Setting the design space of biorefineries through sustainability values, a practical approach

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Sustainable development has become an outstanding aspiration in our society. However, the meaning of sustainability and how it should be operationalized is a complex issue that depends on subjective beliefs and values. To advance toward sustainable biobased production, we present an approach to delimit the design space of biorefineries by considering stakeholders’ values. Concepts from Design for Values were taken as the starting point for this approach, which was further developed with a biojet fuel production case in the Brazilian states of Minas Gerais and São Paulo. Design propositions that considered the interaction between stakeholders’ values, sustainability, and the production system were derived and used to suggest design space boundaries. These design boundaries are indicative, allowing for deliberation during future design activities. Through them, designers are prompted to actively reflect on the interaction between biorefinery systems and the socioeconomic and environmental context around them. By opening the design process to stakeholders’ values, we have developed a constructivist approach to incorporate sustainability in an inclusive and context-specific manner during the early stages of biorefinery design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-44
Number of pages16
JournalBiofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • biojet fuel
  • biorefinery design
  • inclusive design
  • sustainable biorefinery
  • value sensitive design


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