Bioeconomy execs bullish on 2018, 74% of companies expect revenue growth, 62 percent expect jobs increase; 48% seeking finance

March 13, 2018 |

In Florida, The Digest reports that 72 percent of bioenergy executives are more optimistic about their organization’s prospects for growth and 68 percent about industry growth, than 12 months ago. The findings were among the highlights of the 2018 Bioenergy Business Outlook Survey conducted by the publication.

Respondents also named the EU, US, South East Asia and Canada as the markets most critical to their growth, and said they expected crude oil prices to increase by 6.1%, biodiesel by 3.48%, natural gas by 2.94%, renewable diesel by 2.79%, cellulosic biofuels by 1.43%, and they expect first-gen ethanol prices to be flat for the year.

Demand drivers and new capacity

53 percent said that rising demand for alternatives was the biggest driver of expected growth in 2018, followed by new technology (46%). 67 percent of respondents were working on a project to add capacity by the end of 2020/21, with fuels representing 52 percent of those projects, chemicals 19 percent and biomaterials or other products representing 29 percent.

48 percent of respondents said that their organization would be completing at least one commercial-stage project by 2021.

Industry growth and financing

In money matters, 36 percent reported that they had sought additional finance in the past 12 months, and that 24 percent were successful in the effort. 48 percent said that they would seek additional financing in the next 12 months, 40 percent said that they expected to see more completed IPOs in 2018 than 2017, and 70 percent said they expected more mergers and consolidations in 2018 than last year.

Government support and growth drivers

In commenting on support from their respective national governments, 52 percent rated their governments “highly” or “moderately” supportive of bioenergy (back in the earliest versions of this survey in 2010-12, this figure was as high as 78 percent). 26 percent rated their government’s attitude as moderately to very unsupportive.

Among government policies favored by respondents, “Carbon price legislation” was rated as the was rated as the measure that would create strong opportunities for industry revenue and job growth over the next 12 months, with 53 percent of respondents citing this as the top factor. Increased grants, or incentives (39 percent), more R&D spending (34%) and tax credits (30 percent) were seen as the next most popular potential measures.

Other factors cited by respondents included higher blend standards, better loan guarantee programs, or fuel neutrality measures, more Only 6 percent opted for “Status quo – Everything staying as it is.”

Renewable diesel tops poll as “fastest growing advanced biofuel”; wood, waste feedstocks dominate

Among fuel types, 53 percent predicted that renewable diesel would reach one billion gallons in global capacity by 2021. 47 percent cited aviation biofuels, 41 percent opted for cellulosic ethanol, and 21 percent to renewable gasoline.

Among feedstocks, 41 percent said that they plan to employ woody biomass as a feedstock, while 25 percent opted for MSW, 28 percent for forest residues, 15 percent for corn stover, 12 percent for bagasse, and 31 percent for “other agricultural residues”.

The Bioenergy Business Outlook Survey is conducted by the Digest and its sister publications What’s Nuu in Chemicals & Biomaterials, What’s Nuu in AgTech, and What’s Nuu in Food & Nutrition?

Complete Results

Complete survey results can be seen here, in our Multi-Slide Guide.

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