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Julian Blohmke

PhD Researcher, International Centre for Integrated assessment and Sustainable development (ICIS), Maastricht University

Julian Blohmke

Career
  • • Worked for over five years in the renewable energy sector in project development and clean technology country strategy design in the Middle East and North Africa as well as biorefinery technology risk assessment and scale-up (biofuels and biochemicals)
  • • Consultant for UNIDO, World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDB)
  • • Conducted academic research on technology transfer, economic effects of low carbon growth and innovation systems as PhD researcher at Maastricht University
  • • Graduated in Economics and Law at University of Hamburg

 

 

Project

The bioeconomy era and the need for intelligent biomass resource exploitation: A knowledge tool for residual biomass sourcing

Future economies will depend on renewable biomass resources, other than the generation of the 20th century, which was dominated by the utilization of finite fossil resources. Today, fossil resources are being used in materials and as energy carrier, yet smart biomass utilization processes and investments into the biorefinery infrastructure is necessary to reduce the dependency on fossil resources.

Currently, industry, policy makers and the civil society, have started to embark on a biobased growth pathway - called bioeconomy. The bioeconomy could make major contributions to improve health outcomes, increase productivity in agricultural and industrial processes and strengthen environmental sustainability. Great efforts are being undertaken to substitute chemical building blocks derived from oil and gas, by tapping into biomass resources as the source of chemicals for materials and fuels. Large quantities of biomass are required to feed biorefinery processes, which are being sourced from the agricultural land and the forest sector.

The utilization of biomass as materials, chemicals or fuels is regularly in direct rivalry with nutrition purposes and food security, since the most technologically viable, cost effective way is to take food crops as a feedstock for biorefinery purposes, which triggers substitution effects and spurs unsustainable land use change. Thus, there is a substantial need to access biomass sources, which are not used as food or feed. Especially lignocellulosic biomass is a non-food biomass and often a residual in the agricultural feedstock processing industry and forest industry (straw, husks, grass, bagasse, wood cut-offs, saw dust).

Yet, information on the availability of residual biomass is scarce and so far comprehensive information databases are missing. The goal of this present project is to set-up an information platform in order to inform the actors of the bioeconomy about the geographical availability of residual biomass. Similarly as with wind speed and solar irradiation maps, serving renewable energy project developers and decision makers as critical source of valuable information, the “residual biomass sourcing platform” will provide the necessary information on geographical availability of residual biomass for planning purposes of dedicated bioeconomy actors. It will help industry and governments to plan and execute biorefinery industry projects and infrastructure planning.