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ARS Home » Plains Area » Brookings, South Dakota » Integrated Cropping Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #212345

Title: The growing importance of emerging bio-based industries to engineering and technology

Author
item Rosentrater, Kurt
item BALAMURALIKRISHNA, RADHA

Submitted to: International Journal of Applied Management and Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2007
Publication Date: 7/9/2007
Citation: Rosentrater, K.A., Balamuralikrishna, R. 2007. The growing importance of emerging bio-based industries to engineering and technology. International Journal of Applied Management and Technology. 5(2):167-184.

Interpretive Summary: A growing demand for energy and material goods helps fuel our growing society. These needs have historically been met with fossil fuels and other non-renewable materials. As environmental concerns grow, renewable resources are gaining increased attention. This paper examines the growing role that bio-based industries are beginning to play. A manufacturing plant that processes biological products, similar in concept to a traditional refinery or factory, utilizes conversion technologies to produce various products. These operations are increasing both in number as well as in types of products produced, and are poised to add significantly to the nation’s energy and material supplies in coming years. Therefore, to adequately prepare engineering and technology graduates for the opportunities presented by these new industries, it is vital to provide an understanding of this developing industrial segment and its foundational concepts. Toward this end, this paper discusses several germane topics, including supply and demand of chemicals, fuels, and manufactured products; production data, trends, and growth potential for bio-based industries; similarities between traditional refining and manufacturing industries to bio-based industries; required tools and skill sets, including quality, management, and business productivity tools; relevance to engineering and technology education; and curriculum modification and incorporation techniques. The ideas discussed in this paper are critical for engineering and technology educators, because in coming years these industries will be increasingly used to simultaneously meet the needs of our society as well as that of the environment.

Technical Abstract: Our society has developed an insatiable demand for energy and material goods. In particular, recent data reveals that the aggressive pursuit of improved standards of living in the highly populated countries of India and China has contributed to increased demand for fossil fuels, which has exacerbated the recent spike in energy costs. Historically, these needs have been met primarily by fossil fuels and other non-renewable raw materials. As environmental concerns grow, however, renewable resources are gaining increased attention. This paper examines the emergence and importance that bio-based industries are increasingly beginning to play. A bio-based enterprise, similar in concept to a traditional refinery or factory, utilizes conversion technologies to produce various products. These manufacturing operations are rapidly increasing both in number as well as in capacity throughout this country, and are poised to add significantly to the nation’s energy and material supplies in coming years. Therefore, to adequately prepare engineering and technology graduates for the opportunities presented by bio-based industries, it is vital for these graduates to understand this developing industrial segment and its fundamental concepts. Toward this end, this paper will discuss several essential topics, including production and consumption information for chemicals, fuels, and manufactured products; production data, trends, and growth potential for bio-based industries; similarities between traditional refining and manufacturing industries to bio-based industries; tools essential for success, including quality improvement, management, and business productivity tools; relevance to engineering and technology education; and curriculum modification and incorporation techniques that can be used to achieve these efforts. The trends discussed here and their implications are critical for educators, because in coming years these industries will be used to simultaneously meet the needs of our society as well as that of environmental stewardship.