Did you know that you encounter products made from biomass everyday? From fuel to personal care products, even nutritional supplements, biomass is everywhere.
Products like these (and many more) are a vital part of our nation’s bioeconomy. Bioeconomy is defined as the addition of domestic, sustainable, abundant biomass to the economy of the United States. The bioeconomy adds countless jobs and energy security to the U.S.
So, where exactly do we see the bioeconomy in our daily lives?
Nutritional Supplements & Food Additives
Algae are some of the best oil producers in the world. They generate up to 5,000 gallons of oil per acre! This algae-produced oil is then used, among other things, as an omega-3 fatty acid source, acting as a substitute for fish oils.
Additionally, biomass is found in various food flavors. Take Lignin, for example. Lignin is an organic substance which aids in the structural support of plants. Companies have found ways to extract flavors from lignin by converting it into renewable chemicals. A common use for these chemicals from lignin is found in smoky-flavored foods such as barbecue potato chips.
Fuel & Gas
Ethanol, a domestically produced, renewable fuel, makes up more than 98% of gasoline in the U.S., and it’s made from several plant materials. The large corn harvests in the United States help make us the world’s number one ethanol producer, effectively reducing our dependence on imported oil, aiding the economy, and keeping our tanks full. In 2019, 68,600 direct jobs in the U.S., $23 billion in household income, and $43 billion in gross domestic product were all the direct result of the production of more than 16 billion gallons of ethanol.
On top of the automobile fuel industry, biofuels continue to play a major role in the aviation industry with more and more companies finding ways to produce renewable jet fuels derived from biomass.
Personal Care Products
Plenty of the products in your bathroom are likely the product of biomass. Mascara, skin creams, shampoo, and more are all produced using bio based feedstocks. Palmtitic acid, a popular saturated fatty acid found in plants and microorganisms, is used in most conditioners, and your nail polish remover’s acetone is the result of fermenting plants.
Biobased cosmetics are seeing a boom in production thanks to increased public demand. Innovations within the biotechnology industry are making these products more efficient to produce and less expensive.
Closing Thoughts About Biomass
One article can’t scratch the surface of all the products you see everyday that are a result of biomass. These fuels, chemicals, and products are America’s key to sustainable and renewable homegrown products. As science and technology advance, the diversity of biomass products will increase, promising a future that is both sustainable and profitable.
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