BCT-51306 Biobased Economy


The global reserves of fossil resources like oil, coal and natural gas are diminishing, and the use of these resources results in emission of green house gasses. Alternatives are needed. Several alternatives are possible to replace the use of fossil resources for energy; like wind, solar and nuclear power. There is however only one alternative to replace fossil resources in the production of chemicals and fuels: biomass.
There are several critical steps that have to be taken to realize an economy based on biomass:
- biomass is already used for the production of food and feed, and this should not be impeded by the new applications. So sufficient quantity and quality of biomass has to be available;
- technology has to be developed to refine biomass into its separate components (cellulose, hemicellulose, starch, protein, fats, lignin) and to convert these components into chemicals by means of chemical, biochemical and microbial methods;
- strategies have to be developed to connect the biobased products with the existing markets and the product portfolio has to be optimized to maximize added value;
- the transition from oil to biomass will require changes in logistics;
- the whole chain from biomass to product should be sustainable: it should not negatively interfere with food production, soil fertility, biodiversity, etc.;
- methods have to be developed to determine this sustainability.
This course covers the basics of these developments and forms as such the basis of the minors 'Biobased Technology' and 'Biobased Transition'.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- describe in detail the concept of bio refinery, the economy of scale in bio refineries, its implications for various energy- and chemical-related industries, as well as its socio economic impact;
- explain the relations between location, crops and products of bio refineries;
- explain the relation between economy and the chemical composition and the productivity of the biomass in a bio based economy;
- describe how and why a bioased economy can be developed and what technical, social and political barriers should be overcome;
- describe the hurdles that are still to be taken before bio refineries will be abound;
- identify bottlenecks in chemical and biotechnological synthesis routes towards platform chemicals and give logical suggestions to improve them.


- lectures;
- PGO and excursion.


- open questions written examination;
- case studies.


Provided at beginning of course.