Biorefinery: Where Do We Come from, Where We Are, Where Are We Going?


  • Lorenzo Bertin Department of Civil, Chemical, Environmental and Materials Engineering University


Biorefinery has been defined as the sustainable conversion
of biomass towards a spectrum of biobased products
for different industrial fields, among which the food
and feed, chemical, and energetic sectors. This concept
was assessed at the beginning of the century and it was
initially related to biofuels production through processing
of dedicated biomass, i.e., sugar or oleaginous crops specifically
cultivated for bioethanol and biodiesel production,
respectively. Despite the consequent development
of strategies for culture intensification, biofuel costs have
not been competitive when compared with fossil-based
counterparts. Low energy product values have contributed
to this evidence; furthermore, with respect to conventional
refinery fed with fossil sources, biofuel production
needs to face up to higher costs associated with related
raw materials, due to the facts that they are typically
seasonal, widely distributed in larger territories, complex
and variable in composition.