Future of bio materials topic of Moorhead conferenceby Dan Gunderson, Minnesota Public Radio
Moorhead, Minn. — Business leaders, researchers and investors are meeting Wednesday in Moorhead to talk about the future of bio materials in the region.
Bio materials include plastics and chemicals made from plants instead of petroleum.
Tim Welle, a project manager with the Minnesota Bio Business Alliance of Minnesota, said about 50 Minnesota companies are in the biomaterials business, and the industry is growing by 20 percent a year.
"We're going to keep on seeing investments made in the bio chemical, bio processing industry," Welle said. "I would say in the next four or five years is when you're really going to start seeing announcements for large scale demonstration and large scale biochemical manufacturing facilities."
Welle said Minnesota and surrounding states have a good chance of attracting bio industry because the region is rich in natural resources like farm crops and timber.
"There's definitely opportunities if the materials companies land in Minnesota the entire supply chain can be in this region," Welle said.
He said keys to future growth will be investment, research and public demand for renewable materials.