A new legislation designed to grow Illinois’ bioeconomy


The bioeconomy in Illinois takes a step forward. A new legislation designed to grow Illinois’ bio-based economy has been introduced: Senate Bill 1656 provides incentives to Illinois businesses to produce and sell new renewable products made from biomass and other renewable sources. The legislation builds upon Illinois’ strong agricultural base and seeks to provide new products and markets derived from grain commodities and their by-products. Universities and private companies are investing in a race with other states in research and development to introduce these products to the marketplace.

“Illinois is strategically positioned to lead in the development of these new renewable products. We have leading biotechnology companies, large and small, that are leading research and development efforts on these innovative products and we have critical mass in infrastructure to produce and transport these renewables around the world,” said Senator Andy Manar.

The legislation complements Senator Chapin Rose’s leadership last year in securing a $26 million research investment in the University of Illinois’ Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory to work with the industrial biotechnology sector to accelerate growth of this rapidly emerging biotechnology sector.

“This legislation is all about the jobs that will be created in this potential $20 billion new industry,” State Senator Chapin Rose said. “Central Illinois is perfectly suited with the production and shipping capacity in Decatur on one side, the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Lab (IBRL) in Urbana on the other side, and the best corn and beans in the world in between to be the center of this new industry. The potential for jobs is here, and we have something no one else has to offer. This bill will help us capitalize on this and bring these jobs to Central Illinois.”

Industrial Biotechnology is enabling the production of a new generation of renewable chemicals, biobased materials and bioplastics produced from biomass. These can serve as a replacement or supplement to traditional fossil fuel-based chemicals and products. The emergence of this technology represents a historic opportunity to reverse job losses in the chemicals and plastics sectors, increase energy security, replace fossil fuel-derived chemicals, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, maintain U.S. leadership in clean energy and chemistry, and build domestic renewable chemicals and biobased production facilities.

“We applaud the leadership of Senator Manar and Senator Rose to introduce this legislation to advance the innovative agricultural biotech sector in Illinois. These new bio-based products offer great potential to the Illinois economy across the entire State. We need to lead now by leveraging our tremendous assets or forever be playing catch-up,” said Warren Ribley, President and CEO of iBIO, the Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization.

The new measure provides a state tax credit to Illinois companies that produce and sell new manufactured products made from manufactured bio-based molecules of biomass feedstocks. These products represent the next generation of advanced biofuels and include renewable chemicals and food additives. Iowa and Minnesota have already established these state incentives and legislation is pending in Congress to establish a similar credit at the federal level.


by Henry McWolf


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