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.
The programme is founded on the ambition to integrate the technology and value chain to:
With respect to the availability of raw materials the programme focuses on technology development to:
With respect to raw material flexibility, two research lines will be explored:
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.