Green Biotechnology to Transform the Future

Darshan Mehta, Executive Director, Anil Bioplus Ltd | Saturday, 30 May 2015, 06:05 IST

Anil Bioplus Limited (ABL) is a manufacturer of bio-industrials, industrial enzymes, microbes (with enzymes) and bio-chemicals (Gluconate, Citrate) in India through fermentation process. The company is a part of the Anil Ltd (BSE: 532910) which has a market cap of Rs 282.05 Crore.

Among several concerns faced by the industry, one is to make their organization environmentally friendly. As the industries are growing and its production is increasing, there is also a rise in the amount of waste being produced. The unchecked disposal of this is causing a serious threat to the environment. Although there are several biotechnology companies working on overcoming this issue, several end user companies are still hesitant to implement these solutions owing to high cost issues. Since conventional technology is much cheaper and is less complex than green technology, most of the companies still opt for the former. The environment friendly solution is a Biotech solution.

For an instance, in the textile industry, a certain acid used in a process corrodes the machinery very quickly. In order to curb this corroding and increase the life of machinery, there are several bio-based solutions provided by biotechnology companies. However, most textile companies have paid no heed to the solution and continue to use the conventional technology. The reason why companies shy away from using such solutions is because, the cost of replacing the machines is much lesser than the cost involved in using green technology. Economy still plays a major role in this industry as it does in other sectors. Cost competiveness of enzyme technologies is often directly compared to conventional processes irrespective of calculating cumulative benefits that enzymes could offer. Having stricter regulatory norms would certainly help, and contribute to increased penetration of biotechnology within end-user industry.

Another reason behind the lack of implementation of biotechnology among the end user companies is the lack of awareness of their existences and also its benefits. Because the biotechnology solutions are new, the end user companies are reluctant to trust them. So, in order to convince them Anil Bioplus conducts technical trails in the shop floor and even in laboratories/pilot plants. We invite customers and use their material, and then brew it at our end, once they are convinced, the solution is taken to their plant and convince them for few trails, and only after they are fully convinced the product is taken to commercial production.

Overhaul Of Processes and Machinery a Hindrance
Even if a company intends to implement biotechnology, they may have to change few parameters. Some times this issue is one of the discouraging factors that stop an end user company from transforming. Even if a company revamps its operation process parameters, and decides to employ biotechnology another cost related issue crops up. For example, in a paper manufacturing company, there are two types of enzymes used in its productions, one for Refining and the other for Deinking. And since the production in a paper mill happens in a huge quantity, few hundreds of tons per day, trial cost became limiting factor. So generally, the manufacturing industries are reluctant to pay such a huge price when it comes to operations.

Another area where the use of enzymes poses problems is at the commercial department. The department chooses raw materials depending on their availability and their price. Hence, as the raw materials keep on changing, so does their mix, consequently the application of the enzyme also changes and as a result the required output will not be obtained. Also for a biotechnology company, it becomes very difficult to provide a new solution on a day to day basis, depending on the change of the mix of the raw material. This is the area where the biotechnology industry is currently working, to create and provide sustainable solutions.

Biotechnology is a green technology, and even though it is more expensive than the conventional technology, its use has more advantages for the environment in the long run. Although, the Indian market has not yet opened up to it, things are changing gradually. Post the Tirupur incident, which due to use of non biotech materials had an adverse effects on the environment and thus on the industry as a whole, people are becoming more environmentally conscious. The company in question also rectified itself by using biotechnology solutions replacing the conventional solutions that were harsh on the environment. This change in attitude is driving the biotechnology industry towards faster acceptances, as compared to the past where green technologies were not given ample importance.

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