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Bio Based product dashboard adds a new way of tracking sustainability progress

A recent report published by the SCRC in the Poole College of Management and East Carolina University adds a new set of metrics for executives and NGO’s interested in understanding the progress of the US economy to improving its sustainability performance.  By and large, the news is all positive!

The biobased economy involves both the government sector, as well as the private sector, using non-petroleum based feedstocks to produce new and innovative products.  This is an exciting development, as there has never been a single dashboard that was used to assess and track progress of the bioeconomy, and NC State and ECU are proud to be leading this effort.

On the government side, federal law, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), and Executive Order 13693 each contain various provisions requiring federal agencies to track and report on their biobased product procurement actions.  Section 9002 of the 2002, 2008 and 2014 Farm Bills require federal agencies and federal contractors to purchase biobased products in categories designated by USDA. Section 9002 (as codified at 7 U.S. Code §8102) requires agencies to provide data on the number and dollar value of contracts entered into each year that include the direct procurement of biobased products; the number of service and construction (including renovations) contracts entered into each year that include language on the use of biobased products; and the types and dollar value of biobased products actually used by contractors in carrying out service and construction (including renovations) contracts during each year.

A number of highlights developed by this dashboard reflects the fact that the bioeconomy is growing!

  • Ethanol production in the United States surpassed 14.7 billion gallons in 2015. This compares to just 175 million in 1980.
  • The number of ethanol plants in the United States continues to see modest growth, increasing to 199 plants in 2016 with 3 new facilities under construction. This accounts for over 270,000 American jobs.
  • Biodiesel production reached 1.26 billion gallons in 2015 as compared to 343 million gallons in 2010. • During the period of 2005 to 2012, soybean used for biodiesel increased from 0.67 billion pounds to 4.1 billion pounds.
  • Wood pellets manufactured primarily in the Southeastern United States have become an important component of the bioenergy sector. Driven by commitments by countries outside of the United States to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals in the electricity-generating sector, the United States has established itself as the largest exporter of wood pellets. The United States exported over 4.6 billion kilograms (kg) of wood pellets, which is the global leader by almost 3.0 billion kg over the second-largest exporter.
  • The number of renewable chemicals and biobased products that are USDA “certified” as BioPreferred has rapidly increased from 1,800 in 2014 to 2,900 in 2016.
  • It is estimated that the overall number of biobased products in the United States marketplace was greater than 40,000 in 2014, up from 17,000 in 2008.
  • • The number of jobs contributed to the United States economy by the United States biobased products industry in 2014 was 4.22 million.
  • The value-added contribution to the United States economy from the United States biobased products industry in 2014 was $393 billion.

Stay tuned!  We will continue to be publishing new success stories about how firms in the bioeconomy are generating ever innovative ways of employing these biobased materials in their new products and services.