On Monday, October 26, 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) presented “Bioproducts in the Federal Bioeconomy Portfolio Webinar,” a webinar on how the federal government is promoting sustainability through three different avenues: bioproducts research; commercialization; and market development. The presenters on these topics were DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) Technology Manager Nichole Fitzgerald; U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) BioPreferred Deputy Program Manager Kate Lewis; and the Ohio State University Bioproducts Innovation Center’s Director Dennis Hall. The webinar summary stated that “the creation of a robust, next-generation domestic bioenergy industry is one of the most important pathways for providing Americans with sustainable, renewable energy alternatives,” and “through research, development, and commercialization to produce renewable fuels and products sustainable and affordable, we can provide home-grown alternatives for the transportation, energy, and bioproducts sectors.”
We summarize below some webinar highlights:
- There are substantial emissions reductions that bioproducts can provide compared to their fossil-derived counterparts (varying from 45 percent up to 86 percent).
- Renewable chemicals have many positive bioeconomy contributions and few negative aspects. Renewable chemicals help the bioeconomy in the following important ways:
- Bolsters the economy (e.g., knowledge from bioproduct production can be transferred to biofuels production);
- Market entry (e.g., corporations will support the bioeconomy through the purchase and use of sustainable products); and
- Renewable chemicals are critical for economic success of advanced biofuel production (e.g., reduces risk by allowing biorefineries to pursue a higher value product).
- National unaided awareness of biobased products has increased -- from 30 percent in 2013 up to 48 percent in 2014.
- The U.S. biobased products industry had significant contributions to the economy in 2013, including:
- Adding four million American jobs, as well as adding 1.64 more jobs per every biobased products job; and
- Adding $369 billion to the economy.