Renewable Matter # 2 / Numero #2

The War for Biomass

by Mario Bonaccorso


After the wars for coal and oil, in the not too distant future, wars for biomasses are also to be expected. Such provocation – but is it really so? – was expressed last November in Düsseldorf by Heiner Grussenmeyer, director for R&D at Stora Enso – the Finnish/Swedish world giant pulp and paper manufacturer – speaking at Cluster Clib2021 International Conference. 

Oil prices volatility and limited fossil resources are pushing the chemical industry’s giants – but not exclusively – towards the use of alternative raw materials: food crops, agricultural waste and refuse. The key word is sustainability: not only economical but also environmental. Biomass is a renewable, albeit scarce resource, unevenly distributed in our planet. However, when it comes to food crops, its use for the industry clashes with the ever-increasing world food demand. This is why the European Union has virtually stopped the development of the so-called first-generation biofuels, those derived from the use of agriculture raw materials such as wheat and corn.

Nevertheless, are agricultural waste and refuse able to feed the whole bioeconomy? The global situation we are faced with at the moment is very complicated: on the one hand, the demand for biomass is on the rise not just for bioenergies but for the so-called biomaterials and biochemicals, on the other, there are countries offering great amounts of biomass to...

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