U.S. Department of Agriculture Develops ‘Bio-Oil’ from Agricultural Wastes


Published Date : Jan 25, 2016

Rapidly increasing demand for food and limited availability of non-renewable natural resources has boosted the growth of the global biotechnology market. Favourable regulatory scenario has further augmented the market growth. However, the ethical issues related to clinical trials, coupled with long research and development lead time might restrain the growth of the market. The global biotechnology market has a huge opportunity to grow with the emergence of biosimilars and growing application of biotechnology in medical sciences. Cloning, stem cell technology, and nanotechnology are expected to define the future outlook of the market.

The global biotechnology market is broadly categorized into biopharmacy, bioagriculture, bioindustrial, and bioservices. In 2011, the biopharmaceuticals segment dominated the market owing to increase in government funding, widespread technological advancements, and availability of cheap labour in developing economies. Growing demand for food in developing countries is expected to boost the market. Bioseeds offer greater benefits compared to conventional seeds and hence, will register exponential growth during the forecast period. This will propel the growth of the bioagriculture segment. 

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have developed a process to produce ‘bio-oil’¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬- a crude fluid from agricultural wastes. Crude bio-oil is produced through pyrolysis. The process refers to chemical decomposition of plants and other organic matter at a very high temperature. The technique, termed as "tail-gas reactive pyrolysis," better known as TGRP, has the potential to improve the bio-oil and transform it into finished biofuels. The raw biomass material contains non-food-grade plant matter collected from agricultural or household wastes such as wood, switchgrass, and animal manures. Using these materials, bio-oils are produced at an accelerated rate with the help of a new high-output mobile processing unit.  TGRP is a crucial step towards achieving the ultimate goal of producing cleaner bio-oils.