The bio-based economy uses renewable resources for industrial purposes. This emerging economy relies on the use of organic material (e.g. plants, waste) as renewable raw material for the production of new or existing products. Currently, the bio-based economy is mostly known due to its contributions in paper and cardboard production, furniture, energy and bulk chemicals market. These include fuels (ethanol, biodiesel), electricity (e.g. burning of biomass, biogas) and heat (eg wood pellets), or plastics (eg PLA, PE or starch-based) and are currently produced on a commercial scale. However, other lower volume markets connected with the bio-based economy include detergents, materials, fragrances, enzymes, cosmetics, food/feed ingredients, non-bulk chemicals, pharma and are generally less developed. A sustainable EU biobased economy reconciles food security (food/feed economy) with the sustainable use of renewable resources for industrial purposes (bio-based economy). This principle leads to new challenges and hurdles to be tackled, but also new opportunities. More emphasis is put on agri-residues, food waste, waste oils or any organic waste and on crops that can grow on marginal land as sustainable source of biomass to produce bulk bio-based products as these do not compete with food production or do not induce land change. The new EU energy directive is an example of this as it states that biofuel produced from second generation biomass counts double towards the 10% threshold of biofuel in transport fuel. A sustainable bio-based economy however contributes also to a circular economy as it turns organic waste into a useful resource allowing to build new end-of-life options into material supply chains. In addition, a sustainable bio-based economy takes into account circularity at the designing stage of products.
While the current fossil economy benefits from over a century of technical development and optimal refinery the bio-based economy is only just starting to realise its full potential and optimal biorefinery. Therefore, Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (PPP between EC and the Bio-based industries Consortium) agreed on allocating € 3.7 billion (€ 975 million from the EC) to the bio-based economy from 2014-2024 with an important focus on funding demo and flagship projects realizing new production facilities along 5 general new value chains including integrated biorefineries, use of forest, agro and food residues and lignocellulose.
“Flanders biobased Valley has all the assets to help build this biobased economy”
Flanders Biobased Valley is one of the founding fathers of the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant, a flexible and diversified pilot plant capable of scaling up and optimising a broad variety of biobased processes up to 15 m³ scale, a critical step in the innovation chain.
FBBV has a strong industrial base consisting of major biobased companies.
FBBV has excellent perspectives for further growth as the Port of Ghent, the number one bioport in Europe, has reserved 80 ha of industrial sites at the Kluizendok for biobased demos, flagships and production sites.
All this makes Flanders Biobased Valley a leading European initiative for the development of the biobased economy of the future.