A nonprofit partnership that includes Cargill and 3M wants the state of Minnesota to invest half the money toward a $200 million biomanufacturing campus that would develop ways to use feedstocks such as corn, soy and sugar beets to make alternatives to petroleum-based products.
The group, called BioMADE, would pitch in $100 million and is asking the state of Minnesota for $100 million in matching funds.
Sen. Aric Putnam, DFL-St. Cloud and chair of the Senate's Agriculture, Broadband and Rural Development Committee, introduced on Monday a bill seeking support for the state appropriation. The bill calls it a "pilot innovation facility."
The hope is for Minnesota to become a leader in the emerging industry.
Biomanufacturing can produce a range of products including cement, chemicals, alternative proteins, skin care ingredients, nylon and materials used in consumer goods like tote bags or food packaging.
Douglas Friedman, CEO of Minneapolis-based BioMADE, said the U.S. currently does not have the infrastructure to support biomanufacturing.
"Companies have to do most of this work overseas," Friedman said.
No site has been identified for the project. BioMADE is looking for a space of 300 to 1,000 acres that would be located within 90 minutes of the Twin Cities. Goals include attracting other manufacturers to the campus.
Friedman estimated it could take two years to build.
BioMADE, or the Bioindustrial Manufacturing and Design Ecosystem, got its start in 2020 with a seven-year, $87.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense.
Under a budget approved in December, the DOD can allocate up to another $300 million to BioMADE. That will be the source of money for the Minnesota biomanufacturing facility.
The group also hopes to benefit from the National Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative. President Joe Biden launched the effort in September with a commitment of more than $2 billion. Friedman went to the White House for a summit on the initiative.
Minnetonka-based Cargill was involved in the development of BioMADE. Maplewood-based 3M also joined the partnership.
"Their mission and vision aligns with 3M's R&D investments in sustainable materials and solutions," 3M said in a statement.
BioMADE now has 187 members across 31 states. BioMADE is one of 16 Manufacturing Innovation Institutes that are part of Manufacturing USA, a network of public-private partnerships to increase domestic manufacturing competitiveness.
Friedman said that biomanufacturing will create a new market for agriculture.
"We view this really as an opportunity for farmers to have alternative customers for their products," said Friedman.
The biomanufacturing campus will not be making pharmaceutical or health care products. Friedman said the biomedical industry already has its own infrastructure.