A new report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) concludes that converting biomass into fuels, energy, and chemicals has the potential to generate upwards of $230 billion to the global economy by 2020, most of that in the United States. The report, produced in collaboration with Royal DSM N.V., Novozymes, DuPont and Braskem, says that the biorefineries industry could supplement demand for sustainable energy, chemicals and materials, aiding energy security.
The report on the Future of Industrial Biorefineries was unveiled today during a keynote address at the BIO World Congress conference by Steen Riisgaard, CEO of Novozymes. “We need an energy replacement that comes at oil’s low price, but without its high environmental cost,” said Riisgaard. “Over time, cars, trucks, and even airplanes are going to run on sustainable low-carbon fuels derived from biomass. Plastics and chemicals will be made from plants rather than petroleum. As a result, biorefineries will infuse billions of dollars into the economy and create more than 800,000 new jobs.”
Riisgaard highlighted the U.S. as the world leader in developing biorefineries, accounting for more than 40,000 jobs. “While the U.S. has a head start, the race itself is only at the beginning,” said Riisgaard. “America’s competitive advantage cannot be taken for granted. If the U.S. wants to be a leader in developing these new clean energy technologies, it must build on the progress it’s already made. Congress and the Departments of Energy and Agriculture must ensure that the U.S. has a coherent and comprehensive strategy for the bio-based society and not just fragments of measures here and there.”
The report concludes that the development of the bio-based economy is at an early and high-risk stage and that government has a key role to play in providing seed support to the emerging bio-based sector and creating the market to ensure that it becomes established and successful as quickly as possible.
Read the full report here.