Biomass can be used to produce chemicals, products, and fuel. When biomass is used in safe and renewable ways, it presents a possible solution within the circular economy. RIVMRijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu supports the emergence of bio-based commodities by providing knowledge and advice.
High-risk substances can sometimes be replaced by substances derived from plant or animal residues. An example: there are bio-based alternatives that can replace the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in thermal paper. This special heat-sensitive paper is used in till receipts, for instance. There are also bio-based alternatives that offer a lot of potential for replacing a number of controversial polar aprotic solvents.
It is important to assess the environmental impact of new bio-based chemicals at an early stage. RIVM has mapped out which methods can be used for that purpose, and generated an overview of a range of impact assessment methods.
As bio-technology continues to develop, we see the emergence of new opportunities for a bio-based economy. For example, rapid advances in biotech are creating options for using genetically modified microalgae to produce biofuels, chemicals, medicines, plastics, and food products.
Biotech involves intervention in an organism’s DNAdeoxyribonucleic acid, adding or removing specific properties or features.