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The significance of biomass in a circular economy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Published copy (DOI)



Publication details

DateAccepted/In press - 3 Jan 2020
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 9 Jan 2020
Pages (from-to)122755
Early online date9/01/20
Original languageEnglish


A circular economy relies on the value of resources being maximised indefinitely, requiring that virtually no unrecoverable waste occurs. Biomass is highly significant in a circular economy in terms of material products and the provision of energy. To establish a circular bioeconomy, the practical implications of biomass use need to be appreciated by stakeholders throughout the value chain, from product design to waste management. This review addresses sustainable biomass production and its function as a feedstock from a European perspective. Anaerobic digestion of food waste is used as a case study to represent appropriate waste treatments. Crucial challenges are (1) Uncoupling the petrochemical industry and biomass production with renewable fertilisers; (2) Providing plentiful biomass for bio-based products by prioritising other renewable sources of energy; (3) Waste arising from food and agriculture must be minimised and returned to the economy; (4) Enhancing stakeholder cooperation across value chains.

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