An advisory by Houston¿s Industrial Information Resources predicts that renewable fuels could boost the U.S. economy by $300 billion and create as many as 300,000 new jobs in the synthetic fuel sectors of the economy by 2016.

The build-out of the ethanol industry has already begun, according to IIR. Pending legislation that could ban the use of MTBE in 13 states, the industry is planning to invest in construction and plant expansions in anticipation of market growth.

Biodiesel, a long-time favorite in Europe, also has been getting attention in the U.S. It is a renewable fuel produced from soybean oil and spent yellow grease, and can be used as a substitute for sulfur in petroleum diesel. Only a handful of companies currently produce biodiesel.

The commercialization of gas-to-liquids (GTL) technology continues to take steps forward in making GTL products an economic reality. GTL is an emerging product for super-clean synthetic fuels, and can do much to address the issue of global emissions.

Coal gasification trends continue as well, according to IIR. As petroleum and natural gas supplies decrease, the desirability of producing gas from coal will increase. It is also anticipated that the cost of natural gas will rise, allowing coal gasification to become economically viable. Research is in progress on technologies that should lead to the invention of new processes to accelerate the industrial use of coal gasification.

These conclusions appear in the 2002 Industrial Outlook published by IIR, available at