Army Turns To Biotechnology, Away From Petrochemical Production

May 25, 2021
U.S. Army expands biomanufacturing capabilities.

In a move toward self-sufficiency, the Army is expanding its biological manufacturing capabilities, according to an article from Military Spot. Peter Emanuel, senior research scientist for bioengineering at the Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center (DEVCOM CBC) and overall leader of the DEVCOM CBC biomanufacturing initiative, says in the article that the crucial chemicals the country needs for national security are manufactured in costly petrochemical facilities, either by a single source domestically or inside foreign nations that might not be willing to supply the U.S.

Domestic, low-cost biomanufacturing can produce critical chemicals including “energy-dense propellants and explosives, reactive coatings and textiles, optical and sensor materials that can bend light and new therapeutics such as antimicrobials and vaccines,” says Dr. Henry Gibbons, a DEVCOM CBC microbiologist and program manager of the Center’s current biomanufacturing expansion effort. The initiative’s first project will be to biomanufacture 1,2,4-butanetriol (BT), a vital precursor to butanetriol trinitrate (BTTN), a fuel used in Hellfire missiles, according to the article. The Department of Defense currently relies on a single domestic supplier of BT.

Read the entire article here.

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