October 28, 2022


How long before alternative fuels become the
new normal?

Fossil fuel byproducts are everywhere, from the shoes on our feet to the planes in the sky. Transitioning away from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy made possible by synthetic biology, like biofuels, would transform the U.S. energy sector and have a widespread impact for a more sustainable future. INFER's latest questions in our Synthetic Biology topic help monitor the growth and prioritization of alternative fuels by governments and corporations. See the forecast trends below and tell us what you think: 
+ Popular shoe company announces synbio partnership. On Running, a Swiss running shoe company, has partnered with synbio company Lanzatech to create CleanCloud, a foam for running shoes made from recycled carbon emissions. The commercial use of synbio in innovative ways is a crucial measure to understand the adoption of alternative fuels.
How much will On Running earn in net sales from shoes in Q4 2022? 
INFER predicts a 47% chance it will earn 300 million-350 million Swiss Francs (CHF) in Q4.
What do you think?
+ Tax incentives for alternative fuels. As both the need and demand for alternative fuels continue to increase, U.S. state and federal governments are providing tax incentives to encourage alternative fuel use. An upward trend in tax incentives helps to signal the nation's prioritization of alternative fuels. 
On 31 May 2023, how many total tax incentives will be listed in the Alternative Fuels Data Center?
INFER predicts a 49% chance that 112-116 tax incentives will be listed by that time. 
What do you think?
+ An airline's pursuit of sustainable aviation. Sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) are biofuels with similar properties to conventional jet fuel used to power aircraft. In March 2022, United Airlines Ventures and Oxy Low Carbon Ventures announced a collaboration with Cemvita Factory to commercialize synthetic biology-produced SAF. If this is achieved, it will be a significant indicator of the commercialization of synbio.
Will United Airlines announce that they are using sustainable aviation fuel by Cemvita Factory by 31 Dec 2023?
INFER predicts a 63% chance that this announcement will occur by the end of next year. 
What do you think?


New quarterly reports just released 

INFER has published three new quarterly reports on each of our major topic areas: synthetic biology, microelectronics, and the global race on artificial intelligence. These reports summarize forecast trends from July, August, and September. They are created for government stakeholders and available to our forecasting community on INFER's Reports Archive



Last few days to qualify as a Trendcaster

Forecast on at least 5 synbio questions before Oct. 31 to earn your SynBio Trendcaster  badge and be entered into a reward drawing. Three badge winners will be selected for the $250 drawing.

+ Need some inspiration?
Try forecasting on the alternative fuel questions above to get started... as well as this one and this one


On draft at The Pub

+ Bias Control: Confirmation Bias
In our first blog series on cognitive biases, we dive into confirmation bias: what is it, and how can we avoid it in our forecasts?
+ EA Tournament Retrospective
What did EA university students learn during INFER's first tournament? We asked the winning team, many of whom were first-time forecasters!
See more blog posts


Future news headlines
(predicted by INFER as of 10/27/22)

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Thank you for reading!
The INFER Team
Copyright © 2022
INFER is a forecasting program run by the Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS) at the University of Maryland and Cultivate Labs. Funding is provided by Open Philanthropy
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