From waste to construction | Agroforestry residues for the development of bio-based materials



Waste and other residues from agriculture and forestry are increasingly seen as a useful source for the production of clean sustainable and affordable high-value fuels or chemicals. To realise the full potential of cellulose-based non-edible biomass and agricultural waste as a low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels it’s crucial to assess their prevalence. Supported by the EU-funded REHAP project researchers have addressed the issue of how to forecast the availability of such feedstock. Their findings were published in the ‘Journal of Cleaner Production’.

The questions raised by the paper are: “What feedstock shows the highest potential? Where is the feedstock spatially allocated? How will the supply develop in future?” The same journal article states: “The aim of this research was to develop a methodology for spatially explicit prediction of the theoretical, technical and bioeconomic potential of agricultural residues. The forecasting horizon is medium term and covers the period from 2017 to 2030.”

The research focused on wheat straw, corn stover (stalks, leaves and cobs), barley straw and rapeseed straw. These represent 80 % “of cereals and oil crops harvesting residues in the European Union,” according to the paper. It concluded: “The results indicate the largest increase of all investigated crops was for corn stover at up to 20 per cent between 2017 and 2030. Barley straw potentials are expected to stay rather constant within the coming decade. Rapeseed is the only crop likely to face a decreasing production in many regions in the coming years.”

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