Fossil fuel is the basis of the chemical, material and energy foundation of the global economy. Fossil fuel feedstocks are used to generate electricity, to produce transportation fuels, and to produce a wide range of consumer goods, such as plastics, healthcare and drug products, and agrichemicals. These reserves are finite and pose additional challenges related to geopolitics and physical accessibility.
Given this context, there has been emerging and important efforts to increase the use of biobased feedstocks for energy, chemicals, and materials production. Using renewable feedstocks from agricultural, forestry and aquatic resources, particularly nonfood, residues, and waste streams from processing these materials, will be essential to developing changing the material and energy basis of our economy and society. However, this must be implemented in a context of competition with food, land and water use, as well as benign and efficient downstream processing for recovery of the full value of the feedstock.