Federal biofuels policy should focus on helping companies commercialize promising technologies for advanced biofuels and biobased products, said the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). On Oct. 22 the group commended the Obama administration's commitment to helping rural economies and reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil by building a robust domestic biofuel and biobased manufacturing sector.
BIO joined the Algal Biomass Organization and the Advanced BioFuels Association in a letter to President Obama thanking the administration for programs announced on Oct. 22 and outlining key policies needed to help companies bring advanced biofuels out of the lab and to the marketplace.
Recent programs include funding for the Biomass Crop Assistance Program, which will provide assistance to help farmers plant and harvest new purpose-grown energy crops. Additionally five new USDA regional Biomass Research Centers will develop advanced feedstocks for biofuels and biobased products and fund five regional biorefineries under the Biorefinery Assistance Program. The administration is also trying to increase the use of biofuels in government fleets and for creating a memorandum of understanding with the Federal Aviation Administration.
"A comprehensive national policy is needed to drive commercial development of the most promising advanced biofuels and biobased products," said Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO's Industrial & Environmental Section. "In combination with supportive tax policy, loan guarantee program reforms, and continued commitment to the Renewable Fuel Standard, these policies will create thousands of manufacturing jobs for Americans, while delivering sustainable transportation fuels and products."
A recent report by BIO,U.S. Economic Impact of Advanced Biofuels Production, projects that development of advanced biorefineries could create tens of thousands of jobs over the next few years and hundreds of thousands by 2030, contributing more than $140 billion in economic growth. The study also shows that advanced biofuel production could save a total of $350 billion in oil imports between now and 2022.
Further, BIO's white paper, Biobased Chemicals and Products: A New Driver of U.S. Economic Development and Green Jobs, shows that projected growth in the biobased chemicals and plastics industry, which are also produced in advanced biorefineries, can create thousands more jobs. This sector, which accounts for 4% of the market, already generates 5,700 direct jobs and is likely responsible for over 40,000 jobs economy wide.