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TIBTEC-492; No of Pages 6


TRENDS in Biotechnology No.x

Industrial biotechnology for the production of bio-based chemicals – a cradle-to-grave perspective
˚ Rajni Hatti-Kaul1, Ulrika Tornvall1, Linda Gustafsson2 and Pal Borjesson2 ¨ ¨
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Department of Biotechnology, Centre for Chemistry & Chemical Engineering, Lund University, Box 124, SE-221 00 Lund, SwedenEnvironmental and Energy Systems Studies, Department of Technology and Society, Lund University, Box 118, SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden

Shifting the resource base for chemical production from fossil feedstocks to renewable raw materials provides exciting possibilities for the use of industrial biotechnology-based process tools. This review gives an indication of the current developments in the transition tobiobased production, with a focus on the production of chemicals, and points out some of the challenges that exist in the large-scale implementation of industrial biotechnology. Furthermore, the importance of evaluating the environmental impact of bio-based products with respect to their entire life cycle is highlighted, demonstrating that the choice of the raw material often turns out to be animportant parameter influencing the life cycle performance. Introduction Chemistry has had, and continues to have, a fundamental role in almost every aspect of modern society. Despite providing us with a vast array of useful products, the chemical industry has been subjected to close scrutiny owing to concerns about its reliance on fossil resources, its environmentally damaging production processes,and the production of toxic by-products, waste and products that are not readily recyclable or degradable after their useful life. The industry has come under increasing pressure to make chemical production more eco-friendly. Governments across the globe are increasing the fines levied for pollution, the costs of waste disposal, and penal taxation for the storage of large quantities of dangerouschemicals. In the EU, new chemical legislations are being introduced, to improve the levels of protection of human health and the environment from chemical risks. For example, the recently proposed REACH (registration, evaluation and authorization of chemicals; http://ec. regulatory framework demands registration and safety testing of allproduced or imported chemicals. A more product- or sector-related legislation, such as the Restriction on Hazardous Substances (RoHS) [1], prohibits or severely restricts the use of most dangerous chemicals in electronic and electrical equipment. The sustainability of the chemical industry thus calls for a business strategy
Corresponding author: Hatti-Kaul, R. ( online xxxxxx.

that integrates social, safety, health and environmental benefits with the technological and economic objectives of its activities. The concept of ‘green chemistry’ was introduced in the early 1990s by the US Environmental Protection Agency (, in order ‘to promote chemical technologies that reduce or eliminate the use or generation ofhazardous substances in the design, manufacture and use of chemical products’. Its guiding rule is prevention rather than cure. Green chemistry is currently associated with the 12 principles formulated by Paul Anastas and John Warner [2], which advocate a decrease in the environmental impact of a chemical product by considering aspects of its entire life cycle – from raw material to product use andfate. Examples of these are using renewable feedstocks, selective catalysts and alternative, non-toxic solvents; high atom efficiency; minimizing risks, waste generation and energy consumption; and design of safer and biodegradable chemicals. These principles have since been supplemented by the 12 principles of green engineering, which provide a structure to create and assess the elements of...
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