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Economic Development

The creation of a new biobased economy will lead to the creation of new jobs, new technologies, and new markets.

Job Impact

The creation of a new biobased economy will lead to the creation of new jobs in the Northeast Region, as new infrastructures and new biobased industrial complexes are constructed.

In addition to jobs created through assembling infrastructure, many new jobs will be created to run the new biobased industries.  For example, a report assessing the impact of the emerging ethanol industry estimates the creation of 153,725 jobs in 2006 in all sectors of the economy and over 800 jobs for each 50 million gallon/year ethanol plant.*  The movement toward a biobased economy will benefit many sectors of the US economy.

*(Job creation estimates based on report: “Contribution of the ethanol industry to the economy of the United States”, prepared for the Renewable Fuels Association by John M. Urbanchuk, Director, LECG LLC, February 2006.)

Economy and Markets

New technologies

The Sun Grant Initiative programs foster strong support for rural economic development through development and implementation of new technologies and methods in the marketplace.  New technologies for the conversion of biomass into energy and other non-food products is critical as the nation transitions from a petroleum based economy to a biobased economy.

New Markets and Infrastructure

New service companies are already appearing on the market place as early adapters to the biobased market transition.  For example, a niche is being created for companies that will perform the locating, gathering, and transporting of agricultural bioenergy products from farms and food processing waste streams.  Companies that aggregate feedstocks (“Agri-gators”) are only one of the many segments of a new biobased industry infrastructure that must be created.

New Biobased economy

How will these changes impact our economy and markets?  Economists are already addressing these important issues through Sun Grant sponsored research. The result will be better decision making tools for our policy makers, land-owners, growers, and others involved in the biobased economy revolution.

Northeast Bioindustries and Partners

The Northeast region of the United States is home to at least 44 companies that produce biobased products or have a biobased focus in their product line. However, when the larger picture of biotechnology in the Northeast is considered, it is clear that not only start-up companies, but also a significant number of law firms, investment firms, major companies, cooperatives, and universities also are involved in this exciting frontier. When considering these organizations(private, state and public) with an interest in biotechnology in the Northeast, the number climbs to at least 416 companies in the Northeast Sun Grant Region with a specific interest in this area. The nation’s largest chemical company (Dow) is based in Midland, Michigan. Dow and Cargill have formed a joint venture to produce biobased corn-derived chemicals.