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A worldwide sustainable concept

A sustainable concept

Concerning biorefining, 1st generation processes reveal that simply using plant material is not enough to reach sustainability. Nevertheless, it is widely held that biorefining can positively affect aspects including ecology (e.g. biomass exportation), land allocation, food supply, greenhouse gas emissions (e.g. for transport etc) and social trends (e.g. rural dynamics) (van Dam et al., 2008). However, it is now obvious that in order to validate the benefits of any given biorefinery concept and, ultimately, to provide a basis for the development of incentive policies, it is essential to apply strict and sufficiently overarching sustainability criteria to evaluate processes.

 

What will be achieved by BIOCOREconcerning sustainable development?

In BIOCORE, a thorough sustainability assessment using state of the art analytic tools will be applied in order to provide a multicriteria evaluation of the sustainability of the entire value chain.

BIOCORE will :

  • Analyse environmental, economic, social and legal implications as well as strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis using a variety of methods for the different tasks. The different aspects of the BIOCORE tech­nology will be defined and evaluated and, where appropriate, compared to reference systems.

 

  • Identify the most sustainable biorefining pathways among the biorefinery systems compared to all reference systems including such for food, fibres and fuels by the an final inte­grated assessment. This is done by a screening using different variants and sensitivity analyses that will also reveal potential ways towards optimization. 

 

BIOCORE will provide a full appreciation of the impacts of the biorefining concept. The project will also highlight how BIOCORE technology could affect current industrial performance and how BIOCORE compares to other biorefining concepts.

 

Notably, BIOCORE will carefully analyze at a regional level the various scenarios and impacts of biomass supply to a biorefinery. Equally, BIOCORE will integrate necessary specific technological and economical data, as well as multi-parameter environmental, social and legal aspects. This integrated assessment will generate descriptions and conclusive assessments of sustainability of all the basic and optimized biorefining systems.

 

The biomass management plan: a key parameter for sustainability and optimization at a worldwide scale

Optimization of biomass production is valid at all levels, from national level to the biorefinery unit scale. However, in biomass supply chains, various spatial and temporal parameters are important. Therefore, when establishing a biomass management plan, it is critical to assess all of the factors that will characterize the supply chain. These will include availability and yields of default crops, the potential for other crops (e.g. Shot Rotation Coppice), the sustainability of the system, not only in terms of continuous and secure supply, but also in terms of environmental and social impacts that can have longer-term consequences on the system. Finally, it is necessary to establish a clear appraisal of supply chain economics and to integrate these with all of the aforementioned factors.

 

What will be achieved by BIOCORE?

BIOCORE will critically analyze global and regional (Europe, India) availability of lignocellulosic biomass, define their efficient production and harvesting practices, and optimize supply chain systems to ensure the delivery of the desired lignocellulosic feedstocks (straws, forestry residues and Short Rotation Coppice wood) from the field/forest to the processors in a economically and environmentally sustainable way.

 

BIOCORE will indicate how the BIOCORE concept can be deployed in different European and world regions.

Through close cooperation with an internationally-renowned Indian R&D operator (TERI), the sustainable integration of the biorefinery value chain will be demonstrated. In particular, the adaptation of the BIOCORE concept to Indian feedstock resources will be considered and appropriate attention will be given to the social and environmental consequences of the development of regional-based biorefineries within the Indian context. This will ensure that advanced BIOCORE biorefineries can contribute to improved living standards in different global contexts, including the Southern hemisphere. BIOCORE will provide supplementary data that will complete results obtained in other EU framework projects that focus on biorefining in Latin America, in which BIOCORE partners also take part.

BIOCORE will also provide a full description of how a sustainable mixed biomass feedstock can be supplied to advanced lignocellulosic biorefineries, using agricultural and forestry residues and Shot Rotation Coppice wood. Additionally, BIOCORE will provide indications of how a sourcing plan for a scaled up, mature industry may be optimised.