“Follow the science”: Voices from the BIO World Congress

May 14, 2014 |


Ellen Kullman, CEO, Dupont

“As the first employee of what is known today as DuPont Industrial Biosciences, one of my jobs was to keep away the naysayers, while the team tried to figure it out. In 1999 we had no exact idea how it would turn out. There were a lot of days I thought it wouldn’t, or I didn’t know how long it would take.

“How hard it is to let go of the things that we know and what were comfortable with. It wasn’t easy for any of us. In a way, we were challenging the premise of how our company had defined success for the past century. When we scaled up the technology for biobased PDO in 2007 at Loudon., Tennessee, Craig Venter said that “the world is watching Loudon,” and it was a critical moment for the DuPont Company.

“Since then, DuPont has undergone a lot of change, shedding traditional businesses that have become commoditized, and focused on areas where science can make a difference. It’s hard on people, and the comfort factor of what they know.

“But you have to follow the science. The science is ever changing, and we will succeed, this industry will succeed, if we ket go of what we know today. You have to be open. Even when you have a daunting, frustrating experience like first bio PDO project. But, eventually, our team of biologists, chemists, engineers, and business development, came to believe that we were building something new and that we would change the company.”

Jim Greenwood, CEO, BIO

“We’re at the pivotal point, these are no longer fiction fuels — there is steel in the ground, and it’s projected that there will be an $84 billion market in renewable chemicals within five years. But our industry will never be for the risk adverse. You take on the special interests every day.”

Alan Hiltner, COO, GranBio

“The plant is complete, and we expect to generate ethanol in next 25-30 days.”

Javier Garoz, CEO, Abengoa Bioenergy

“We expect to generate cellulosic ethanol at Hugoton by the third quarter this year.”

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