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Scenario Projections for Future Market Potentials of Biobased Bulk Chemicals

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journal contribution
posted on 01.04.2008, 00:00 by Veronika Dornburg, Barbara G. Hermann, Martin K. Patel
Three scenario projections for future market potentials of biobased bulk chemicals produced by means of white biotechnology are developed for Europe (EU-25) until the year 2050, and potential nonrenewable energy savings, greenhouse gas emission reduction, and land use consequences are analyzed. These scenarios assume benign, moderate, and disadvantageous conditions for biobased chemicals. The scenario analysis yields a broad range of values for the possible market development of white biotechnology chemicals, that is, resulting in a share of white biotechnology chemicals relative to all organic chemicals of about 7 (or 5 million tonnes), 17.5 (or 26 million tonnes), or 38% (or 113 million tonnes) in 2050. We conclude that, under favorable conditions, white biotechnology enables substantial savings of nonrenewable energy use (NREU) and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to the energy use of the future production of all organic chemicals from fossil resources. Savings of NREU reach up to 17% for starch crops and up to 31% for lignocellulosic feedstock by 2050, and saving percentages for GHG emissions are in a similar range. Parallel to these environmental benefits, economic advantages of up to 75 billion ϵ production cost savings arise.