Biofuels are certainly a source of renewable energy and income for many entities – take the state of Iowa, for example. The question is: how much potential impact could this particular category of fuel source have on the global economy in coming years? A new report [PDF] out from the World Economic Forum suggests it could be very big, generating $230 billion and creating over 800,000 jobs by 2020.
This report, presented by Steen Riisgaard, CEO of biofuel firm Novozymes at the recent Bio World Congress conference in Washington, was authored by Sir David King of Oxford University. It concludes that much of that $230 billion in generated revenue could very well end up here in the United States. It is said our country is the current world leader in biofuel development, accounting currently for more than 40,000 jobs. The future 800,000 jobs figure is projected to just be domestically, including 190,000 direct new green jobs, and 610,000 indirect new jobs.
It is also believed that over the next few years bio-based products have the potential to replace 10 percent of U.S. oil imports, which is certainly big news. It is seen that by the year 2020 bio-based products will accumulate $15 billion in revenues and that the biofuels market alone will more than triple, with combined sales of $95 billion as the demand for biomass to generate heat and power is expected to more than double.
“We need an energy replacement that comes at oil’s low price, but without its high environmental cost,” said Riisgaard in a statement. “Over time, cars, trucks, and even airplanes are going to run on sustainable low-carbon fuels derived from biomass. Plastics and chemicals will be made from plants rather than petroleum. The U.S. has the world’s largest reserves of biomass available and more than 70 percent of the planned second generation biorefineries.”