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In a recent report, the USDA estimates that bio-based chemicals, which are manufactured from renewable resources and are slowly beginning to replace their petroleum-derived counterparts, will constitute more than 10 percent of the chemicals market by 2015.
Commercial polymers like polylactic acid and polyhydroxyalkanoates are well established in the market, and growing strongly. The agency suggests that the global worldwide capacities of bio-based plastics will increase to 3.45 million metric tonnes in 2020.
The bio-economy is rapidly growing, creating new economic opportunities and providing well-paying jobs for tens of thousands of Americans,” said Brent Erickson from the US Biotech Industry Organization (BIO).
Nevertheless, the USDA identifies several challenges to continued expansion of the bio-economy, including reliable availability of raw materials in the face of increasing impact from climate change and severe weather, water availability and stability of the markets.
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