BETO Issues Workshop Summary Report On Performance-Advantaged Biobased Chemicals
by Lynn L. Bergeson (Bergeson & Campbell/Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group) On June 27, 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) issued a new report, Moving Beyond Drop-In Replacements: Performance-Advantaged Biobased Chemicals Workshop Summary Report, that summarizes presentations and discussions from a workshop BETO held in June 2017 to gather stakeholder input on the research and development necessary for novel biobased compounds and functional replacements. DOE states that performance-advantaged biobased products and functional replacements can offer many advantages to the U.S. bioeconomy. The conclusion section of the report states that performance-advantaged biobased products present an important opportunity for the bioeconomy, and the ideal novel biobased compound would achieve the following:
- Allow for new functionality in end products and generate new markets for manufacturers of biobased materials;
- Increase the value of domestic biomass resources and provide a new revenue stream for biorefineries; and
- Reduce the environmental impact of some manufacturing processes. READ MORE
Building Better Chemicals – The Bioeconomy’s Role in Creating Novel Biobased Chemicals (Environmental and Energy Study Institute)
Excerpt from Environmental and Energy Study Institute: For the last decade, the bioeconomy has been focused on creating renewable chemicals that are chemically identical to petroleum products, but are derived from renewable resources. However, time and experience has shown that it is both expensive and challenging to create replacements for petroleum-based compounds using biomass. Creating new chemicals with novel attributes could increase the product stream from the biorefinery, as well as provide improved environmental and health impacts.
That’s according to a recent report from the Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), which examines research questions needed to scale the discovery and production of new and novel biobased chemicals.
On a per-gallon basis, a petroleum refinery derives value from refining chemicals. Chemicals make up a small portion of the barrel, but provide most of the value (See Figure). Increasingly, the biofuels industry is looking towards this business model, as value-added co-products are increasingly recognized as necessary to make biofuels production viable. In the not too distant future, biorefineries will have flexibility to produce a variety of high-value co-products, just as what occurs at the oil refinery.
Products and revenue from a barrel of oil. Courtesy of U.S. DOE.
According to the report, both industry and researchers have identified a need for large amounts of data on potential molecular properties of biobased chemicals. This information would help drive federal investments in research and development and other areas of the supply chain. READ MORE