Future circular bioeconomy values raw materials and uses them comprehensively

(Nanowerk News) The Natural Resources Institute Finland’s (Luke) vision for the resource-smart use of biomasses provides businesses and society with added value opportunities for sustainable primary production, product manufacturing, and service models. Globally depleting natural resources, the COVID pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have increased the need to assess vulnerabilities in our self-sufficiency and develop the use of local renewable raw materials.
Luke’s new vision presents probable and preferable pathways towards the resource-smart use of biomasses in Finland. The vision for the resource-smart processing of local biomasses, i.e. cascade processing, offers an outlook for the green transition, the added value opportunities it presents, and needs for actions.
The key question is: how can we create new business and support regional self-sufficiency with the processing of different types of biomasses in cross-sectoral industrial symbioses?

What does the regionally adaptive circular bioeconomy look like?

According to the vision, the valuation of raw materials continues to increase in the future: all primary and side streams will be used more efficiently to produce more added value. The development of regional biorefineries, industrial symbioses and interlinked technological and energy solutions will diversify the processing of various biomasses.
For example, future biorefineries will flexibly use seasonally changing biomasses, including straw, sawdust, manure or even fish gutting waste as well as biowaste. Research manager Kimmo Rasa illustrates the operations of a biorefinery: “An adaptable biorefinery uses several technologies. Examples of biorefinery products include organic acids obtained from the biogas process, liquefied biomethane, bulk chemicals converted from sugar, crop protection agents and acidity regulators produced from hemicellulose, biochar, and organic fertilisers.”

The vision inspires further discussion

The future rarely conforms to our expectations. However, it is important to consciously build alternative visions of the future, as the process itself tells us about uncertainties and opportunities.
Too often, circular bioeconomy solutions are cast aside because they are not profitable here and now, because they require too many investments, or because the market for new biobased products is still undeveloped. The purpose of the vision-building process is to encourage everyone to consider what the visions would mean in the operations of different companies, in the process of developing different sectors, or in regional development,” says Johanna Kohl, director of Luke’s Circular Bioeconomy research programme.
You can download the PDF here: Cascade vision: Regionally adaptive circular bioeconomy – added value, wellbeing and resource wisdom with cascade processing.
Source: Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) (Note: Content may be edited for style and length)
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