The incorporation of sustainability in the design of biorefineries is central for the development of the biobased economy. In this paper sustainability methods and metrics in current biorefinery design practices are analyzed to identify challenges and opportunities for future improvements in the field. Generally, there is a need for an integral analysis that includes societal impacts and goes beyond the automatic use of metrics for predefined issues. Although efforts have been made to develop more integral sustainability analyses for biorefinery design, they are often challenged by disciplinary boundaries that yield a narrow scope of analysis (e.g. conversion process, supply chain), and are blind to contextual settings or stakeholder perspectives. Multi and trans-disciplinary, inclusive and context aware approaches are identified as opportunities to overcome them in future developments.
- Biorefinery design
- Biorefinery supply chain
- Integral sustainability assessment
- Sustainable biorefinery