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The sustainable character of the biobased economy tends not to receive enough attention. Biomass is always more sustainable than fossil raw materials, isn’t it? Often that is so, but not all the time. Whatever the case may be, research is needed so that an objective comparison can be made in different domains.
Editorial office / Maastricht

‘Biomass is under the magnifying glass,’ according to Yvonne van der Meer, associate professor of Biobased Materials at Maastricht University. ‘Often no questions are asked about the provenance of fossil raw materials. Does the oil come from Nigeria or is it offshore? With biomass it is a totally different story. Is there competition with food? What are the effects on soil health or biodiversity? We can complain about this, but that does not get us anywhere. We must be able to prove whether biomass is actually the most sustainable solution for a particular application.’ The latter is far from being a bonus, according to Van der Meer. ‘Sustainability is an important unique selling point. If biobased products score lower on that point than fossil products, this advantage is lost. That is certainly the case with drop-ins. It is a different story for biobased propositions with product properties which perform better.’

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