Biotechnology for development of sustainable clean technology - Strategies:
Many developed countries started using biotechnology as a means of achieving clean or cleaner industrial products and processes. It compares biotechnological processes with competing means of securing similar goals.
Meaning of Clean technology - All stages of the life cycle of a product or process may adversely affect the environment by using up limited resources of materials and energy or by creating waste. Any substitution or change that reduces consumption of materials and energy and production of waste – including, for example, recycling of materials and energy – may be regarded as more environmentally friendly or ‘‘clean’’. Clean technology may also be equated with reduced risk.
Life Cycle Assessment is one way of comparing the relative cleanliness of a product or process.
Cleaner processes and products mean processes and products that consume less energy and material resources, generate less pollution or waste, or use renewable resources rather than petroleum or coal-based feedstock as feed. There are many reasons why an operator would switch to a cleaner process or product. Some of the more important factors most often mentioned are:
(a) Availability of raw materials;
(b) Cost factors;
(c) Market demands;
(d) Safety and health considerations;
(e) Environmental considerations;
(f) Product liability;
(g) Public image.
Thus, it is the duty of developed countries to appreciate the potential role of biotechnology in clean industrial processes and sets the stage for viewing clean processes in the context of industrial sustainability. The extents to which biotechnological thinking and practices are being introduced into industrial sectors, which have serious environmental impacts, are to be enhanced. The economic competitiveness of biotechnology for clean products and processes in these sectors are the major concerns, which Government / authorities required to be take a note and policy implementation should be in tune with sustainable development.
Scientific and technological innovations across the range of biotechnologies and the opportunities for their adoption, as well as R&D priorities are to be spelt out.
The following few points are to be kept in mind while framing strategies for promotion of biotechnology for development of clean technology, in the context of industrial sustainability:
(a) Global environmental concerns will drive increased emphasis on clean industrial products and processes.
(b) Biotechnology is a powerful enabling technology for achieving clean industrial products and processes that can provide a basis for industrial sustainability.
(c) Measuring the cleanliness of an industrial product or process is essential but complex; Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is the best current tool for making this determination.
(d) The main drivers for industrial biotechnological processes are economic (market forces), government policy, and science and technology.
(e) Achieving greater penetration of biotechnology for clean environmental purposes will require joint R&D efforts by government and industry.
(f) For biotechnology to reach its full potential as a basis for clean industrial products and processes, beyond its current applications, additional R&D efforts will be needed.
(g) Because biotechnology, including recombinant DNA technology and its applications, has become increasingly important as a tool for creating value-added products and for developing biocatalysts, there is a strong need for harmonised and responsive regulations and guidelines.
(h) Market forces can provide very powerful incentives for achieving environmental cleanliness objectives.
(i) Government policies to enhance cleanliness of industrial products and processes can be the single most decisive factor in the development and industrial use of clean biotechnological processes.
(j) Communication and education will be necessary to gain penetration of biotechnology for clean products and processes into various industrial sectors.