The U.S. bioeconomy emerged in the early 2000s as a result of the societal pursuit of energy independence and security, greenhouse gas emission mitigation and sustainable development. Founded on biotechnologies and stimulated by federal policies, the U.S. bioeconomy has been growing rapidly over the past decade. Intensive research and development endeavors have been carried out to explore advanced technologies for efficient biomass production, conversion, and valorization. The bioenergy products currently commercialized in the U.S. include bioethanol, biodiesel, biogas, bioheat and biopower; the commercialized bioproducts extend to biopolymers, biochemicals, biopharmaceuticals and bioadhesives. In 2018, more than 66.0 billion liters of biofuels and 2,950 certified bioproducts were produced, creating 4 million job opportunities and sharing 2.9% of the U.S. economy. Commercial production of cellulosic ethanol, renewable diesel, green jet fuel and other advanced biofuels remains at the demonstration stage and needs further improvement in cost-competitiveness. High costs of delivered biomass feedstock, immature biomass refinery technologies, lack of cost-comparative bioproducts, and low fossil fuel prices have been identified as the major constraints to a strong U.S. bioeconomy. To improve the bioeconomic viability, further biotechnological advances and integrated biorefinery processes are warranted.
Dr. Mingxin Guo is a Professor of Soil and Agricultural Sciences at Delaware State University, Dover, Delaware, USA. He received his M.S. in Environmental Chemistry from Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1995 and his Ph.D. in Soil Science from Pennsylvania State University in 2001. Dr. Guo joined the faculty of Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Delaware State University in 2004 with split teaching and research appointments on soil, water, and environmental sciences. His teaching covers Soil Science, Soil & Water Management, Soil Fertility & Plant Nutrition, Hydrology, and Limnology, while his research extends to valueadded reuse of agricultural byproducts and soil health assessment & management. Considering biomass supply is the base of a thriving bioeconomy, while sustainable production of biomass requires wise management of land, soil, and water, Dr. Guo is focusing his current research on farm-based production and utilization of organic residues-derived biochar and pyrolysis bio-oil, aiming to improve soil quality, crop productivity, and rural prosperity.