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Perspectives on feeding a hungry bioeconomy

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Perspectives on feeding a hungry bioeconomy

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At the Inventu Bioplastic Innovation Forum on 4-5th November 2021, NNFCC's Director and Lead Consultant on Biobased Products, Dr Adrian Higson, gave a presentation titled 'Perspectives on feeding a hungry bioeconomy'.

In this presentation, an outlook on using biomass as a feedstock for bioenergy, biofuels and biobased materials is given.

Sustainable biomass can play a significant role in meeting long-term climate targets, if used effectively.

At the Inventu Bioplastic Innovation Forum on 4-5th November 2021, NNFCC's Director and Lead Consultant on Biobased Products, Dr Adrian Higson, gave a presentation titled 'Perspectives on feeding a hungry bioeconomy'.

In this presentation, an outlook on using biomass as a feedstock for bioenergy, biofuels and biobased materials is given.

Sustainable biomass can play a significant role in meeting long-term climate targets, if used effectively.

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Perspectives on feeding a hungry bioeconomy

  1. 1. Copyright © NNFCC 2021 Perspectives on feeding a hungry bioeconomy Adrian Higson Bioplastics Innovation Forum 4-5 November 2021
  2. 2. Copyright © NNFCC 2021 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. 3. Copyright © NNFCC 2021 Feeding a hungry economy We live in an economy addicted to fossil fuel. This addiction is damaging and slowly killing the planet. How can we switch to a healthier diet?
  4. 4. Copyright © NNFCC 2021 What’s healthy?
  5. 5. Copyright © NNFCC 2021 Priorities and circumstance Source: Adapted from van Dam and Junginger (2011) “Carbon management policies: Global practices in sustainability indicators and assessment”, an OECD Workshop Proceedings https://www.nnfcc.co.uk/news-oecd-workshop-proceedings
  6. 6. Copyright © NNFCC 2021 Climate change urgency
  7. 7. Copyright © NNFCC 2021 A net zero economy ‘The UK should set and vigorously pursue an ambitious target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) to 'net-zero' by 2050, ending the UK's contribution to global warming within 30 years.’ Priorities Focus on zero emission renewable technologies. Low carbon solutions for hard to decarbonise sectors. Elimination of emissions through carbon capture and storage. Improve biodegradable waste management Increase biomass stocks
  8. 8. Copyright © NNFCC 2021 A diet of biomass Findings: Sustainably harvested biomass can play a significant role in meeting long-term climate targets, provided it is prioritised for the most valuable end-uses. Managing biomass stocks is an important component of global climate mitigation strategies. Source: Climate Change Committee “Biomass in a low carbon economy” https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/biomass-in-a-low-carbon-economy/
  9. 9. Copyright © NNFCC 2021 Biomass - the flexible food Physical characteristics limit technical processability Geography and logistics limit economic viability
  10. 10. Copyright © NNFCC 2021 A varied diet of biomass Cereal and Oil Crops Energy Crops Forestry Residues
  11. 11. Copyright © NNFCC 2021 So much more than feedstock Sustainability is regional and personal. Policy restrains demand and places sustainability criteria to avoid damage to regulating and supporting services. Regulating – climate, air quality, water, soil Supporting – Habitats, diversity Cultural – Recreation, tourism, spiritual needs Provisioning – food, water, materials How to find a balance between demand for provisioning and cultural services. And furthermore between provisioning services?
  12. 12. Copyright © NNFCC 2021 Population, consumption and land
  13. 13. Copyright © NNFCC 2021 Preference/Perceptions on feedstock sustainability Food versus Fuel and indirect land use change dominate views on the use of food crops. Residues Forestry Food Crops Wastes Forest products avoid food issues but still invoke questions on land use change, biodiversity and carbon debt. Forest and agricultural residues are generally accepted as sustainable within extraction limits. Wastes are considered preferred raw materials by policy makers although have definition and unintended consequences issues.
  14. 14. Copyright © NNFCC 2021 Feeding chemicals and material production Reduce consumption Circular business models Process and material efficiency Alternative materials Metals and glass both have functional and energy issues Sustainable carbon sources Recycled carbon Direct Air Capture Biomass
  15. 15. Copyright © NNFCC 2021 An industry take on the carbon diet Source: Unilever “Carbon management policies: Global practices in sustainability indicators and assessment”, an OECD Workshop Proceedings https://www.nnfcc.co.uk/news-oecd-workshop-proceedings
  16. 16. Copyright © NNFCC 2021 Familiar dishes Direct blending of renewable naphtha into cracker feeds allows bio-attributed production of 1000’s of chemical derivatives. The use of natural gas grid allows mass balanced production of bio-attributed chemicals through the introduction of biomethane.
  17. 17. Copyright © NNFCC 2021 Ethanol Value Chain Globally, the only large scale BECCS project is based on the production of bioethanol. Source: E4tech & LCAworks Better routes?
  18. 18. Copyright © NNFCC 2021 Value beyond carbon Energy Environ. Sci., 2021, 14, 4358-4376 Macromolecular Bioscience 7(2):105-17 Taking advantage of product value and process stoichiometry to oxygenated intermediates. Targets for biotech based production.
  19. 19. Copyright © NNFCC 2021 Effective use of biomass Deploy biorefinery principles ensuring the optimum use of all components of biomass. Best practice in process design for efficient material conversions. Follow cascading principles of material use followed by energy recovery with carbon capture, utilisation and finally storage Co-development of product and systems and infrastructure to enable circular use. https://www.bbnet-nibb.co.uk/ @BBNet_NIBB
  20. 20. Copyright © NNFCC 2021 Sequestering carbon in the economy Circular economy and BECCS
  21. 21. Copyright © NNFCC 2021 A gas based diet Source: Lanzatech “Carbon management policies: Global practices in sustainability indicators and assessment”, an OECD Workshop Proceedings https://www.nnfcc.co.uk/news-oecd-workshop-proceedings https://carbonrecycling.net/ @CRecycle_Net Production based on methane, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. (Prof Papoutsakis, U of Delaware).
  22. 22. Copyright © NNFCC 2021 Biomass utilisation Conflicts Land management for food, leisure, biodiversity, and environment. Biomass demand for transport fuel out competes other demands. Ethanol to Jet versus ethanol to chemicals. LPG as a cracker feed versus off-gas heating. Biomass use to achieve negative carbon emissions (BECCS) prevents development in other sectors. Synergies Sustainable demand supports regenerative agriculture and forestry. Renewable and recycled carbon. Production of LPG/naphtha with aviation fuel and diesel. Drop-in solutions for current petrochemical (naphtha, methane). CO2 processing with green hydrogen development.
  23. 23. Copyright © NNFCC 2021 Some concluding thoughts The use of biomass is currently the only way to turn off the fossil fuel tap. However excessive consumption will damage sustainability efforts. Careful policy management is required to guide biomass to where it’s most needed. What constitutes a valuable use of biomass is still a matter of debate! Finally, biobased products are a functional form of biomass, and through cascading use, eventually a feedstock for BECCS.
  24. 24. Copyright © NNFCC 2021 Thank You for listening While the use of biomass to produce fuel, chemicals & material isn't necessarily sustainable, the use of fossil fuels is unquestionably unsustainable. a.higson@nnfcc.co.uk @biobasedchem

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