New lab to develop biomass chemical technologies [News]
By Channel NewsAsia, 3 Dec 2012.
Singapore has opened a first-of-its-kind laboratory to develop technologies to produce high-value chemicals from agricultural waste, or biomass.
The Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences (ICES), a research institute of The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), officially opened its Metabolic Engineering Research Laboratory (MERL) in Biopolis on Monday.
The new laboratory will design and drive factories that can produce the wastes cost-effectively.
By creating new technologies and know-how, the laboratory will develop new strategies and applications in the use of biomass.
It comes at a time when a bio-economy based on renewable plant biomass is growing rapidly and is now a key priority for many countries.
The global biorenewable chemicals market is estimated at US$6.8 billion by 2015.
A*STAR said the growth offers a valuable economic opportunity for Singapore to renew its chemical industry and maintain its advantage as a leading chemical hub in the region.
The technology developed by the MERL laboratory will help to sustain the production of chemicals from biorenewable sources.
“Most of the world’s current chemicals and chemical-based products are derived from crude oil. Eco-friendly processes for the next generation of chemicals and materials are urgently required,” said Dr Keith Carpenter, Executive Director of ICES.
“The possibility of creating an entirely new value chain, deriving materials and chemical products from biomass and through the integration of biological and chemical sciences, with novel techniques and know-how, is definitely an exciting prospect,” he added.
Source: Channel NewsAsia
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