“We have to handle biomass economically”

“We have to handle biomass economically”

The Government-wide circular economy program publishes five transition agendas on 15 January. These agendas should accelerate the road to a circular economy. Emmo Meijer, figurehead of Top Sector Chemistry and Chairman of the Biomass and Food Transition Agenda, thinks we should use biomass economically.

“Biomass is an indispensable raw material in the circular economy and essential for the reduction of CO2 emissions.There are sharp definitions of importance, such as biomass availability: how much is available and are we looking at regional, national or global availability?” says Meijer.

 Highest added value
At present, biomass is still being used extensively in the Netherlands for co-firing in power plants. It is true that the coalition agreement states that this will be phased out, but there is still a lot of funding going on. Meijer: “We can better use these subsidies for the stimulation of biomass in applications with the highest possible added value.

Use of residual flows
The switch to bio-based requires large investments from companies. According to Meijer, residual and waste streams can be used. “This requires changes to legislation and regulations. The recovery of valuable substances from waste water should also receive more attention. ”

Nor should the increasing use of biomass be at the expense of soil fertility. It is necessary to bring nutrients such as phosphate, nitrogen and minerals into a closed cycle. Of course, biomass can not displace food production. “About 40% of the food is thrown away. Reducing food waste is therefore a spearhead. ”

Less animal products
The eating pattern also requires a behavioral change by Western consumers, who obtain 60% of their proteins from animal products. Cattle feed attracts a heavy bill on biomass. “In order to make biomass available for other applications, we must therefore eat fewer animal products. We also want to pass on the environmental effects. “Texture and palatability of vegetable protein products have improved considerably over the past 20 years. “This is one of the icon projects that should contribute to the acceleration of our transition.”

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Link to article (In Dutch)