Roadmap released for Minnesota's advanced biofuels, biochemicals

By The BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota | April 03, 2012

The BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota released a comprehensive white paper detailing the extent and impact of the advanced biofuels and biobased chemicals industry and providing a roadmap for their continued growth in Minnesota. The strategy in the report was developed under the guidance of the BioIndustrial Partnership of Minnesota, a group of business, government, academic and nonprofit leaders supporting development of Minnesota's advanced biofuels and biobased chemicals industry. Specific policy recommendations in the roadmap were developed through a consensus-based process led by the Great Plains Institute. 

The report details several factors influencing domestic growth of the advanced biofuels and biobased chemicals industry, including demand for safer materials, volatile petroleum prices and policies requiring consumption of advanced biofuels. Given these factors, sources cited in the report project multibillion dollar growth for the biobased chemicals and biofuels industries. 

"Biotechnology is a growing industry that creates high-quality jobs and contributes to a healthy economy," said Jim Greenwood, president and CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization. "Utilizing U.S. leadership in biotechnology, agricultural productivity and manufacturing innovation to build a biobased economy will generate additional jobs in manufacturing, agricultural production and forestry, transportation and distribution, and construction. It will also help states to capture a share of the $230 billion in worldwide economic growth expected from biobased manufacturing."

Minnesota's mix of natural resources, highly trained workers, established supply chains and research and development capabilities positions it to be at the leading edge of growth of the international advanced biofuels and biobased chemicals industries. According to the report, Minnesota's direct and indirect employment in bioindustrial processing company headquarters is projected to exceed 13,000 by 2025, up from approximately 2,000 in 2011.

"Minnesota has a critical mass of companies leading the world in the commercialization of new biobased chemicals," stated Doug Cameron, co-president and director of First Green Partners. "We have a history of industry creation in the development of the conventional biobased industry of food, fuels and fiber, which provides the necessary infrastructure for further innovation and growth."

“Biofuels and biobased chemicals show great growth potential as a clean technology industry in our state. DEED is committed to realizing that potential. Our doors are open for companies to grow in Minnesota,” said Mark Phillips, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

According to the report, continued industry growth can only be sustained through proactive development of a strong voice for the industry, an environment that encourages a full spectrum of investments and increased demand and production for biobased chemicals and advanced biofuels.

"Minnesota is in a perfect position to lead growth of the advanced biofuels and biobased chemicals industry," stated Dale Wahlstrom, president and CEO of LifeScience Alley and The BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota. "Our organizations will continue to focus on the development of this ecosystem, and the advancement of policy and infrastructure necessary to maintain our leading edge."