Development perspectives of the biobased economy: a review

Apr 2010

This paper provides an outline of the biobased economy, its perspectives for agriculture and, more particularly, for development purposes.
Possibilities of development of biobased products, advanced biofuels, and viable and efficient biorefinery concepts are explored. The paper lists non-fuel bioproducts (e.g., chemicals, pharmaceuticals, biopolymers) and presents basic principles and development options for biorefineries that can be used to generate them alongside biofuels, power, and by-products.
One of the main challenges is to capture more value from existing crops without compromising the needs and possibilities of small-scale, less endowed farmers. Biobased products offer the most development perspectives, combining large market volumes with medium to high price levels. Consequently, the most can be expected from products like fine chemicals, lubricants, and solvents. In addition, biosolar cells can help to relax pressures on biomass production systems while decentralized production chains can serve local needs for energy, materials, and nutrients as their requirement for viable economic development are linked to larger markets.
Research challenges include development of such production and market chains, and of biosolar cells and selection of model crops that offer perspectives for less favoured producers and underdeveloped rural areas.

By: J. W. A. Langeveld, J. Dixon, J. F. Jaworski

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