The U.S. Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) released the new report “Advancing the Biobased Economy: Renewable Chemical Biorefinery Commercialization, Progress, and Market Opportunities, 2016 and Beyond,” documenting substantial, ongoing growth in the renewable chemical industry and outlining federal and state policies that support the industry.
Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, stated, “The biobased economy is alive and well; it is not just about biofuels development. BIO’s new report on renewable chemical biorefineries illustrates the range of technologies currently undergoing commercialization in the industrial biotechnology space. Analysts predict rapid expansion of renewable chemical sales based on existing and planned production capacity, which for the first time has been catalogued in this report. Growing competition in the sector will assure manufacturers of a steadily available, high-quality and more sustainable supply of renewable chemical building blocks to replace petroleum in consumer products”.
Continued federal and state policy support can help growth of the 21st century biobased economy. For example, with the support of Congressional leaders such as Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and the Farm Bill energy title’s many champions – including Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Reps. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Tim Walz (D-Minn.) and Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) – the 2014 Farm Bill extended loan guarantee eligibility to biobased product makers and renewable chemical producers through the Section 9003 Program. That program ensures renewable chemical producers can access necessary capital to build large-scale biorefinery projects in rural areas, creating new high value jobs and driving economic growth. The USDA under the leadership of Secretary Tom Vilsack also has been a leading champion for the renewable chemical and biorefinery industry.
“Important policy drivers for the future include legislation that would create tax incentives for qualifying renewable chemical production and investments in biorefineries. Spurred by this draft federal legislation, a number of states, such as Iowa and Minnesota, recently enacted production tax credits for renewable chemicals that will help attract renewable chemical companies, build capital investment availability and speed commercialization.”