Meeting Policy Challenges for a Sustainable Bioeconomy

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This publication investigates key aspects surrounding the sustainability of bioeconomy development: the use of biomass as feedstock for future production;  the design and building of biorefineries for the manufacture of a range of fuels, chemicals and materials, and also for electricity generation; and the use of biotechnologies such as synthetic biology, metabolic engineering and gene editing.

Today more than 50 countries have a dedicated bioeconomy strategy or related policies. While the bioeconomy is consistent with sustainability policy (examples are the circular economy, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, green growth, re-industrialisation, rural regeneration, climate change mitigation), synergies must be ensured to avoid over-exploitation of natural resources and conflicting global needs.



Biowaste biorefining

Vast tonnages of organic waste materials are available worldwide, which seems to circumvent concerns about using food crops as feedstocks for biorefining. The idea of using organic waste is consistent with other major policy goals, especially a circular economy, which minimises waste generation and promotes a greater level of recycling in society. Biorefining of such “biowastes” goes further: it takes materials that are effectively worthless and turns them into value-added products. But are these materials really waste? What of municipal waste as a feedstock? Is the completely rural setting the optimum location, or does a coastal-rural location make more sense when agriculture is out-of-season? This chapter explores such questions, as well as the potential for public policy clashes


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