Minnesota corn and soybean farmers were given a glimpse of future value-added opportunities at the Minnesota Ag Expo this week.
AURI and the Minnesota Corn and Soybean Associations sought to identify products and technologies associated with the bio-based economy that are likely to boost economic opportunities for corn and soybeans in the United States and Minnesota in particular. Conducted by Informa Economics of Memphis, Tennessee, the report specifies eight products or technologies for each commodity that have the greatest potential to add value over the next ten years.
Informa Vice President Scott Richman highlighted opportunities that appear promising because of their market potential, economic feasibility, stage of development and strength of institutional support. Informa spent months conducting research and interviews from dozens of the nation’s top resources to identify the top opportunities.
For corn, Richman says their research determined that anaerobic digestion at ethanol plants, biobutanol, biochemical production of cellulosic ethanol, ethanol distillation and zein extraction were among the top opportunities. For soybeans, renewable diesel, enzymatic transesterification for biodiesel, soy polyols, adhesives and specialty varieties of soybeans present potential.
Due to the size of the markets involved, Richman says applications in transportation fuels and chemicals account for a substantial share of the top products and technologies. Large chemical companies, biofuel engineers and technology providers, ag processors, seed biotech companies and government agencies are main players in determining how those future opportunities emerge. Significant market development can occur over the next decade, but the pace is dependent upon economic recovery, research and development spending and whether oil prices remain high or increase further.
A full copy of the report on the opportunities for corn and soybeans is available on the AURI website at www.auri.org.