Inclusive biobased innovation: farmers’ involvement
To achieve our climate objectives, we must ensure that many more biobased products become available. Involving farmers in the production of these products is vital.
Farmers and other producers of biomass (e.g. forestry products) should be involved in the value chain for biobased products. After all, they play a major role in the production process. This project focuses on the values, concerns and wishes of biomass producers and uses these to design a sustainable biobased value chain. This type of broad-based design can promote the transition to sustainable use of biomass for products like bioplastics and biofuels.
Biomass and sustainable products
Biomass has been a promising means of meeting our need for energy and materials in a sustainable manner for some time. New applications tend to focus on residual waste from food crops, such as grains, and wood waste. In addition, manure and household green waste can also be used as an alternative raw material for oil. This eliminates competition with food production while giving farmers in both industrialised and developing countries the opportunity to increase their income.
Sustainable biobased products – such as packaging materials, biofuels and specialty chemicals – are becoming increasingly available. However, there are still barriers to bringing these types of products to market on a large scale. One example is how to guarantee a constant supply of biomass that meets all durability requirements but is also not too costly. Studies show that biomass production not intended for food can lead to social development, employment opportunities and improved infrastructure in areas where there is poverty. Farmers and other producers of biomass (such as forestry products) should be involved in the value chain for biobased products. Biomass producers have knowledge about growing, harvesting, collecting and preserving biomass as well as keeping the soil fertile. Their role is important, but it will also change in a sustainable biobased economy (BBE) as they may, in future, also pre-process biomass on location. This adds value and has other storage and transport advantages, making the entire chain more efficient and sustainable.
Research in different countries
In cooperation with farmers and other stakeholders in different countries (USA, Brazil, South Africa and Jamaica), the research team will investigate what changes the BBE entails for existing agricultural practices and what opportunities new agricultural practices will offer. They will focus on new skills and on the responsibilities, values, concerns and wishes of the stakeholders. Societal values such as economic justice and sustainability play an important role in these types of developments. Who bears the costs and who benefits from the transition to a BBE? How do we ensure that biomass producers in developing countries can also benefit optimally from the BBE? Who determines the most sustainable use of biomass? Answering these questions will help to better design the chains.
biobased, farmers, biorefineries, chemicals, biofuels, biomass, bioresources, agriculture, business models, circulair economyOfficial project title: