Minnesota renewed

My apologies to Amy Johnson of BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota as it took me over a week to finally post the Alliance’s renewables report.

The group along with Deloitte Consulting released a roadmap growth report entitled Destination 2025, which recommended the support of renewable energy and renewable materials markets as well as in medical devices, biologics and pharmaceuticals, animal health and food markets.

Sample recommendations for the renewable materials and renewable energy industries include:

  • Position Minnesota as a world leader in engineering and processing to produce products from renewable materials as the industry has the potential to create a significant number of manufacturing jobs in Minnesota.

  • Support clean, green, and renewable products and services.

  • Uncover overlapping and convergent opportunities and resolve conflicting demands between the food, renewable energy, and renewable materials industries.

  • Establish Minnesota as a leader in sustainable biomass supply and develop a combustible biomass industry.

  • Establish a complete portfolio of financial policies and strategies that support all aspects of business development, from early-stage funding to ongoing R&D tax credits, encouraging private-sector investment and commitment to grow industries and jobs in Minnesota.

According to BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota, the state’s renewable materials industry, excluding biofuels producers, employs more than 500 people and had sales of over $270m in 2006. There are several bioplastics and biochemical companies currently operating in the state including start-up firm Segetis.

In 2007, Minnesota’s ethanol industry was said to have employed 1,400 people and had sales of $1.68 billion. I do wonder if that figure might be down now with the current ethanol slump and some businesses already closed. The Alliance said Minnesota is the 5th largest ethanol producer in the US.

Minnesota’s paper, pulp, and board segments of the forest-product industry (which are said to be relevant to bioprocessing) is said to have employed 4,400 people in 2007 with revenues of $1.87 billion for pulp and paper and $450 billion for board manufacturing.

The problem with Minnesota, according to the report, is that the state’s biomass feedstock supply chain is poorly coordinated and that the state lacks large-scale collaborations between academic entities and the renewable materials industry. Federal funding has also been limited.

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