Biofuels, Bioplastics Key to Market Shift

Over 70 environmental organizations and leaders endorsed the Secure, Sustainable Energy and Environmental Demand (SEED) Action Agenda, which calls for a broad market shift away from petroleum dependency toward bioplastics and biofuels that can be produced using renewable resources.

The SEED initiative is organized by The Future 500, and is seeking to drive down petroleum dependence and its security consequences by shifting to a new generation of bio-based alternatives. The initiative finds unusual common ground between often-adversarial corporations and advocates, leveraging recent technology breakthroughs that have dramatically reduced the cost and increased the availability of these alternatives. Declaring this “the last century of petroleum,” the groups publicly endorsed a set of technologies that manufacture materials and fuels with resources from the Midwest, not the Middle East. “It’s time to come clean and admit that America has a problem: oil addiction. The only solution is for business leaders to develop alternatives to petroleum-dependent products and make it possible for people to live petroleum free,” said Jennifer Krill, director of Zero Emissions Campaign for Rainforest Action Network. To eliminate petroleum dependence, the groups are calling on companies to switch to better technologies, including: – Bioplastic, such as poly lactic acid (PLA), which is made by converting sugar to a special form of lactic acid. It is mass produced by such companies as Toyota and NatureWorks, and could replace petroleum in the manufacture of plastics, fibers, clothing, and other materials. – Bio-diesel and bio-ethanol, fuels created by the transesterification of fat or vegetable oil, or the fermentation of corn and other grain products. These can be used as direct substitutes in current gasoline and diesel engines. Shell, Archer Daniels Midland, and World Energy Alternatives are the largest marketers of biofuels today. “These aren’t exotic or expensive technologies,” said Bill Shireman, Future 500 president and CEO. “They can be mass produced at prices competitive with petroleum without the global environmental and security costs of fossil fuels.” SEED endorsers include: Acterra, AIB Consulting, Bill Coors, Eco-Cycle, Eco-IQ, Edgewood Partners, Future 500, Future 500 Japan, Gary Liss and Associates, Global Exchange, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Joseph Rinkevich through Commonwealth Biofuels, Kathryn Blume of Accidental Activist, Mark Moulton of Peninsula Habitat for Humanity, Professor Jin Zhouying, Northeast Biodiesel, Propel Fuels, Rainforest Action Network, Randy Hayes through the Office of Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown, Rory Bakke, Sea Change, and The Next Generation.

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