State coalition aims for chemical, biofuel production

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Minnesota has the potential to be a world-class destination for building commercial-scale advanced biofuel and biobased chemical plants with the potential of $1 billion in direct capital investments statewide, according to the Bioeconomy Coalition of Minnesota, who announced their 2014 Minnesota legislative agenda at the Minnesota Green Chemistry Conference.

The Coalition is proposing the creation of a new production incentive program for renewable chemicals and advanced biofuels.  The incentive program has the potential to spur the creation of up to 12,000 new jobs and help to dramatically expand an industry that offers an average wage of $75,000 per employee.

Senator Tom Saxhaug and Representative Jeanne Poppe are chief authors for the measure.

"This is a big opportunity for our state to use agricultural feedstocks to produce high value renewable chemicals," said Representative Poppe. "We can build on the success of our ethanol industry with advanced biofuel production."

Senator Tom Saxhaug noted that the economic opportunity is statewide. "I represent an area with a forest products industry, and this is the best chance we have to reverse the decline in that industry in recent years."

Several Minnesota companies have the potential to utilize wood to produce high value chemicals and fuels. Advanced biofuel production opportunities also exist for other agricultural feedstocks, and the Twin Cities metro area is a prime location for company headquarters and research and development.  Approximately 415 bioindustrial companies are operating or headquartered in Minnesota today and the industry employees approximately 11,000 Minnesotans. Early stage companies like Segetis and BioAmber have brought in nearly $200 million in venture capital funding, and applied for or received more than 200 patents. Minnesota's industry includes established companies like industry-leader NatureWorks LLC.

"Advanced biofuel and biochemical production through environmentally-friendly, green chemistry offers the potential for significant job growth in Minnesota.  We are better positioned than any other state or country to embrace the opportunity of this technology," said Minnesota House Majority Leader Erin Murphy. "We need to take action to position us for statewide economic growth."

A multi-stakeholder coalition supporting the development of a new renewable chemicals and advanced biofuels industry in Minnesota, the Bioeconomy Coalition of Minnesota is a partnership including many of the world's leading renewable chemical companies.

To learn more about the Coalition and their 2014 legislative agenda, please mnbioeconomy.org.


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