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Copyright © NNFCC 2022
The transition to a biobased chemical industry
Adrian Higson
ChemUK
11th May 2022
Copyright © NNFCC 2022
A specialist business consultancy with over 18
years of bioeconomy experience
Providing clients with a strategic view of feedstock, technology, policy and
market development across the bioeconomy.
Enabling informed business decisions and sustainable business strategies.
Copyright © NNFCC 2022
The need for transition
Nearly half of all packaging
is fossil derived.
Over two thirds of textiles
are fossil derived.
Petrochemicals increasingly
responsible for the growth
in oil consumption.
Copyright © NNFCC 2022
Toe in the water
Copyright © NNFCC 2022
Hesitancy
How to measure
environmental
impacts
Unintended
consequences
Copyright © NNFCC 2022
Five steps
Be efficient (do things
right)
Minimise land use
Be Effective (do the right thing)
Go Circular
Reduce consumption
The current economy
Reduce biomass demand.
Change the discussion on the
scope of the biobased economy.
“Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things,”
Peter Drucker
Copyright © NNFCC 2022
Reduce consumption
Reducing consumption means changing consumer attitudes
and societal norms.
A shift in business activities from the sale of goods to the
sale of services.
For materials this means designing products for durability
and longevity of use.
For agriculture and the food chain it means reducing
avoidable waste at all points in the value chain.
Products
as
Services
WRAP
Copyright © NNFCC 2022
Go circular
The circular economy aims to design out the negative impacts of
economic activity by keeping materials in use.
Design is the key element of the circular economy.
Product reuse and closed loop mechanical recycling, represent low
energy and resource efficient cycling of materials.
Additionally chemical recycling and recovering CO2 from energy
from waste plants keeps valuable carbon resource in the economy.
Copyright © NNFCC 2022
Effective biomass use
Energy needs should be supplied by technologies with no
combustion emissions.
Other sectors are harder to decarbonise, but it is possible,
green hydrogen for the aviation sector, and green
ammonia as a fuel for maritime shipping.
Organic chemicals and derived materials (including
plastics) cannot be decarbonised, only defossilised.
Airbus
Copyright © NNFCC 2022
Reducing land demand
Current low volumes of biobased production, means little
impact on global land use.
Arable crops offer, the most competitive economics for
biobased production and a mature supply chain.
However there is the potential for the industry to adopt
widely available lignocellulosic biomass.
Atmospheric carbon dioxide is another non-fossil feedstock
for chemical and material production.
Copyright © NNFCC 2022
Efficient use
Ecosystem services and natural capital must be at
the heart of climate-smart biomass supply.
The continued development of biorefineries is
required to ensure that all parts of the biomass
feedstock are optimally used.
Building out from traditional biomass using sectors
gives the best opportunity to efficiently use
biomass for new applications without disturbing
existing and important markets such as food and
construction.
DuPont Tate & Lyle
Loudon, Tennessee Manufacturing Plant
Copyright © NNFCC 2022
Storing unusable carbon
There is the potential to capture and store CO2,
after energy recovery from end-of-life products.
Fermentation based manufacturing offers a clean
source of CO2 suitable for CCS.
This provides an opportunity to reduce net
greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and the
potential for negative emissions from the use of
biobased products.
EBRI
Aston University
Copyright © NNFCC 2022
Summary
The carbon-based chemical and materials sectors cannot
be decarbonised.
However it is possible to defossilise them through the
move to the use of renewable carbon.
This transition has been inhibited due to a paralysis of
political action resulting primarily from concerns over
biomass availability and land use impacts. Can’t see the wood for the trees
Copyright © NNFCC 2022
Conclusion
A broader vision is required in the debate around biomass availability, land use and
feedstock demand.
Changes in consumption patterns, alongside the push to increase the circularity of the
economy, can dramatically change the perspective on biomass demand and therefore
supply.
This creates a vision of the future and gives a new context for the potential and realisation of
biobased economy opportunities.
