Investing in the 'bioeconomy' could create jobs, reduce emissions

By WILEY | November 22, 2016

A new article looks at the potential benefits of a Billion Ton Bioeconomy, a vision to enable a sustainable market for producing and converting a billion tons of U.S. biomass to biobased energy, fuels, and products by 2030.

Researchers' estimates show that achieving a Billion Ton Bioeconomy could displace 9.5 percent of fossil energy consumption and avoid as much as 446 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions annually. It could also expand direct bioeconomy revenue by a factor of 5 to contribute nearly $259 billion and create 1.1 million jobs to the US economy. The investigators note that the economic and environmental impacts discussed in the analysis are not projections, but estimates contingent upon developing feedstock supplies, lowering production costs, and enhancing the value of bioeconomy products.

"Biomass resources are very likely to play an important role in the transition to a low-carbon economy. While bio-based fuels and products will have to enter into and compete in extremely competitive markets, bio-based options represent the only plausible alternative to some fossil fuels and petroleum-based products such as hydrocarbon-based aviation fuels and chemicals," said Jonathan Rogers, lead author of the Biofuels, Bioproducts & Biorefiningarticle.