The bioeconomy has two main drivers: protection of the climate, especially by reducing the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG); and the foreseeable shift from fossil-based to renewable feedstocks. Biomass is widely accepted as the only sustainable alternative to fossil carbon sources and the starting point for developing production processes that can be characterized as having a low, or even zero, carbon footprint.
The development of the bioeconomy faces a number of hurdles. Although processing and transformation of agricultural and silvicultural biomass to chemicals and fuels is established, the feedstock base of these industries is still dominated by fossil carbon sources. However, the transition into the bioeconomy is also an opportunity to build new cross-sectorial value chains linking intercontinental biomass regions and industrial centers. The bioeconomy's technical and product innovation requirements also create market opportunities for research institutes and companies of all sizes. The European chemical industry, which is highly involved in the bioeconomy, divides the bioeconomy's implications into three areas: access to renewable feedstock; innovation; and generation of market-driven demand.1
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