Over 20 student delegates together with their faculty mentors and leadership team members attended the Consortium for Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership (CABLE) Spring Conference hosted by North Carolina State University from November 7-10, 2019. The conference was dedicated to presentations by CABLE student delegates detailing their research, findings, and recommendations on important topics facing industry leaders in the bioeconomy.
Ryan Schlobohm, Oklahoma State University’s student delegate, together with Savolia Spottswood (West Virginia University), Kaitlin Brätt (North Carolina State University), and Wesley Reznicek (University of Missouri) presented “Sustainable Development Recommendations for Biobased Companies in the Presence of Unpredictable Oil Prices”.
“My working group described how biobased companies can compete and better position themselves with low oil prices,” Schlobohm said.
Schlobohm’s cohort presented case analyses of BioAmber’s biobased succinic acid, DuPont’s biobased propanediol (PDO), Anellotech’s biobased polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and GlycosBio’s biobased production of glycerol.
“In order for the biobased companies to successfully compete with low oil prices, our recommendations were to avoid heavy investment in initial infrastructure, diversify product offerings/uses, offer proven and disruptive technology to entice investment, maintain cash reserves, have flexible business plan, identify uses for waste products (create value from waste streams), develop strong market dynamics, and support business development,” Schlobohm added.
Mr. Schlobohm also met industry executives and leaders in the bioeconomy and attended panels as well as networking events during the conference. Other highlights of the conference included leadership training, tour of the Novozymes facility at Franklinton, NC, and biorefinery design challenge.