On 22 March, the US White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a new report outlining a vision of the power of biotechnology and biomanufacturing and the R&D needs to achieve this ambitious vision. The President's Executive Order calls on federal departments and agencies to assess the potential of biotechnology and biomanufacturing R&D to further five "bold goals" for the US bioeconomy: climate change solutions, food and agricultural innovation, supply chain resilience, human health and cross-cutting advances:
Demonstrating and deploying cost-effective and sustainable routes for converting bio-feedstock into recyclable designer polymers that can replace over 90% of today's mass plastics and other commercial polymers within 20 years.
Food and Agriculture
By 2030, reduce methane emissions from agriculture, including increasing methane capture and use in manure management systems, reducing methane emissions from methane ruminants and reducing methane emissions from food waste in landfills, with a 50% reduction in US greenhouse gas emissions and a 30% reduction in methane emissions from the global greenhouse gas emissions reduction target.
Produce at least 30% of U.S. chemical needs and cost-effective biomanufacturing pathways in a sustainable manner over 20 years.
Within 20 years, increase the scale of manufacturing of cell-based therapies to expand access, reduce health inequities and reduce the cost of manufacturing cell-based therapies by a factor of 10.Cross-cutting advances
Within 5 years, sequence the genomes of 1 million microorganisms to understand the function of at least 80% of newly discovered genes
Among these, ten bold goals are outlined in the Climate Change Solutions report and articulated in four broad themes:
1: The need to develop more carbon-neutral transport and stationary fuels, expand the availability of renewable feedstocks and produce more sustainable fuels for aviation and other strategic products by
2: Seeking alternative processes for the production of chemicals and materials from renewable biomass, by developing low carbon intensity product pathways and promoting the economics of recycled materials. Achieving these goals will place the United States in a dynamic global bioeconomy while generating net zero or net negative emissions, reduced reliance on fossil fuels, and increasing use of chemicals and materials that can be recycled by design, such as bio-based products .
3: Aim to develop climate-focused agricultural systems and plants, and include bold targets to develop restorative and resilient feedstock production systems, design better bio-economic feedstocks for plants, improve the utilisation of existing feedstocks, and design more efficient protein production systems. These efforts will yield a variety of biomass feedstocks with enhanced resilience, yield and nutrient use efficiency, laying the foundation for an expanding U.S. bioeconomy.
4: Involves the removal of carbon dioxide. The goal of this theme is to expand landscape-scale biotechnology solutions that store carbon in the soil and enable biomass to remove and store carbon. The implementation of these solutions will greatly enhance the achievement of whole ecosystems through landscape-scale carbon sequestration and management technologies.
The world is on the cusp of an industrial revolution driven by biotechnology and biomanufacturing. With today's prominent applications involving human health, biotechnology and biomanufacturing expanding production and making products ubiquitous in our lives, meeting climate solution targets in these cross-cutting areas, improving food security and promoting economic growth across the country will require more action from the public and private sectors.