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

Bob Grant
Bob Grant

Bob Grant is Editor in Chief of The Scientist, where he started in 2007 as a Staff Writer.

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Feb 25, 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....
rch 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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