Study: Advanced Biofuels Can Spur Economic Growth, Create Jobs
A push for building advanced production of biofuels has the potential to create thousands of jobs, stimulate the stumbling economy and move the nation towards a more independent and secure energy future, according to a new study.
A recent report released by Bio Economic Research Associates, U.S. Economic Impact of Advanced Biofuels Production: Perspectives to 2030, analyzed how growth of an advanced biofuels industry will impact four areas critical to U.S. economic recovery, including job creation, economic output, energy security and investment opportunity.
The report cited study results which showed that direct job creation from advanced biofuels production could reach 29,000 by 2012, 94,000 by 2016, and 190,000 by 2022.
“The advanced biofuels industry could create 29,000 new jobs and create $5.5 billion in economic growth over the next three years, as companies continue to deploy the technology,” said Brent Erickson, executive vice president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization which welcomed the report. “As the advanced biofuels industry grows to the levels established in the Renewable Fuel Standard, it will create more than 800,000 new jobs throughout the economy. These new jobs will be in sectors of the economy that have experienced the highest rates of job losses over the past year, including agriculture and construction.”
But there are some worrying outcomes that a biofuel boom can cause.
An environmental scientist recently studied 20 years worth of satellite photographs taken of the tropical regions, and found that 50 percent of new land for growing crops came from intact rainforestes.
“If we run our cars on biofuels produced in the tropics, chances will be good that we are effectively burning rainforests in our gas tanks,” warned Holly Gibbs of Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment.
Gibbs is calling for a well thought-out plan to compensate for the negative effects that biofuel growth can potentially have on the environment.
Total job creation, accounting for economic multiplier effects, could reach 123,000 in 2012, 383,000 in 2016, and 807,000 by 2022.
The study also calculated that the cumulative total of avoided petroleum imports over the period 2010–2022 would exceed $350 billion.
“Increasing advanced biofuel production to a modest target of 45 billion gallons by 2030, which can be achieved by maintaining the same pace of technology development, could create more than 400,000 jobs within the industry and 1.9 million new jobs throughout the economy,” said Erickson. “Further, it could provide an economic boost of $300 billion. Continued federal support can help the industry quicken the development of the necessary technology and weather the risk of oil price volatility.”
Increasing production would also involve extensive research in order to streamline the growth of the biofuels.
Recently, a Redmond, Washington-based bioscience company unveiled a scientific breakthrough that dramatically increases algae yields in a cost-efficient and scalable model.