Bio-Based Economy: The New Industrial RevolutionIn recent years, the U.S. and other countries have taken significant steps to move away from fossil-fuel based economic systems to sustainable economies based on biomass. In the “new economy,” renewable biomass, such as crops, wood, seaweed, and animal waste, provides source materials required for the production of fuel, chemicals, consumer and industrial products -- bio-products made in whole or partfrom biomass.Los Angeles, CA, US, August 17, 2012 -- A significant portion of agricultural resources used to make the feedstock or intermediate ingredients for bio-productsincludes corn, soybeans, flax, jute and kenaf. These crops provide serve as feedstock for the manufacturing of intermediate products, such as polymers, plastics, chemicals, films, foams and cellulose fibers.Manufacturers use intermediate products to make complex goods for the industrialand consumer markets. Bio-products span a diverse range of items, from paints,plastics and building insulation to shampoo, lip care and laundry detergents.Certification of Bio-Based ProductsContinuous gains in scientific and technological research make the bio-based products one of the fastest growing segments in the economy. The potential for thedevelopment of bio-based products offers tremendous growth opportunities acrossnearly every industrial sector.The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has divided bio-products into nine categories. Each product or package under a given category has to meet a minimum bio-based content standard to receive the USDA’s Certified Bio-based Product. The standard represents a minimum percentage of biomass content, such as 11% for lip balm or 72% for disposable dinner plates.If the category does not have a minimum bio-based content requirement, the product or package must contain a minimum of 25% bio-based content when applying forlabeling.As of March 2012, the USDA has approved more than 670 products from over 200 companies and has about 1,100 applications awaiting bio-based product certification.Federal Support for Bio-Product IndustriesIn August 2011, the White House Rural Council began introducing a wide range ofinitiatives intended to expand the market for bio-based products and support businesses. To help rejuvenate rural communities in the U.S. President Obama issueda Presidential Memorandum, which promotes the creation of jobs through the purchase of bio-products through federal procurements.The Federal government spends about $400 billion on goods and services annually.So far, Uncle Sam has committed $350 million in Small Business Administration financing for bio-based business start-ups in rural areas.Companies Tie Futures to Bio-ProductsMany large corporations have invested in certain bio-based segments to enhance their product lines and reduce carbon footprints. For example, Coke (KO) and Pepsi (PEP) have in their pipeline bio-based products made of 100 percent sugarcaneand other crop materials.Goodyear (GT) and DuPont (DD) have collaborated on the development of a bio-based alternative for petroleum-derived isoprene called BioIsoprene™ -- a substitute used to produce synthetic rubber for tires, adhesives, golf balls, and other products.