US policies have been effective in growth of biobased economy

18 June 2013 04:00  [Source: ICIS news]

MONTREAL, Canada (ICIS)--Federal policy has played a major role in spurring growth of the biobased economy in the US, the CEO of a biotechnology trade group said on Monday.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) – a federal volume mandate on ethanol, biodiesel and other renewable sources in fuel blends –has increased production of biofuels and generated billions of dollars to the GDP, said James Greenwood, president and CEO if the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).

Another policy is the Farm Bill’s energy section, which if approved, would provide mandatory funding for programmes and make renewable chemicals eligible for those programmes, he said at the World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology conference.

In addition, tax policy also scored a significant victory when Congress extended two expiring cellulosic biofuels tax credits and expanded them to include algae-based fuels, Greenwood said. BIO is working to add renewable chemicals to the tax code with current legislation.

US military investing in advanced biofuels is also important, and last month, the US Navy announced the first set of grants to pilot the nation’s first commercial-scale drop-in aviation biofuel manufacturing facilities, he added.

These four policies are examples of those that have been effective for the US, Greenwood said.

“Their continuation and stable implementation are necessary to allow businesses to plan and invest in building large-scale biorefineries,” he said. “With these supportive national policies, the US can continue to be competitive in commercialising industrial biotechnology and biorefineries.”

The US must expand eligibility for investment incentives to new industrial biotechnology applications to continue to build a homegrown industry, Greenwood added.

The World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology conference runs through Wednesday.

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By: Tracy Dang
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