Biofuels are believed to be an excellent substitute for fossil fuels, due to their “net zero” impact on the Earth. Sugars from non-food biomass can be used a building blocks to manufacture a wide variety of biofuels and renewable chemicals that are currently produced from expensive petroleum sources. The biofuels demand is predicted to increase to 21 billion gallons within the next ten years, forcing the technology of this product to improve rapidly before then.
After the biomass is harvested, it needs to be transformed into biofuels by converting the plant material into a sugar that can be burned to produce energy. A biotechnology company, Agrivida, is using synthetic biology to produce INzyme, an enzyme with the ability to turn the harvested plant material into sugar using much less energy, chemical, and other treatments required for the normal process.
Over time, we should see a dramatic decrease in cost for biofuels, meaning that this will soon become a popular economic alternative to fossil fuels. In addition to the economic benefits of this technology, we will also see a benefit in greater national security because of the reduced dependence on imported petroleum, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and significant agricultural and manufacturing jobs creation.