MONTREAL—This past week the 12th Annual World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology occurred from July 19th – 20th. The event brought together 1,300+ leaders representing 650 companies in advanced biofuels, bio based products and renewable chemicals. There were dozens of sessions and nearly 300 speakers to aid in the function of this annual occasion. Among the impressive list of companies in attendance, Pacific Ag continues to be a familiar face and the leading feedstock company in attendance. Harrison Pettit, VP of business development, was pleased to attend his fourth year but now as a track sponsor (top right).
Pacific Ag sponsored Track 1 on algae, biomass supply and specialty crops, which included 6 sessions ranging from algae development to Biorefineries. Additionally, Bill Levy Pacific Ag CEO, was moderator for a panel discussion during Session 3 focusing on biomass feedstock supply chain. The panel discussion include experts: Glenn Farris, AGCO; Martin Mitchell, Clariant; Anna Rath, Nexsteppe; Laurence Eaton, Oak Ridge National Labs. Collectively this group of was able to explain the innovations in the supply chain of cellulosic low-cost sugars. Levy believes that a secure feedstock supply chain is the cornerstone of the bioconversion industry and is happy to see more attention being placed on the upstream activities. The work of Pacific Ag in the biomass supply chain has not gone unnoticed. Levy had the chance to catch up with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (bottom left), who thanked Levy for Pacific Ag’s 5 years of participation and corn stover harvesting expertise working with DuPont and Iowa State University to develop and operate the feedstock supply chain for DuPont’s cellulosic ethanol facility now nearly comstructed in Nevada, Iowa.
The change in focus, from theory to commercial practicality, is something that has been occurring over the last few years describes Harrison Pettit. While the conference is still heavily technical and deep in pre-commercial aspects, Pettit agrees that real commercial applications are surfacing and the bio-economy is alive and well in the larger picture. Huge investments are being made in bio based conversion technologies and companies such as the Coca-Cola, BASF, Cargill, and Dow Chemical were all in Montreal to take part in the progress. “It’s not aspirational, it is real,” says Pettit and that is why so many organizations are joining in on this “robust sector in the making.”