Not All Chemicals Are Created Equal™

Sincere Thanks to the Department of Energy for Last Week’s Biomass 2013 Forum

August 5th, 2013 | Posted by in Opinion

On behalf of the team at Myriant, I want to extend our appreciation to the Department of Energy (DOE) for its Biomass 2013 event last week in Washington, D.C., and for their invitation to us to tell the Myriant story to-date. It was an excellent, two-day event from start to finish. And, for us, the opportunity to spotlight our growth and development in front of hundreds of diverse stakeholders in the bioenergy supply chain was a tremendous moment capping our recent milestones in the commercialization of bio-based chemicals. The session for which we were chosen to present, entitled Celebrating Successes – The Foundation of An Advanced Bioindustry, was the perfect showcase to highlight the DOE’s remarkable contributions to our organization and to detail the many positive outcomes that have occurred as a result of the Department’s advocacy of our vision.

The session also gave us the opportunity, in front of very influential people at the DOE and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) when it comes to federal policymaking, to note bio-industry funding options currently under consideration or long-discussed as beneficial next-steps in securing the future stability and growth of biomass initiatives. Specifically, our presentation noted the following:

…there’s more we can do and should do and it includes an essential expansion of reliable funding sources for major bio-refinery projects. Some food for thought:

Passage of the Master Limited Partnership (MLP) Act would go a long way in this direction. The ability to apply financing tools like MLPs and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) would speed plant funding and enable the industry to “cast a wider investor net” by allowing public investors to participate in financing bio-refineries.

On the policy side, passage of a Farm Bill, more specifically, the Senate version of the evolving Farm Bill, which recognizes the important ongoing economic and product benefits associated with contemporary bio-refinery projects. Requisite bi-partisan support is needed for a fully funded Farm Bill; one that provides mandatory funding for key energy titles and that also recognizes the importance of renewable chemicals on equal footing with bio-based fuels.

Tax reform and inclusion of monetizable production tax credits will also go a long way to spark investor enthusiasm, durability and commitment.

Overall, the audience heard a story of public-private partnership and also a story of our advances commercializing our technology platform. Our story was one of many now emerging, that renders skeptics somewhat at a loss when it comes to the contemporary reality of bio-based innovations and commercial operations. A famous quote used in my talk captured this, and resonated with an audience filled with hard-working and visionary people doing what so many have so long said could never be done.  The quote comes from British politician Tony Benn. He said, “It’s the same each time with progress. First they ignore you, then they say you’re mad, then dangerous, then there’s a pause and then you can’t find anyone who disagrees with you.”

We always knew it could be done and now it is becoming more and more undeniable among all the rest.

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