Biorefinery Design in Context: Integrating Stakeholder Considerations in the Design of Biorefineries

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

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Biobased production has been presented as a sustainable alternative to the use of fossil resources. However, emerging controversies over the impacts of biofuels (on, e.g., land use, food, and energy security), made it clear that this production approach cannot be assumed to be inherently sustainable or unsustainable. Behind these controversies are unexplored uncertainties and assumptions made during the development of biofuel production, as well as limited considerations of the local context and the values of stakeholders upon its implementation. While these concerns do not necessarily relate to all biobased products, they do indicate that there are many aspects of sustainability besides those driving biobased production (i.e. the use of renewable resources, climate change mitigation), and that the relevance of some of these aspects depends on the local contexts and the values of stakeholders.
This thesis presents an approach to the development of a more sustainable biobased production. Particularly, this thesis answers the question: “how can considerations of stakeholders and the local context be investigated and integrated into the early-stage design of biorefineries?” To answer this main question, the research in this thesis is structured around the design process. First, the motivation of this work and a review of the literature on biorefinery design is presented in Chapters 1 and 2. Then, by focusing on specific stages of the design process, the research is structured from the definition of the design space (Chapter 3), to the design decision making (Chapter 4) and the evaluation of design concepts (Chapter 5). In Chapter 6 the overall findings of this work are presented and integrated into a novel design approach for more sustainable biorefinery design. The presented approach not only allows to bring considerations of stakeholders’ values and the project context, it also opens the space to identify tensions between stakeholders’ values and sustainability aspects. By promoting the discussion of these tensions in the context of the project, the presented approach opens opportunities for responding to these tensions in the decision making for the development of biobased production...
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Osseweijer, P., Supervisor
  • Posada Duque, J.A., Advisor
Award date30 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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