Bio-based chemistry is one aspect of the biobased economy; an economy in which biomass takes the place of non-renewable resources. This concept becomes more interesting as the economy of non-renewable resources is put under further pressure.
The depletion of oil reserves, climate change and dependency on politically unstable regions are all motives for seeking alternatives.
In a bio-based economy, resources come from nature. This includes plants such as algae and seaweed, as well as slaughterhouse waste and other types of by-product. These types of biomass can be converted into resources for the chemical industry by biorefining.
However, substances produced from biomass are not by definition safe and sustainable. They can have the same dangerous properties as the substances made from non-renewable resources. The use of biomass as a resource also raises questions about food supply: would it not be better to use the limited space available for the production of crops?
RIVM is studying how bio-based chemistry can contribute to a better environment and a healthier population. We are also analysing the socio-economic aspects and the consequences for climate, food supply, energy and water consumption and biodiversity. In addition, RIVM is advising the government on changes to legislation that would make new uses of biobased chemistry possible.
This integral approach allows us to prevent biobased chemistry
from causing problems to the environment, health and sustainability
in the future. This will allow society to make the best possible
use of the benefits of this promising development.