhauser emphasized the high growth rates of today's biotechnology segment at Evonik and called for further efforts to generate sustainable growth on the way the company has already paved. Dr. Nagler underlined the prominent role that white biotechnology plays in Evonik's innovation portfolio, and which will figure even more prominently in the future.

Moreover, various representatives from international corporations such as Cargill or Dupont presented their views on the changing supply of raw materials and on future innovative products of industrial biotechnology. In this regard, Ray Miller, Dupont's global business development manager, described the evolution of his chemical corporation from a company that used to be involved in manufacturing explosives to a forerunner in specialty chemicals that is geared effectively to biotechnology.

As part of a product marketplace, classic bio-based products such as amino acids and cosmetic active ingredients were presented, as were Evonik's new innovative developments that have already established themselves on the market.

"With Evonik BioTechDay, we're building bridges between our present businesses and future innovative biotechnology-based products and processes. Second, we're responding to current developments such as changing raw materials scenarios, too, and the resulting high-growth business models," said Dr. Thomas Haas, head of the Biotechnology Science-to-Business Center.

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Michael Schulze

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