Association, Biorefinery, Government, studies and reports

USDA reports impact of bio-based chemicals to US economy

The US Department of Agriculture’s BioPreferred program released a study on the economic impact analysis of the US bioproducts industry (excluding biofuels or other renewable energy sources).  The USDA commissioned the study under the 2014 Federal farm bill.  The report was produced by a team led by specialists at Duke and North Carolina State Universities.

According to the report, the US Bio-based Products industry contributed $369 billion to the US economy in 2013 alone and around 4 million jobs.  Changes under the 2014 Farm Bill is expected to create additional opportunities for growth in renewable chemicals.  Estimates are that the use of bio-based products currently displaces about 300 million gallons of petroleum annually – equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road.

USDA’s new Biorefinery Assistance Program, which was renamed as the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical and Biobased Products Manufacturing Assistance Program, provides loan guarantees of up to $250 million for the construction and retrofitting of commercial-scale biorefineries and biobased product manufacturing facilities. Biorefineries that receive funding are allowed to produce more renewable chemicals and other biobased products, and not primarily advanced biofuels.  Biobased product manufacturing facilities are also eligible to convert renewable chemicals and other biobased outputs of biorefineries into ‘end-user’ products.

The USDA BioPreferred program’s purpose is to spur economic development, create new jobs and provide new markets for farm commodities. The report found that seven major overarching sectors that represent the US biobased products industry’s contribution to the US economy includes agriculture and forestry, biorefining, biobased chemicals, enzymes, bioplastic bottles and packaging, forest products and textiles.

Seven case studies are presented in the study from stakeh0lders such as Coca-Cola Company, Patagonia, Ford, John Deere, Penford, Novozymes, and DuPont. The report is intended to serve as a platform for greater understanding and tracking the progress of the bioeconomy in the US.

A member of the USDA BioPreferred Program will be presenting this study at the BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology conference next month in Montreal, Canada.

About Doris de Guzman

Will Green Chemistry save the world or is it hype? Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives aimed at preventing pollution; replacing ingredients; and using renewable feedstocks in Green Chemistry. She has been covering the oleochemicals market for 15 years and spread her beat to inorganics, biofuels and green chemistry.

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