Emerging Industry: Renewable Chemicals by Spencer Stensrude
Working in the venture capital industry has opened my eyes to a completely new perspective. We are consistently exposed to entrepreneurs that are deeply passionate about creating something from nothing, or introducing an improved solution to the market. One of the highlights is seeing new and emerging technology being developed daily.
An exciting category to keep an eye on is the renewable chemical industry. We are starting to see more companies develop replacements for synthetic industrial chemicals with chemicals extracted from natural feedstocks. Iowa’s Department of Economic Development is watching this trend, as well. The department is attempting to offer incentives to make Iowa the center of the renewable chemical industry, much like it did with the ethanol industry. The department’s website states, “Production of such biochemicals is perhaps the fastest growing segment of the bioscience industry and represents opportunities for development of a high-density industry cluster such as Silicon Valley.”
Renewable chemicals are being pushed forward by consumer demand, and increased scientific understanding of molecular biology. Leading the charge is the shift toward economic and environmental sustainability. In many cases, technology is allowing the renewable replacement to be produced at a lower cost than the existing chemical. Many of these new products are biodegradable and produced from inexpensive feedstocks such as corn, soybeans, or biomass.
Ag Ventures Alliance will continue to investigate opportunities at the forefront of this quickly growing industry.