Biorefineries to play key role in success of EU bioeconomy in 2030

17 June 2013 17:36  [Source: ICIS news]

MONTREAL, Canada (ICIS)--The European bioeconomy strategy for 2030 faces challenges because it has high ambitions and limited biomass availability, but biorefineries will have a key role in the industry’s success, a French-based trade group said on Monday.

The Star-COLIBRI is a European Commission funded project that aims to overcome fragmentation and promote cross-fertilisation in biorefineries research.

Bioeconomy targets for 2030 include 30% of Europe’s heat and power production to be based on biomass and 25% of Europe’s transportation energy to be covered by biofuels, said Christophe Luguel, head of internal affairs at biobased products cluster Pole Industries & Agro-Ressources France (IAR). The strategy also aims for 30% of the chemicals market to be biobased with a 50% target for high added-value chemicals, Luguel said at the World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology (BIO) conference.

These standards should be met while realising a new generation of biomass and composites.

However, Europe has limited biomass availability as wood system potential and organic waste are basically fixed, Luguel said.

In addition, there is genuinely new potential from dedicated crops and agriculture, but uncertainty is very high.

To overcome these challenges, solutions should include increased productivity sustainability, as well as identification and mobilisation of idled land that is not needed for other ecosystem services, Luguel said.

The solution should reduce priority to energy use of biomass, find ways to use lignocellulosic biomass for high-value purposes and use and reuse biomass as much as possible to produce no waste, he added.

As a result, biorefineries will have a key role to play in 2030 as they provide a wide spectrum of competitive biobased products and a growing competitive edge for Europe by focusing on sustainable products, Luguel said.

Biorefineries development will be based on a growing integration of biobased industrial sectors and will lead to a renewed, competitive and knowledge-intensive rural economy, he added.

The World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology conference runs through Wednesday.

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By: Tracy Dang
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