Potential Future Scenarios of Michigan's Bioeconomy


November 30, 2010 - MSU Product Center Food • Ag • Bio and Shepherd Advisors

Future Scenarios for Michigan’s Bioeconomy: Planning your Strategic Responses is the third in the series of white paper reports prepared by the MSU Product Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources on the “Status of Michigan’s Bioeconomy: Progress &  Evolving Potential.” This white paper presents the findings and analysis of an extensive  scenario planning1 effort done by the Product Center and Shepherd Advisors that examines characteristics of distinct scenarios for Michigan’s bioeconomy future. The purpose of the paper is to paint a vivid story about a possible future state of the world that is both believable and plausible (though not necessarily probable). The scenarios provide a range of potential outcomes that arise from different resolutions of key uncertainties in the bioeconomy market. The analysis also describes approaches that decision‐makers (public and private) could use to develop strategies that allow them to respond to and operate in each of the given scenarios. The analysis is not intended to suggest a particular scenario that is ideal or is more or less likely, but to present the range of possibilities to help decision‐makers target desired outcomes – and prepare appropriately for all of them.

To further facilitate the construction and evaluation of the potential scenarios, the Product Center and Shepherd refined an existing Shepherd/Product Center biofuel model for Michigan to reflect some of the relevant material aspects of the potential scenarios, and provide insights about how Michigan’s future bioeconomy may compare with those of neighboring Great Lakes states. (For information about the current bioeconomy in these states, please see white paper 2: Michigan’s Position in the U.S. Biofuel and Bioenergy Market.)

More specifically, the expanded bioeconomy model and the potential scenarios describe (1) factors that shape various scenarios, (2) present a range of future bioeconomy inputs and products that are more likely under different scenarios, and (3) identify cross‐cutting and unique strategies for increasing opportunities for Michigan to more fully realize its bioeconomy potential.

For the purposes of this report series, the Product Center defines the bioeconomy as “any commercial or industrial effort that is based on the conversion of growing, renewable biomaterials into products that replace petrochemical or fossil fuel‐based products.”


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