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Future Applications of Biotechnology to the Energy Industry

Author: John J. Kilbane II

© 2016 Kilbane. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).

Publisher: Frontiers in Microbiology

There has been a dramatic growth in the production of biofuels in recent times. Global biofuel production tripled between 2000 and 2007, and biofuels accounted for about 1.6% of global transportation fuel in 2012 (International Energy Agency). At the time of this writing, 2015, ethanol production is by far the greatest contribution by biotechnology to energy production, with revenue accounting for $40.9 billion worldwide in 2014 vs. $3.8 billion for biodiesel and $0.019 billion for bio-methane. It is logical to imagine the future contribution of biotechnology to world energy production may increase not only in the area of biofuel production, but also in petroleum production, petroleum upgrading, biogas production, chemical production, crop improvement, bioremediation, microbiologically influenced corrosion, space travel, and other topics. However, the future contributions of biotechnology to the energy industry are not only influenced by technical advances in biotechnology, but also by the price of fossil fuels, the development of renewable energy generally, politics, global population growth, and other factors. Concerns about the use of crops for food versus fuel production, environmental effects of land use related to biofuel production, decreased oil prices, ever-increasing advances in the generation and use of wind and solar energy, and political will to promote/subsidize the development of alternative energy are also influencing factors.

Illustration Photo: Biomass (Public Domain from Pixabay.com)
https://adalidda.net/posts/3HpJ6hYytyMdfHQo3/future-applications-of-biotechnology-to-the-energy-industry