Reaction Lorentz BioPanel Statement

mei 26, 2016 J.J. Heijnen, Delft University of Technology  reacted on the recently published Lorentz BioPanel Statement. “ The statement provides some valuable input in our thinking about the transition to a biobased economy” according to Heijnen. His comments will contribute to a further evaluation of desired paths and linked research agenda’s and are concentrated on three aspects.

The present views and sensitivities around the utilisation of biomass

Present views on the desired and possible role of biomass are for a large part based on visions of decreasing forests and increasing hunger. The statement should put more upfront attention to the validity of these views and their underlying assumptions and also on how ‘wrong’ uses of large scale biomass utilisation can be prevented. Also more attention is needed to the use of waste biomass (by farmers, see below).

The role of CCS and the need to realise a transition period

CCS enables to continue to use fossil and therefore has a very negative connotation;  it is meant in the transition period to decrease CO2-emission, but is not sustainable. The use of biomass growth as a way to store carbon should not be called CCS. In addition to this it is important to realise that in order to reach the sustainable targets in 2030 and 2050 we need to have a transition period in which we use present technologies to reduce Carbon emissions, while we work on improved technologies that can be used later.

The lack of attention for involvement of farmers, including the focus on present infrastructure and lack of research for techniques to be used by farmers and decentralisation of energy

Farmers are an important stakeholder in a biobased economy and their role  is largely lacking in the statement. Moreover the statement focusses on the use of biomass within the present energy infrastructure, while the switch to use biomass (and agricultural wastes) for energy production provides an opportunity to fully decentralise energy production and couple production to consumption in a much more efficient way as well as providing additional rural income options. This also requires attention for research and innovation for small scale feasible bioenergy and feedstock production e.g. convert biogas (electro) catalytically to ethanol.

The Lorentz Biopanel statement can be downloaded here.