The transition from a society dependent upon petroleum and other fossil fuels towards one that embraces renewable and sustainable raw materials and processes is captured in the term KBBE and is an ambition for the UK and Europe as well as for other economies globally.
The implications of a KBBE go wider than just technology with an impact upon industrial competitiveness and also encompasses social, economic and environmental goals.
The UK has published a report from industry and government on the importance of industrial biotechnology for the UK's growth in the 21st century and the recommendation of this report are being implemented by the IB Leadership Forum. More information on this is available from the IB SIG group
Europe has developed its new Europe 2020 strategy and the EU sees industrial biotechnology as a significant feature in its delivery of a KBBE. A Lead Market Initiative identifies market sectors identified by the EC as important and where
an early adoption of technological innovation is likely to be important. Bio-based products are included as one of the important categories. The use of renewable (bio-based) raw materials and processes based on biological systems can give advantages in competitiveness.
The EC has also published a communication on Key Enabling Technologies (KET) in Europe with industrial biotechnology being one of the five technologies identified as strengthening the EU's industrial and innovation capability to address societal challenges.
The UK and Europe are also working on standards for measuring the bio-based content of products and methods of determining the "carbon footprint" of a product. The University of Manchester has developed a life cycle analysis tool, CCaLC, that is easy to use, free to access and is capable of providing a common method of analysis that will allow direct comparison of products.