The Biobased Economy of the Twenty-First Century: Agriculture Expanding into Health, Energy, Chemicals, and Materials
With rapid world growth and changing consumer demands and attitudes, sustained economic and social development will depend upon a secure supply of raw-material inputs for manufacturing needs. Continued depletion of limited global natural resources supports the concept of supplying industrial production and energy needs through the use of renewable, or biobased, resources. The United States has a highly productive agricultural system, which, in addition to providing basic food, feed, and fiber, can produce significant plant- and animal-based resources for use as basic building blocks in industrial production. There is an opportunity for agriculture to become a major source for production of energy, chemicals and materials in the twenty-first century.The widespread use of plant- and animal-based inputs for fuel and industrial uses will require research and development efforts to address modifications in current processing systems, modifications to plant- and animal-production systems, and integration of fossil-fuel/biobased approaches. Major plant and animal production areas are not geographically suited to traditional processing facilities. Transportation issues and location of processing facilities near plant and animal production areas must be addressed. Successful progress toward addressing these and other challenges facing biobased industrial production will be achieved by an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to research and development that combines talents from traditional agricultural disciplines with those from engineering, health, information technologies, and many others.
Agricultural biotechnology; biobased economy; renewable inputs; production system; national security; research funding; hydrocarbons; landgrant universities