Biofuels Digest: 5th Birthday Special Issue
by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest) Five years ago today, Biofuels Digest debuted with two subscribers and a hunch that a daily, 5-minute news summary, combined with original journalism and news analysis, would find a place in the fast-growing world of industrial biotechnology.
Some 1300 editions and 20,000 stories later, we continue to be mesmerized here in Digestville by the innovations that you, the readers, come up with every day. Though companies, trends and people have come and gone, the technology continues to drive a controversial conversation about the purpose and growth of the biobased economy – not to mention national security, rural development, climate change, health, poverty, water, neo-colonialism and sustainability.
Ten trends we have seen rise above the others:
1. The expansion of a biofuels initiative into the platform for a diversified bioeconomy. …
…Biofuels have remained controversial to many observers for reasons that have little to do with fuels or processing technologies. It has become a convenient proxy in a larger conversation about land use, rationing vs abundance, and monoculture agriculture. Above, all, a proxy in a heated debate about the competition for scarce resources such as arable land, water.
…We live in a two-minded age.
On the one hand, we crave growth and the jobs, prosperity, human dignity, access to education and health, and projectable national power that growth brings.
On the other hand, we regret the resource depletion and competition, waste streams, disruption, unequal sharing of benefits, infrastructure needs, investment requirements and general shredding of :business as usual” that growth brings in its creative, destructive wake.
…We regret that some of our friends in the environmental community do not share the view that weak national policies on land use, rather than biofuels as a technology class, are at the heart of land use changes that they find appalling. We also regret that they do not see that a strong rural economy in every country, and broad-based prosperity – is the surest path to ensuring sustainable industry and protection of Planet Earth.
We regret that some of our friends that power their businesses from fossil fuels do not share the view that a robust bioeconomy helps to drive prosperity that increases demand for their products.
…During the short life of the Digest, hundreds of companies have been formed and thousands of new bio-based products have come to market.. Billions of gallons in new capacity have been built. Sustainability of biofuel technologies old and new has been increased. Stability has improved. More than 5 billion gallons in new advanced biofuels capacity is on the drawing board.
The industry has much to be proud of, and much to be thankful for. READ MORE