Federal agencies release framework for advancing the bioeconomy

By USDA | March 05, 2019

The federal Biomass Research and Development Board unveiled a multiagency strategy March 5 to accelerate innovative technologies that harness the nation’s biomass resources for affordable biofuels, bioproducts and biopower. The Bioeconomy Initiative: Implementation Framework was developed by the B&RD Board—an interagency collaborative co-chaired by USDA and U.S. DOE—to guide such efforts.

“The emerging bioeconomy presents an opportunity to expand and enable new agriculture and forest markets while also improving the sustainability of the broader modern economy and environment,” said Scott Hutchins, USDA deputy undersecretary for research, education and economics. “Strategic federal investments are developing technologies for the bioeconomy that promise to create new possibilities for renewable product supply chains, jobs and economic opportunities.”

Daniel Simmons, DOE assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, said, “A major benefit of the bioeconomy initiative is the ability to maximize the impact of federal investments in bioenergy and accelerate innovation in the bioeconomy. Biobased technologies can provide diverse, affordable, domestic supplies of energy and other products, providing consumers and businesses with additional reliable and secure energy options.”

The framework outlines an approach for implementing the initiative and will serve as a guiding document for the BR&D Board member agencies to increase government accountability and accelerate innovative and sustainable technologies that contribute to a secure, reliable, affordable and enduring supply of U.S. energy and products.

The framework presents goals and actions for addressing knowledge and technology gaps in:

-Advanced algae systems

-Feedstock genetic improvement, production, management and logistics

-Biomass conversion and carbon utilization

-Transportation, distribution infrastructure and end use

-Bioeconomy analysis

-Bioeconomy sustainability

The implementation framework lays out activities to address technology uncertainty; leverage government, academic and industrial resources and capabilities; stimulate public-private partnerships; and generate technical information that can inform decision-makers and policymakers.

The BR&D Board includes officials from DOE, USDA, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. EPA, National Science Foundation, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President.

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