Can bio-based chemicals meet demand? Global and regional case-study around citrus waste-derived limonene as a solvent for cleaning applications

Giulia Paggiola, Sytze Van Stempvoort, Julen Bustamante, José Manuel Vega Barbero, Andrew J. Hunt, James H. Clark*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One common factor across many economies around the world is their high dependency on petroleum. The chemical sector is no exception and considering the paramount role that solvents play within this industry they make an ideal focus for investigating green transition potential. This work attempts to shed some light on the scarce literature regarding the quantitative assessment of substitution capacity in target markets, by examining a case study of toluene use as an industrial cleaning agent and its replacement by limonene, a widely established citrus-peel-derived alternative in a number of applications. The systematic approach presented here compares market demand against potential supply by evaluating current and projected scenarios based on citrus fruit and juice production both at global and regional level. The results clearly show that the potential for complete substitution of toluene by limonene at global level is certainly out of reach, but encouraging results were obtained in specific regional substitution case studies, considering both citrus-producing and citrus-importing countries. In these cases, there is a clear potential for limonene to substitute toluene as a solvent within and beyond the cleaning sector, leaving space for future work in this area to investigate the transition potential for other important bio-based chemicals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)686-698
Number of pages13
Journal Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • Bioeconomy
  • Green chemistry
  • Petrochemicals
  • Solvent substitution
  • Supply-chain
  • bioeconomy
  • petrochemicals
  • supply-chain
  • solvent substitution
  • green chemistry

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