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When it Comes to Biofuels Driving the Economy, The Sky is the Limit

February 20, 2013
Last week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack wrote a column talking about the unlimited opportunities for biofuels to grow the rural economy. He highlighted what the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has already done to support biofuels including loan guarantees and research centers, and talked about the contributions biofuels have already made to strengthen our nation’s economic and energy security.

The United States is rapidly building a biobased economy, where biotechnology is used to convert renewable material to high-value products, such as biofuels, renewable chemicals, and biobased materials. And biotechnology companies are leading this explosion of innovation.

BIO created a picture book showcasing the progress made in advancing commercialization of advanced biofuels and renewable chemicals. It includes commercial facilities that have been in operation for as many as 10 years and new ones under construction. These biorefineries are producing new employment opportunities and jump-starting economic development when they’re needed most. Each facility represents millions of dollars in new capital investment during a period when capital markets have been highly risk averse and nearly frozen.

BIO’s 2013 World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology this June will feature two plenary sessions focused on the future of biofuels looking at opportunities and challenges. Feeding Next Generation Biorefineries in 2013 will include biotech feedstock producers and experts in the field to discuss the progress in deploying conventional and novel feedstocks around the world, and what challenges feedstock providers face as they attempt to build and expand a marketplace for biobased raw materials.

Feeling the Heat of the Biofuels Boom will be moderated by Jim Lane, editor of Biofuels Digest. Advanced biofuels producers, government officials, and biofuels customers will discuss significant policy challenges and mounting political pressure against the industry.  Topics will cover the shift in public opinion on the potential for biofuels as a viable petroleum alternative, cap ex hurdles, regulatory burdens, and how the biofuels industry plans to overcome these obstacles in 2013.

“The production and use of advanced biofuels has already had a very positive impact for our nation, and biofuels hold even more opportunity to create jobs and economic prosperity for rural America in the years ahead,” said Vilack in his column. The opportunity is there and advanced biofuels producers are rising to the challenge to help build America’s biobased economy.