The future of biorefineries

The green blog is still transcribing tons of interviews and presentations from last week’s BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing conference held near Washington DC.

For a few insights on what transpired at this fast-growing event, the blog suggests on visiting BIO’s official industrial biotech blog “Biofuels and Climate” by Paul Winters.

One big news from the conference is the release of a new report from the World Economic Forum about the importance of industrial biorefineries not only in reducing carbon emissions but placing the US at a competitive advantage in manufacturing and energy.

“In an oil-based society, the United States is at a competitive disadvantage,” said Steen Riisgaard, CEO of Novozymes, who presented the report at the conference. “America has only two percent of the world’s oil reserves, while it uses more than 20 percent of the world’s oil. But in a bio-based society, America has a huge resource advantage. The U.S. has the world’s largest reserves of biomass available and more than 70 percent of the planned second generation biorefineries.”

Some of the highlights report:

  • The biofuels market alone is estimated to more than triple by 2020, with combined sales of $95 billion
  • The demand for biomass to generate heat and power is expected to more than double
  • Bio-based products will accumulate $15 billion in revenues by 2020
  • Bio-based chemicals are expected to grow significantly and increase its share in overall chemicals production to an estimated nine percent of all chemicals

The report also says that by 2030 a biomass value chain could create revenue potentials of $15bn for agricultural inputs, $89bn for biomass production, $30bn for biomass trading, $10bn for biorefining inputs, $80bn for biorefining fuels, $6bn for bioplastics and $65bn for biomass power and heat.

Feike Sijbesma, CEO Royal DSM N.V., was also at the presentation and noted the need for collaboration between public and private sectors to enable the transition to a bio-economy.

“As innovation will be key in achieving this, the private sector needs to drive this with conviction and new open innovation concepts. At the same time, it offers governments worldwide a great opportunity, too, in which their help to create a positive framework with stimulating regulations and incentives to enable the private sector to accelerate its investments will be key. The transition to a bio-based economy offers a lot of opportunities to all stakeholders involved.”

By the way, the report (below) was produced in collaboration with DSM, Novozymes, DuPont and Braskem.

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