Economic opportunities

Two significant economic opportunities for biobased chemicals exist, including consumer/regulatory demand for replacing fossil carbon-based molecules and novel biomass-derived molecules that can create enhanced performance in end-use applications. The first opportunity is largely driven by societal value ascribed for transitioning to sustainably sourced products. These biobased chemicals are direct replacements for existing petrochemicals, so they are also influenced by fossil carbon pricing. A commercial example of this type of product is biobased ethylene glycol, which can be used in place of petrochemical-derived ethylene glycol. The second opportunity exploits the fact that biomass utilization can lead to novel molecules not readily accessible from fossil carbon. These differentiated molecules hold the potential to create next-generation products in diverse markets, including materials, consumer goods, nutraceuticals, agricultural chemicals, therapeutics, specialty chemicals, polymers, etc. Polylactic acid, which is a biodegradable and compostable material, is one such commercial example.