The valorization of a wide variety of biomass
Contrary to other biorefinery concepts, BIOCORE will develop valorization pathways for three types of lignocellulosic feedstocks:
- wheat and rice straws,
- deciduous forestry residues
- Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) wood
These feedstocks have been selected for several reasons:
- Wheat and rice straw, which are representative of Gramineae (or grasses), are widespread and abundant biomass resources.
- According to current data, approximately 5.1 gigatons of agricultural residues are produced globally. The total amount of residues from roundwood production and processing is 500 million tons. In some cases, using agricultural residues for biorefining purposes will actually avoid wasteful and environmentally damaging practices such as open-field burning. In India, it is estimated that the total annual production of rice straw is approximately 97 million tons. Accounting for traditional uses, 22 million tons are still available for biorefining (Gadde et al, 2009).
- Regarding energy crops, such as short rotation coppice (SRC), a recent IEA report has estimated that in 2050 up to 1000 EJ/year could be produced, which represents approximately 66 gigatons of biomass. In the IEA report, this biomass will be produced on surplus or marginal lands. Interestingly, SRC woody crops can be grown on polluted lands that are unfit for food production. In this way, biomass production can be coupled to a bioremediation approach.