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The global relevance of bio-based industries to engineering and technology education
2006 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition (2006)
  • Kurt A. Rosentrater, United States Department of Agriculture
  • Radha Balamuralikrishma, Northern Illinois University

The society in which we live 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. Bio-based refining and 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 national 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.

  • Biochemicals,
  • Biofuels,
  • Biomass,
  • Bioprocessing,
  • Biopower,
  • Bioproducts,
  • Biorefining,
  • Curriculum Development
Publication Date
June 21, 2006
Works produced by employees of the U.S. Government as part of their official duties are not copyrighted within the U.S. The content of this document is not copyrighted.
Citation Information
Kurt A. Rosentrater and Radha Balamuralikrishma. "The global relevance of bio-based industries to engineering and technology education" 2006 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition (2006)
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