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  • SWOT analysis and biomass competition analysis

    for SUPRABIO biorefineries

    Funding

    EU - FP 7 Grant agreement no. 241640-2

    Editor

    IUS Institute for Environmental Studies Weibel & Ness GmbH

    Heidelberg ∙ Potsdam ∙ Kandel

  • Project leader:

    Walter Kretschmer, Dipl.-Biol.

    Authors:

    Walter Kretschmer, Dipl.-Biol.

    Silke Bischoff, Dipl.-Biol.

    Gunnar Hanebeck, Dipl.-Biol.

    Hartmut Müller-Falkenhahn, Dipl.-Ing., Landscape Architect, BDLA

    June 2014

    Pictures

    straw: © Vorderstraße / wikimedia.org rape: © Petra Schmidt / pixelio.de SRC poplar: © Nasenbär / wikimedia.org

    IUS Weibel & Ness GmbH Landscape architects · Ecologists · Environmental auditors

    Bergheimer Str. 53-57 · 69115 Heidelberg Tel.: (+49 62 21) 1 38 30-0 · Fax: (+49 62 21) 1 38 30-29

    E-Mail: kretschmer@weibel-ness.de

  • iv

    Acknowledgements

    The authors would like to thank all SUPRABIO partners for the provision of basic data

    and information on their processes, for their fruitful discussions, collaborations and co-

    operation, which form the basis of this report. Special thanks go to Maria Müller-

    Lindenlauf, Nils Rettenmaier, Christine Cornelius and Mathias Lederle from IFEU for

    their tireless support regarding the preparation of this manuscript.

    This work was supported by the European Commission through the FP7 project “Sus-

    tainable products from economic processing of biomass in highly integrated biorefiner-

    ies” (“SUPRABIO”, GA no. 241640).

  • Table of contents SWOT and biomass competition analyses

    v

    Table of contents

    Publishable summary .................................................................................................. vi

    1 Introduction ........................................................................................................... 2

    2 SWOT analysis ...................................................................................................... 2

    2.1 Methodology .................................................................................................... 3

    2.2 SWOT analysis on feedstock provision .......................................................... 11

    2.3 SWOT analysis on feedstock conversion and use ......................................... 20

    2.4 Conclusions and recommendations ............................................................... 27

    3 Biomass potential and competition ................................................................... 29

    3.1 Biomass potentials ........................................................................................ 32

    3.2 Biomass competition...................................................................................... 50

    3.3 Conclusions and recommendations ............................................................... 58

    4 Annex: SWOT matrices ....................................................................................... 60

    4.1 Feedstock provision ....................................................................................... 60

    4.2 Biochemical route .......................................................................................... 63

    4.3 Thermochemical route ................................................................................... 65

    4.4 Add-on technologies ...................................................................................... 67

    5 References ........................................................................................................... 69

    6 Abbreviations ...................................................................................................... 73

    Keywords: SWOT, sustainability, biochemical biorefinery, thermochemical biorefinery

  • SWOT and biomass competition analyses Publishable summary

    vi

    Publishable summary

    The SUPRABIO project researches, develops and demonstrates a toolkit of novel gener-

    ic processes that can be applied to a range of biorefinery concepts. The project concen-

    trates on critical unit operations that are at present limited by their economic feasibility

    and on currently the most economic feedstocks such as lignocellulose from sustainable

    forestry or agricultural residues. SUPRABIO focuses also on the process optimisation of

    material and waste flows within the biorefinery, water management and process energy

    requirements.

    Since the success of such innovative biorefinery concepts might be limited e.g. by eco-

    nomic, environmental, social or ethical constraints, an analysis on strengths, weak-

    nesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) was performed for all investigated SU-

    PRABIO pathways to identify possible bottlenecks but also concepts that are particularly

    worth pursuing. The considered pathways basically include the biochemical as well as

    the thermochemical processing of lignocellulose into fuels. In addition, several advanced

    technology options (e.g. lignocellulose to mixed acids) as well as “add-ons” (e.g. hydro-

    genation of seed oils) that can be attached to the biorefinery were assessed. The SWOT

    analysis in this report was conducted on feedstock provision (lignocellulose feedstock

    and seed oils) and feedstock conversion and use (biochemical and thermochemical

    pathways as well as add-ons). In general, the results of the SWOT analysis are limited

    due to knowledge gaps especially regarding the advanced technology options and the

    add-on technologies. However, it was clearly shown that immaturity itself is a main threat

    since there is always the risk of a failure in development. In particular, success of SU-

    PRABIO concepts in the area of feedstock provision is definitely dependent on whether a

    sustainable feedstock provision can be guaranteed. For feedstock conversion and use

    the success of SUPRABIO concepts is especially tied to the further development of im-

    mature technologies such as the SScF (simultaneous saccharification and co-fermen-

    tation) technology that enables an uncomplicated usage of this technology also at indus-

    trial scale.

    In addition, the sustainable biomass potential and the competition between different

    uses of the same type of biomass were investigated in this report in order to depict the

    numbers of biorefineries that could be fed in specific regions. For the analysis of biomass

    potentials within SUPRABIO and its degree of competition, a literature review was con-

    ducted, which considered the output relevant studies in this area. The analysis of bio-

    mass potential studies has shown that the availability of land and biomass is limited, i.e.

    that various land and biomass uses are competing with each other. It could be shown

    that the European biomass potential is significantly lower than the energy demand in the

    EU. Europe will therefore be dependent on the import of biomass, especially from tropi-

    cal countries. This immediately raises questions in terms of security of supply and sus-

    tainability. Furthermore, competition about biomass or land use between bio-based ma-

    terials, chemicals, fuels and energy, as well as foodstuffs, fodder and nature conserva-

    tion will increase. New technologies such as 2nd generation biorefineries will further en-

    hance the demand for biomass. Thus, it is recommended that national and European

  • Publishable summary SWOT and biomass competition analyses

    vii

    biomass allocation and land use plans should be compiled in a participatory manner to

    reduce competition and guarantee a sustainable provision. Furthermore, regional plan-

    ning should then also be based on this premise. In addition, binding area- and cultiva-

    tion-specific sustainability criteria should be uniformly defined as preventive measures

    for all types of applications (e.g. bio-based materials, feed, food, etc.).

  • SWOT and biomass competition analyses Introduction

    2

    1 Introduction

    SUPRABIO is a collaborative research project funded by the European Commission,

    through the project no 241640. The project researches, develops and demonstrates a

    toolkit of novel generic processes that can be applied to a range of biorefinery concepts.

    The project concentrates on critical unit operations that are at present limited by their

    economic feasibility and on currently the most economic feedstocks such as lignocellu-

    lose from sustainable forestry or agricultural residues. SUPRABIO focuses on the pro-

    cess optimisation of material and waste flows within the biorefinery, water management

    and process energy requirements. The aim is to couple optimum economic benefit to op-

    timum usage of biogenic carbon and minimal greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

    The project is split into nine work packages (WPs). The work packages mainly focus on

    different research areas within the SUPRABIO project regarding feedstock provision and

    conversion. WP 7 provides a multi-criteria evaluation of the sustainability of the entire

    value chain of SUPRABIO c