Recent developments in key biorefinery areas

Thomas Michael Attard, James Hanley Clark, Con Robert McElroy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


To meet decarbonisation goals and implement a more sustainable circular economy model, the chemical industry needs to transition from fossil to renewable sources of carbon. Current chemical production is dominated by petroleum, where this broadly uniform feedstock is separated using a single, simple process to give a small range of heteroatom-free molecules that are the platform to a myriad of products. In a biorefinery, however, many feedstocks of widely varying composition using markedly different technologies are processed to give one or two of a wide range of bioderived platform molecules. Here, recent publications are used to highlight selection of the most suitable second or third generation feedstocks, converted using integrated, complementary processes to generate multiple products. This approach generates a range of chemicals, more fully using the carbon source of choice in a sustainable manner, generating more value, which together makes the realisation of the biorefinery concept draw ever closer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-74
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry
Early online date14 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020

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© 2019 Elsevier B.V. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy.

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