Dr Mairi Black
The sustainable biorefinery will only be realised with a focus on optimal combinations of feedstock-process technologies-products. For many years, industry has been looking to add value to the by-products of commercial agriculture, forestry and processing. More recently, as concerns about climate change have increased around the globe, the use of biomass as a carbon saving feedstock (compared to fossil feedstock) has led to the implementation of policies to encourage its use for bioenergy, biofuels and bio-based products. As biomass conversion technologies become reality at the commercial scale for a range of diverse end products, the need to establish bespoke biomass supply chains also becomes a reality and industrial developers will face many business-critical decisions on the sourcing of biomass and location of conversion plants (biorefineries). The research presented here, aims to address these issues through the development of a comprehensive database to aid biomass sourcing and conversion decision-making. The database covers origin, logistics, technical suitability (in this case for a proprietary organosolv pre-treatment process) and policy and other risk attributes of the system. The development of key criteria required by the business community to develop biomass supply chains for specific requirements is discussed.