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Can biofuels boost economy?

Biofuels may be one of the key ways to pump immediate life into the flaccid US economy over the next few years, according to a new report from a research and advisory firm focused on the economics of biotechnology. The linkurl:report,;http://www.bio.org/news/pressreleases/newsitem.asp?id=2009_0225_02 produced by Bio Economic Research Associates and titled "U.S. Economic Impact of Advanced Biofuels Production: Perspectives to 2030," indicates that refineries specializing in next generation biofu

By | February 26, 2009

Biofuels may be one of the key ways to pump immediate life into the flaccid US economy over the next few years, according to a new report from a research and advisory firm focused on the economics of biotechnology. The linkurl:report,;http://www.bio.org/news/pressreleases/newsitem.asp?id=2009_0225_02 produced by Bio Economic Research Associates and titled "U.S. Economic Impact of Advanced Biofuels Production: Perspectives to 2030," indicates that refineries specializing in next generation biofuels--think fuels made from cellulosic ethanol, sorghum, sugar cane, algae other renewable seed stocks--could create nearly 200,000 new jobs by 2022. Add in jobs created in related fields, such as research and development, construction, engineering and agriculture, and we're talking 800,000 new jobs by 2022, according to the report. "These are the sectors of the economy that have been hardest hit by recent job losses over the past year," said Paul Winters, a spokesperson for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), which funded the report. Winters added that commercializing biofuel technologies is quicker than bringing medical therapies to market, due to fewer regulatory hoops. This could mean a more immediate impact than pumping funding into biomedical research. The report also states that the advanced biofuel investment could yield a direct contribution to US economic growth of $37 billion by 2022, and that such investments could save a total of $350 billion in oil imports between now and 2022. Winters noted that the research and development behind biofuels is reasonably mature, and investment in the commercial side of the sector is now needed. "The R&D is at a stage where it's ready for commercialization, and the companies are having a tough time in the market," he said. For our February issue, I wrote a linkurl:story;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/55376/ about algal biofuels, and it seemed to me that researchers and entrepreneurs in that particular market could use a whole lot more help in terms of R&D dollars. Winters said that the funding in the recently passed economic stimulus legislation was good for the advanced biofuel sector, but that BIO hopes to see more funding for loan guarantees and an extension of the government's biofuel production tax credits, which are set to expire in 2012.
**__Related stories:__***linkurl:Future Oil;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/55376/
[February 2009]*linkurl:Biofuels for Fuel Cells;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/13370/
[11th November 2002]
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Comments

Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 125

March 2, 2009

Only if the costs involved aren't such that it makes much less economical sense than the fossil fuel. I say "much less" because the higher cost to replace the carbon-emitting fossil fuel is well justified for decreasing the damages to the environment and health.
Avatar of: Birgir Norddahl

Birgir Norddahl

Posts: 1

March 3, 2009

There is no doubt that 2. generation biofuels can boost economy. It is, however, not all fuels that is the target for the future development. Bioethanol is probably not a good choice. It does not have an energy density high enough to be used as jet fuel and car manufacturers will probably within a few years skip the gasoline motor and develop high efficient diesel engines, hybrids and electical motors with efficient batteries instead. The question I would like answered is when do the motor manufacturers stop producing gasoline motors? The answer to this question will make it a lot easier to predict future targets for development in this field.

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Mettler Toledo
Mettler Toledo
Life Technologies