The future circular bioeconomy values ​​raw materials and uses them in a comprehensive manner

April 21, 2023

(Nanowerk News) The Finnish Institute of Natural Resources’ (Luke) vision for the intelligent use of biomass from resources provides businesses and society with value-added opportunities for sustainable primary production, product manufacturing, and service models. Globally depleting natural resources, the COVID pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine have increased the need to assess the vulnerabilities in our self-sufficiency and develop the use of local renewable raw materials.

Luke’s new vision presents a possibility and a preferred path towards the smart use of biomass resources in Finland. The vision for resource-smart processing from local biomass, namely cascade processing, offers insights into the green transition, the value-added opportunities it presents, and the need for action.

The key question is: how can we create new businesses and support regional self-sufficiency by processing various types of biomass in a cross-sectoral industrial symbiosis?

What does a regional adaptive circular bioeconomy look like?

As per the vision, the valuation of raw materials will continue to increase in the future: all main and side streams will be used more efficiently to generate more added value. The development of regional biorefineries, industrial symbiosis and interrelated technology and energy solutions will diversify the processing of various biomass.

For example, future biorefineries will flexibly use seasonally changing biomass, including straw, sawdust, manure or even fish gut waste as well as bio waste. Research manager Kimmo Rasa illustrates the operation of a biorefinery: “A biorefinery that can adapt to multiple technologies. Examples of biorefinery products include organic acids obtained from the biogas process, liquid biomethane, bulk chemicals converted from sugars, crop protection agents and acidity regulators produced from hemicellulose, biochar, and organic fertilizers.”

The vision inspires further discussion

The future rarely lives up to our expectations. However, it is important to consciously construct alternative visions of the future, because the process itself informs us of uncertainty and opportunity.

Too often, circular bioeconomy solutions are sidelined because they are not profitable in the here and now, because they require too much investment, or because the market for new bio-based products is underdeveloped. The goal of the vision building process is to encourage everyone to consider what the vision means in different company operations, in different sector development processes, or in regional development,” said Johanna Kohl, director of research at Luke’s Circular Bioeconomics. program.

You can download the PDF here: Cascade vision: Regional adaptive circular bioeconomy – added value, well-being and resource wisdom with cascade processing.

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