Advisory report 2010/05 : More chemistry between green and growth: The opportunities and dilemmas of a bio-based economy
A bio-based economy is one in which enterprises manufacture non-food products from biomass. Such products include fuel for the transport industry, chemicals, materials, and energy. Biomass is the biological material of living or recently living organisms, either animal or vegetable. With technology becoming more sophisticated, it is growing easier to turn plants, trees, crops, and residual animal waste into biomass. Waste and waste streams are increasingly being used as input in production processes, thereby gaining an economic value of their own. They are giving rise to new, sustainable products with considerable added value that replace products based on non-renewable materials. New bio-based products may offer the Netherlands new economic opportunities. The Dutch can already boast a number of distinct advantages in that respect, thanks to the sophistication of their industrial sector, agro-industry, chemicals and energy industries, and transport and logistics sector all key sectors in a bio-based economy. However, the growing world population and increasing level of prosperity worldwide, and the environmental and climate problems associated with such growth, are adding to the complexity of policy-making aimed at developing a bio-based economy. The shift from fossil-based to bio-based materials must be part of a comprehensive policy aimed at achieving a sustainable economy.