Do you want to invest in green technologies but need some ideas for where to find them? Tax incentives, carbon taxes and rising fossil fuel costs are motivating increased growth and development of 'green' products and services, many of which are the result of innovative discoveries in biotechnology and nanotechnology. To help you when it comes to choosing biotech stocks, here are five ideas for where to look for obvious and not-so-obvious biotech products that might be worthy of your investment.
Look for companies involved in R&D for biofuels (such as biodiesel and bioethanol), fermentation and refining technologies, and companies involved in producing the mechanical parts (i.e. automotive parts) required to run on biofuels. Iogen and Genencor are two very well established examples of companies making progress in these areas. Also of interest might be companies that have developed efficient ways of recycling by-products and waste from their own processes (e.g. methane gas) into fuel for driving production, since the increased efficiency will ultimately translate into lower production and disposal costs and higher profits.
Green walls and other bio-based air purification systems use a variety of organisms as part of their air filtering process, to remove VOCs and replenish oxygen supplies in buildings. The application of phytoremediation results in an aesthetically pleasing, fresh smelling wall of green vegetation that can be used to "dress up" a foyer or other common areas in apartment or office buildings. Look for companies involved in the development and construction of related air purification systems in buildings.
Energy Efficient Buildings
Conserving energy is just as important as finding new ways to produce it. Consider investing in companies that utilize nanoparticles and smart polymers to produce energy-efficient building materials (i.e. smart polymer-based windows).
Bioremediation and phytoremediation are options for cleaning up contaminated soil and water, but are often overlooked in favor of faster methods like incineration and landfill. With landfills filling up and the financial and environmental costs associated with incineration, biodegradation could soon increase in popularity. Green substitutes for industrial effluent treatments are also gaining popularity over traditional methods that require harsh chemicals and large energy (i.e. heat) inputs. This area of biotech always sees increased action when governments crack down on waste disposal and environmental offenders. Given growing public concern for our environment, this is definitely an industrial sector to keep and eye on.
Many bioproducts are being used to minimize the flow of waste to landfills, including biopolymers used in the manufacture of biodegradable plastics. Currently, the cost of bioplastics hinders their widespread use as everyday biotech products. Consider investing in companies that have proven products and watch for new techniques for efficient production of plant- or bacterial-based plastics that reduce costs to a competitive level.