The cascading usage of biomass

a model for Bioeconomy

Published on 25-10-2016 06:13:05 by AGRIFORVALOR

CakePHP The development of a sustainable society is heavily depended on the realization of a transition of the economy of today which is heavily dependent on fossil and mineral resources towards a biobased economy. Therefore new production chains and development

The transition towards a Bioeconomy requires new approaches for food production, energy supply, use of materials and production processes. Existing value chains will have to be re-examined against the new criteria set by the integrated biobased economy. This will lead to a ‘re-valuation’ of raw materials, intermediates, products and waste streams as well as water and energy consumption which is shown in the following value-pyramide.



This value-pyramide classifies the biomass according to its value of applications as indication on how the limited supplies of biomass can be used most efficiently.

The 4 domains are:

Food -->  Pharma (Health), Food Ingredients, Functional foods, Food

Feed --> Feed ingredients, feed

Functional materials --> Fine chemicals, performance materials, bulk chemicals, fermentation, fertilizer

Fuels --> bio-fuels, fire, flare, fill


The cascading use of biomass shows a mechanism for prioritizing its use for socially preferable products, notably materials over its use for energy. Such a mechanism is an opportunity to maximize the efficiency of the biomass usage.


Sources: CAT-WUR, Chances for biomass, 2012,

Keegan et al, 2013, Cascading use: a systematic approach to biomass beyond the energy sector