Copyright © NNFCC 2022
Full article available at
www.nnfcc.co.uk
Copyright © NNFCC 2022
Thank you for listening
‘While the use of biomass to produce fuel, chemicals &
materials isn't necessarily sustainable, the use of fossil
fuels is unquestionably unsustainable.’
a.higson@nnfcc.co.uk
@biobasedchem

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Five steps to a sustainable biobased product economy - Adrian Higson.pdf

  • 1. Copyright © NNFCC 2022 The transition to a biobased chemical industry Adrian Higson ChemUK 11th May 2022
  • 2. Copyright © NNFCC 2022 A specialist business consultancy with over 18 years of bioeconomy experience Providing clients with a strategic view of feedstock, technology, policy and market development across the bioeconomy. Enabling informed business decisions and sustainable business strategies.
  • 3. Copyright © NNFCC 2022 The need for transition Nearly half of all packaging is fossil derived. Over two thirds of textiles are fossil derived. Petrochemicals increasingly responsible for the growth in oil consumption.
  • 4. Copyright © NNFCC 2022 Toe in the water
  • 5. Copyright © NNFCC 2022 Hesitancy How to measure environmental impacts Unintended consequences
  • 6. Copyright © NNFCC 2022 Five steps Be efficient (do things right) Minimise land use Be Effective (do the right thing) Go Circular Reduce consumption The current economy Reduce biomass demand. Change the discussion on the scope of the biobased economy. “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things,” Peter Drucker
  • 7. Copyright © NNFCC 2022 Reduce consumption Reducing consumption means changing consumer attitudes and societal norms. A shift in business activities from the sale of goods to the sale of services. For materials this means designing products for durability and longevity of use. For agriculture and the food chain it means reducing avoidable waste at all points in the value chain. Products as Services WRAP
  • 8. Copyright © NNFCC 2022 Go circular The circular economy aims to design out the negative impacts of economic activity by keeping materials in use. Design is the key element of the circular economy. Product reuse and closed loop mechanical recycling, represent low energy and resource efficient cycling of materials. Additionally chemical recycling and recovering CO2 from energy from waste plants keeps valuable carbon resource in the economy.
  • 9. Copyright © NNFCC 2022 Effective biomass use Energy needs should be supplied by technologies with no combustion emissions. Other sectors are harder to decarbonise, but it is possible, green hydrogen for the aviation sector, and green ammonia as a fuel for maritime shipping. Organic chemicals and derived materials (including plastics) cannot be decarbonised, only defossilised. Airbus
  • 10. Copyright © NNFCC 2022 Reducing land demand Current low volumes of biobased production, means little impact on global land use. Arable crops offer, the most competitive economics for biobased production and a mature supply chain. However there is the potential for the industry to adopt widely available lignocellulosic biomass. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is another non-fossil feedstock for chemical and material production.
  • 11. Copyright © NNFCC 2022 Efficient use Ecosystem services and natural capital must be at the heart of climate-smart biomass supply. The continued development of biorefineries is required to ensure that all parts of the biomass feedstock are optimally used. Building out from traditional biomass using sectors gives the best opportunity to efficiently use biomass for new applications without disturbing existing and important markets such as food and construction. DuPont Tate & Lyle Loudon, Tennessee Manufacturing Plant
  • 12. Copyright © NNFCC 2022 Storing unusable carbon There is the potential to capture and store CO2, after energy recovery from end-of-life products. Fermentation based manufacturing offers a clean source of CO2 suitable for CCS. This provides an opportunity to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and the potential for negative emissions from the use of biobased products. EBRI Aston University
  • 13. Copyright © NNFCC 2022 Summary The carbon-based chemical and materials sectors cannot be decarbonised. However it is possible to defossilise them through the move to the use of renewable carbon. This transition has been inhibited due to a paralysis of political action resulting primarily from concerns over biomass availability and land use impacts. Can’t see the wood for the trees
  • 14. Copyright © NNFCC 2022 Conclusion A broader vision is required in the debate around biomass availability, land use and feedstock demand. Changes in consumption patterns, alongside the push to increase the circularity of the economy, can dramatically change the perspective on biomass demand and therefore supply. This creates a vision of the future and gives a new context for the potential and realisation of biobased economy opportunities.
  • 15. Copyright © NNFCC 2022 Full article available at www.nnfcc.co.uk
  • 16. Copyright © NNFCC 2022 Thank you for listening ‘While the use of biomass to produce fuel, chemicals & materials isn't necessarily sustainable, the use of fossil fuels is unquestionably unsustainable.’ a.higson@nnfcc.co.uk @biobasedchem