Moving towards the second generation of lignocellulosic biorefineries in the EU: Drivers, challenges, and opportunities

The EU aims to achieve a variety of ambitious climate change mitigation and sustainable development goals by 2030. To deliver on this aim, the European Commission (EC) launched the bioeconomy strategy in 2012. At the heart of this policy is the concept of the sustainable Biorefinery, which is based centrally on a cost-effective conversion of lignocellulosic biomass into bioenergy and bioproducts. The first generation of biorefineries was based on utilization of edible food crops, which raised a “food vs. fuel” debate and questionable sustainability issues. To overcome this, lignocellulosic feedstock options currently being pursued range from non-food crops to agroforestry residues and wastes. Notwithstanding this, advanced biorefining is still an emerging sector, with unanswered questions relating to the choice of feedstocks, cost-effective lignocellulosic pretreatment, and identification of viable end products that will lead to sustainable development of this industry. Therefore, this review aims to provide a critical update on the possible future directions of this sector, with an emphasis on its role in the future European bioeconomy, against a background of global developments.

Highlights

• Biorefining is driven by the global environmental challenges and future bioeconomy.

• Biorefinery value chain include: feedstocks, valorisation, and marketable products.

• Agroforestry residues and processing wastes are now the most potential feedstocks.

• Energy-driven biorefineries are more dominant than product-driven biorefineries.

• Integrated biorefining to produce a wider range of bio-based products is required.

Source and full text: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364032118307937