Today the cultivation of renewable resources and biomass plants like Miscanthus are focusing on a pre-defined single use. Side products (which occur within the production process) are often considered as dead end products with no further intended use. The same is valid for the product after its primary use (end of life). A sustainable bioeconomy should increase resource efficiency to preserve the natural environment. The challenge in this context is to understand as many as possible side and end-of-life products as ‘new’ feedstock and to include them into a complex cascade utilization of the primary resource (Miscanthus).
Singular feedstock-usage relations should be developed into a complex feedstock-usage network. The primary goal of the suggested White Paper is a feasibility study to show which uses (material, energy) could be combined with each other in a way where the product after its use is considered to be the feedstock of a subsequent (additional) use to come to a cascade utilization based on a single primary resource in the value chain for Miscanthus. This is based on the suitability of the side / after-use product as feedstock for following different uses where the impact of different uses on later uses have to be evaluated. To showcase the general possibility of such a cascade utilization concept and to emphasize the relevance to practice an example for a possible new use-to-use combination of Miscanthus should be tested too.
The study of this new and complex value chain concept relies on the interdisciplinary approach of the BioSC by integrating the complementary competences from core groups in the field of ‘sustainable plant production and resource stewardship’, ‘engineering and processing of renewable resources’. A special emphasis will be given on economic implications which come along with cascade utilization because a successful bioeconomy will be based on the acceptance of new concepts by producers and consumers leading to market opportunities. Thus, this analysis will investigate how the cascade utilization concepts developed in this project can foster the production and sustainable use of biomass plants like Miscanthus.
Source: Bioeconomy Science Center, press release, 2014-10.
Author: Prof. Ralf Pude / Dr. Thorsten Kraska