Chapter 2 - Development perspectives for the bio-based economy

Abstract

Because of the growing world population and the increase of our prosperity, we overstep more and more the boundaries of what our globe can cope with. Therefore, the biobased economy can contribute best if developments integrate people, planet, and profit at the same time. Biorefineries that split primary crop and/or residues into different fractions can offer highest economic value combined with high volume contributions to the environment and people. Large market volumes/high economic value combinations can be found for three groups of products: protein for animal feed, chemicals, and materials. Other components that are recovered from such biorefineries can be used for the production of energy or recycled back to the agricultural fields as nutrients for the soil. Biorefineries can be designed for large-scale and for small-scale operation in case one succeeds to become less dependent on major capital investments. In those cases, the rate of innovation can be increased as economic risk for “first-of-a-kind” processes is reduced. Design rules have been drafted. Following these rules show how the biobased economy can develop in a sustainable way. Several concrete examples of how to best benefit from the properties of biomass are given.

Keywords

Biorefinery
Boundaries
Capital cost
Chemicals Nitrogen
Planetary Food