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Governments should proactively develop policies to support and accelerate the advancement of a circular bio-economy and strengthen research in this area.
Editorial office / London

An international group of scientists states this in a recent article in the journal Frontiers in Energy Research. The group presents a framework for a circular bioeconomy that uses biomass not only for food or feed, but also for the production of valuable chemicals and biofuels.

The biomass used can be agricultural waste, for example. In a rural society, this is still often simply burnt, leading to air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and the loss of soil organic matter. Moreover, this poses health risks.

Zero-waste process

By adding value to biomass, such problems can be avoided. The researchers discuss an example in which coconut juice residue is upgraded to high-grade raw materials, such as bacterial cellulose from which bio-cellulose acetate membranes can be made. These membranes, in turn, can be used to remove CO2 from biogas produced by the anaerobic digestion of bio-waste, ultimately producing renewable biomethane. The captured CO2 can be reused for e.g. syngas production, chemical separation and microalgae cultivation.

Ultimately, such a total concept can result in a zero-waste process. To put this into practice, however, a number of barriers still need to be overcome, such as developing efficient resource strategies and sustainable green technologies, as well as promoting societal participation. The researchers conclude that this would be rewarding, as it would produce valuable products and reduce waste, greenhouse gas emissions and damage to ecosystems.

Read the full article at Frontiers in Energy Research.

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