Biorefinery – refining the environment

RISE Research Institutes of Sweden and IIASA, Lulea University of Technology (LTU) have revealed in their research that by increasing the number of refineries which produce biological fuels and chemicals can improve the availability and reduce the cost of wood products and feedstocks. Such refineries can replace confident fossil-based counterparts. Biorefineries can produce biomass in vast quantities and increase their accessibility to such a level that the price falls. IIASA researcher Sylvain Leduc an a team in Sweden is working towards developing such an ecosystem. A large number of such refineries will lead to a bio-based economic system as well. 

Such an ecosystem created by implanting biorefineries on a large scale will eventually play a significant role in sustainable development and develop an energy system that works without polluting the nature. Formas, the Swedish research council, and the IIASA National Member Organization (NMO) representing Sweden have funded this research by understanding the need of protecting the blue planet. Sweden has introduced this system and is looking forward to the growth it will attain. 

With an increased demand for biomass or fuel to be particular, a need to use the resources more efficiently will also generate. Fringe-stocks or other biomass products could be then introduced into the fuel mix. The waste products of the forest like woodchips, sawdust, etc. will be useful for these biorefineries. 

As the production and consumption will increase, alternatives for solving technical problems or limitations will be needed. This green waste is through the cheapest and least polluting element that can be used to fulfill the energy needs, but there would be problems in implementing them straight. The cost of transportation of this raw material is negligible, but as per the target, if the biorefineries are established, an increase in the price of this raw material is possible. However, industries that run on a huge-scale might not be affected regarding profitability.

The model developed for biorefineries by Leduc and the team at IISA is called the Global Biosphere Management Model (GLOBIOM). IISA and LTU developed another model called the Spatial Price Determination Model (SpPDM) for the same. The first model is as per the wood demand in various sectors of industries, while the latter one is for biomass demand.

The results of the research are as impressive as the possibilities of implementing such models and developing large-scale bio-industry are immense. The robustness of the models and the estimated output will prove to be a game changer.