The morning started with a talk on “Synthetic Biology for a Suitable Bioeconomy” and tour at VTT by Merja Penttilä.
VTT is a non-profit research organisation that provides research for both Aalto University and commercial businesses. The talk informed us of VTT’s hope to contribute to change for the future, focusing much of its research into replacement for oil, novel technologies, prevention of CO2 Climate Change, industry transition, diverse bioeconomy.
Merja made two clear distinctions for the terms Biotechnology; the use of living organisms or their parts in industrial production, and Synthetic Biology; design of new biological functionalities by man. She led us through a number of examples for potential biological systems that could be used to our advantage including:
– Algae + Sun and CO2 = Energy
– Bacteria that use internal magnets for orientation.
– Tree cellulose – sugar + yeast = Lactic Acid = Plastic
Many of the larger coporations are now turning to biotechnology including Dupont, DSM, BASF, Total, BP and Neste oil for solutions to the depletion of oil, but at the moment the production of waste from the industry is still a problem which needs to be addressed.
For more information on VTT see: http://www.vttresearch.com/services/bioeconomy