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miércoles, 20 de septiembre de 2017

BIOPLAT and SusChem-España present the Handbook on Biorefineries in Spain

It is time for the bioeconomy to raise in Spain through the deployment of biorefineries. The country has the necessary resources and it is well placed. This is the basic message that was repeated in different ways by several speakers during the official presentation of the Handbook on Biorefineries in Spain (only in Spanish) that was held on September 18th in the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness. The Spanish Biomass Technology Platform (BIOPLAT) and the Spanish Technology platform for. Sustainable Chemistry (SusChem-España) have elaborated this handbook with the purpose of providing knowledge about the sector and identifying the strategic advantages of leveraging the potential of the biorefineries in Spain.

Figure 1. A part of the Handbook front cover

The event had two blocks. In the first one, several experts analyzed the opportunities at national level in the biorefining field (additional information in Spanish is available on this post of the BIOPLAT blog). In the second one, some practice cases were exposed: Natac (high-value extracts from agrofood biomass), Algaenergy (integral valorization of microalgal biomass), WALEVA (pilot plant for the production of levulinic acid from rice straw), ainia (from a biogas plant towards a biorefinery) and Biopolis (fully recyclable packaging from sugars).

Returning to the Handbook, it is an easily readable document divided into the points that are described here below. It starts by addressing basic concepts about biorefineries and analyzing qualitatively and quantitatively the feedstocks available in Spain. Then, the valorization processes to transform the aforementioned feedstocks are defined and the types of biorefineries that could be developed in Spain are described. After this technical part, the environmental, socioeconomic and political areas involved in the deployment of the biorefineries in Spain are addressed. Subsequently, the strategic position to develop the sector in Spain and the advantages that it could bring to the country are analyzed. Finally, a non-exhaustive list of initiatives related to the field of the biorefineries in Spain concludes the text.

To sum up, the development of the biorefineries provides a unique occasion for Spain to grow in a competitive and sustainable way. Citing the words of Jesús Torrecilla (Head of technological and environmental assets at Tecnalia Ventures) during the event, bioeconomy is a megatrend and, as such, will create a plenty of business opportunities. Will we seize them? Will we be able to build demo plats when we are far from market? And to skip to commercial scale? Huge challenges remain. From the Blog, I will be supporting and giving visibility to all the emerging initiatives.

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