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Biorefinery systems - potential contributors to sustainable innovation

Wellisch, Maria
Jungmeier, Gerfried
Karbowski, Adrian
Rogulska, Magdalena
Published in Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining. 2010, vol. 4, no. 3, p. 275-286
Abstract Sustainable biorefineries have a critical role to play in our common future. The need to provide more goods using renewable resources, combined with advances in science and technology, has provided a receptive environment for biorefi nery systems development. Biorefi neries offer the promise of using fewer non-renewable resources, reducing CO2 emissions, creating new employment, and spurring innovation using clean and effi cient technologies. Lessons are being learned from the establishment of fi rst-generation biofuel operations. The factors that are key to answering the question of biorefi nery sustainability include: the type of feedstock, the conversion technologies and their respective conversion and energy effi ciencies, the types of products (including coproducts) that are manufactured, and what products are substituted by the bioproducts. The BIOPOL review of eight existing biorefi neries indicates that new effi cient biorefi neries can revitalize existing industries and promote regional development, especially in the R&D area. Establishment can be facilitated if existing facilities are used, if there is at least one product which is immediately marketable, and if supportive policies are in place. Economic, environmental, and social dimensions need to be evaluated in an integrated sustainability assessment. Sustainability principles, criteria, and indicators are emerging for bioenergy, biofuels, and bioproducts. Practical assessment methodologies, including data systems, are critical for both sustainable design and to assure consumers, investors, and governments that they are doing the ‘right thing’ by purchasing a certain bioproduct. If designed using lifecycle thinking, biorefi neries can be profi table, socially responsible, and produce goods with less environmental impact than conventional products … and potentially even be restorative!
Keywords BiorefineriesEnvironmental impactsInnovationSustainability assessmentSustainable development
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WELLISCH, Maria et al. Biorefinery systems - potential contributors to sustainable innovation. In: Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining, 2010, vol. 4, n° 3, p. 275-286.

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Deposited on : 2014-12-09

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