The development of biocommodities and the role of North West European ports in biomass chains

J.P.M. Sanders, B. Annevelink, D.A. van der Hoeven

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Biomass-derived commodities will compete with commodities derived from fossil fuels in 20 years' time. This perspective will explore the economic conditions that will govern the development of, and the trade in these biocommodities. Markets for biocommodities will open up new revenues for both the agricultural and the chemical sector. We shall explore the importance of the biorefinery concept for the establishment of these new markets. Biorefinery is the sustainable processing of biomass into a spectrum of marketable products and energy. Trade in biobased substances will be greatly enhance if standard commodities are defined and produced in several places in the world. Now we turn to the second question of this perspective: where will biocommodities be produced and where will they be used? The choice of where to process the biomass will depend on the type of biomass, transport distances, bulk density, decay rate, ease of handling, the type of process(ses), the presence of markets, the cost of labor, and logistical conditions. Ports, both on the exporting side and on the importing side, will have a major influence on the formation of biomass chains. In export ports, crude or partially pre-treated biomass will be collected and processed/ transformed into a biocommodity. Existing industries, such as feed production, can be combined with the production of biocommodities, The role of port areas and chemical industries in several biomass chains are shown. The combination of a major port and major application markets for biomass, such as feed industry, chemical industry, biofuels industry and power generation, will allow for the formation of a biomass hub. The formation of a biomass hub will be a step-by-step process in which services and exchange markets are added to existing logistical and industrial structures. The port of Rotterdam has an excellent starting point to become a hub in international biomass trade and processing. In the near future, 5-15 years from now, international biomass trade will become standardized and biocommodities will be defined, partly on the basis of technologies still in development
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-409
JournalBiofuels Bioproducts and Biorefining
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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