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Biorefinery for raw material availability and flexibility

The key issues that need to be addressed for a successful transition from a fossil resource-based society towards a sustainable, biomass-based society are the availability of sufficient raw materials and the flexibility that can be realised in their sourcing and application. The strategic innovation programme “Biorefinery for raw material availability and flexibility” has been established to tackle important future challenges.

Projections show that the problem of food insecurity will escalate due to increasing food demand (up to 70% more by 2050) on the one hand and climate change combined with a decrease in the availability of energy and water on the other. In addition, the emerging bio-economy will lay an increasing claim on the available biomass for non-food applications like chemicals, materials and energy.

Technologies and research lines

The programme is founded on the ambition to integrate the technology and value chain to:

  • Guarantee the sustainable supply of raw materials and their flexible application to realise food security
  • Supply biomass-derived raw materials in sufficient quality and quantity to enable the sustainable development of other sectors of the bio-economy (chemistry, materials, energy)

With respect to the availability of raw materials the programme focuses on technology development to:

  • Make better use of existing resources, with a special focus on carbohydrate and protein-rich side streams
  • Enable the use of raw materials for higher-value applications, e.g. proteins from feed to food
  • Explore new sources for the sustainable supply of raw materials for food and non-food applications

With respect to raw material flexibility, two research lines will be explored:

  • Exploration of the boundaries between food and non-food applications
  • Development of application-dedicated food and non-food ingredients with specifications related to their functional (including nutritional) properties, rather than specifications that focus on safety and purity alone.

The approach of the co-production of food and non-food intermediates/final products is visualised in the figure below, showing the value chain integration with respect to availability, quality, sustainability and logistics.


Strategic innovation programmes TNO and Wageningen UR

Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research (FBR) and TNO aim to cluster their knowledge and expertise in food, nutrition and biobased research in the near future. This creates added value for market players... Read more
See also

Dr. Maurits Burgering


Dr. Maurits Burgering


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