VTT Uses Biotechnology in New Applications

It is possible to produce bioethanol and other valuable chemicals, such as bioplastics, by utilising the metabolism of cells

Biofuel from agricultural waste utilising yeast cells

VTT has developed yeast-based methods for efficient production of biofuel from agricultural waste. In addition to bioethanol, several other valuable chemicals, such as bioplastics, xylitol, pigments and medicines, can be produced by utilising the metabolism of cells. The engineering of the cellular metabolism enables efficient biotechnological production and the utilisation of biomasses as the main raw material in place of oil. In the extensive research program also new ways of utilising enzymes in industry have been developed. Utilising these enzyme technologies new application characteristics e.g. for wood fibres can be developed, including changes in their electrical conductivity as well as their hygroscopic or hydrophobic characteristics.

The US chemical industry has estimated that 25% of organic chemicals will be produced from renewable raw materials by 2020, while the current proportion is approximately 5%. The estimate in respective European forecasts is 30% by 2025. Utilising natural resources through biotechnical methods has been one of the aims of the six-year Industrial Biotechnology Research Programme at VTT. The research programme is one of the Finnish Centres of Excellence chosen by the Academy of Finland. The research focuses on the utilisation of renewable natural resources.

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Irene Hernberg alfa

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http://www.vtt.fi

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