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Innovation Review: Unique Feedstock Alternatives to Fossil Fuels

Payal Ahuja – Jun 19, 2020

Unique Feedstock Alternatives to Fossil Fuels The depletion of fossil feedstock reserves, in addition to increasing CO2 emission impact on the environment, has necessitated a search for alternative feedstocks long back.

The research and development projects continue to evolve with an aim to:

  • Reduce petroleum consumption
  • Improve the environment, and
  • Avoid competition with food crops.

Feedstocks from alternative sources, such as agricultural, urban, or industrial wastes, marine, algae & seaweed, etc. are explored and used for raw materials production.

We all know that bio-based raw materials production has already undergone historic changes moving from traditional crops like corn and sugarcane (first generation) to non-food resources. These are cellulose found in the waste of the wood and paper industry (second generation), or unused organic elements of spinach, coffee or cauliflower with bacteria, algae or yeast strains (third generation).


However, production process of bio-based raw materials and bioplastics through fermentation of cellulose-based (second generation) and other (third generation) feedstock still calls for improvement to be able to obtain higher yields and fewer byproducts. With further biotechnological breakthroughs and following lower production costs, ultimately, bio-based raw materials and polymers are likely to reach the same performance level vs. petrochemical-based counterparts.

There are already several interesting solutions that are being explored or even exist in the market derived from alternative renewable resources.

Let us quote some of them as examples.


Waste Products (Food, Urban…) as a Valuable Resource


#1. WaysTUP! Project – Biowaste into Bioproducts


The EU-funded WaysTUP! project aims to establish new value chains by utilizing urban biowaste to produce high-value products. The project will showcase a portfolio of new ‘urban biowaste to biobased products' processes starting from different feedstocks, such as:

  • Fish and meat waste
  • Spent coffee grounds
  • Household source separated biowaste, used cooking oils
  • Cellulosic waste derived from municipal wastewater and waste treatment plants and sewage sludge

These processes will result in several bioproducts, including biosolvents and bioplastics.

WaysTUP! Project
WaysTUP! Project Duration: September 2019 – February 2023

 »  Continue reading to learn more about the more innovations for producing bio-based materials to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels, thus obtaining sustainable and circular bioeconomy.

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