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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_1304

Basics Valorization of

Basics Valorization of components of industrially used food crops 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Sugar beet Food/feed Sugar cane Industrial use Wheat Corn Soy Rapeseed/ canola Crop Carbohydrates Oils Proteins Fibres (lignoce llulosic) % Use % Use % Use % Use Sugar beet 65–70% Industrial 5–7% Feed 5–7% Feed Sugar cane 30% Industrial Wheat 60% Industrial 10% Feed, Food 30% Feed, Food Corn 75% Industrial 5% Food 15% Feed 5% Feed Soy Rapeseed/ Canola 20% Industrial 40% Industrial Proteins and Fibres 80% Proteins and Fibres 60% Feed, Food (soy milk and tofu from extracted proteins) Feed Fig. 2: Valorization of components of food crops used in industry. This considers only the special case of when all carbohydrates (sugar beet, sugar cane, wheat and corn) or oils (soy and canola) are used for industrial material use only, their by-products being subsequently used for food and feed. 1 Table 1: Valorization of components of food crops used in industry. This considers only the special case of when all carbohydrates (sugar beet, sugar cane, wheat and corn) or oils (soy and canola) are used for industrial material use only, their by-products being subsequently used for food and feed. 1 Sources: Kamm et al. 2006; IEA Bioenergy, Task 42 Biorefinery 2012: Country Reports. This is not very surprising, considering that starch, sugar and plant oils are used by the crops as energy storage for solar energy, and easy to utilize again. In contrast, lignocellulose gives the crop a functional structure – it is not built to store energy, but to last and protect the plants from microorganisms. Only specific enzymes (plus energy) are able to saccharify the lignocellulosic structure and transform it into fermentable sugars. Although terrific improvements have been achieved in this field over the last two decades, the technology is still in its infancy. The price of the enzymes as well as their efficiency are, alongside capital requirements, still the biggest obstacle to this strategy. As a result, lignocellulosic biomass is not an efficient option for fermentation processes. This means that the often raised question: “When will your company switch from food crops to second generation lignocellulosic feedstock?” is too shortsighted and simplistic. The authors argue that the real question is: “What is the most resource efficient and sustainable use of land and biomass in your region?” It is not the issue of whether the crop can be used for food or feed; it is a question of resource and land efficiency and sustainability. The competition is for land. Land used for cultivating lignocellulosic feedstock is not available for food or feed production (see Chapter 6 in the complete paper). So the dogma of “no food crops for industry” can lead to a misallocation or underutilization of agricultural resources, i.e. land and biomass. Also, the utilization of food crops in bio-based industries is very efficient, since the process chains have been optimized over a very long time and the by-products are used in food and feed. Biorefineries for food crops have existed for many years that convert all parts of a harvested crop into food, feed, materials and energy/ fuel, maximizing the total value. If this maximum output value were not attained, the prices of the food and feed parts would go up. For example, using sugar, starch or oil for bio-based chemicals, plastics or fuel leaves plant-based proteins, which are an important feedstock for the food and animal feed industry. At present, the world is mainly short of protein and not of carbohydrates such as sugar and starch. This means that there is no real competition with food uses, since the valuable part of the food crops still flows into food and feed uses. (More information is available in the complete paper.) Table 1 and Fig. 2 above give an overview of the valorization of processed fractions of crops, if the main use is material use, dry matter only. The percentage is related to grain or fruit only; additional (lignocellulosic) fibres from straw, leaves, etc. are not taken into account. Another very important aspect that is rarely mentioned is that food crops for industry can also serve as an emergency reserve of food and feed supply, whereas second-generation lignocellulose cannot be used in the same way. This means that food security can be assured through the extended use of food crops. In a food crisis, sugar cane (Brazil) and corn 1 Table 1 and Figure 2 do not give an overview of actual current use of food crops, but only the special case when carbohydrates or oil are used exclusively for industrial material use. The reality is somewhat different: (1) Most of Brazil’s mills can produce both ethanol and sugar, but the amount of each product varies according to market conditions. The regular mix is 55 % ethanol and 45 % sugar. (2) With one raw material, the European starch industry serves different application sectors – confectionary and drinks, processed foods, feed, paper and corrugating, pharmaceuticals, chemicals/ polymers and biofuels – in an integrated, continuous and balanced manner. 44 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/13] Vol. 8

Opinion Internal origin attributes of the biomass Helpful to achieving the objective • Established logistic and processes (varieties, cultivation, harvest, storage, quality control) • Sugar cane and beet: Highest yields of fermentable sugar per ha (high land effi ciency) • Positive GHG balance and low non-renewable resource depletion, high resource efficiency • Protein rich by-product press cake or DDGS (Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles) for feed • Lower production costs than sugars from lignocellulose STRENGTHS Helpful to achieving the objective • Direct competition to food and feed market • Price level directly linked to food and feed prices; high prices during food crisis • High volatility of the raw material prices • Decreasing production would cause shortages on animal feed markets • Sensitive to drought and dry winter freeze WEAKNESSES External origin attributes of the environment • Easy to use for biotech processes • Fast implementation and growth of the Biobased Economy; required technology is state of the art • Food security only possible with a globally growing volume of food crops: Emergency reserves & market stabilization; (partial substitution with non-food crops would lead to artifi cial shortage) • Economic security for the farmer due to more choices of selling his stock OPPORTUNITIES • Under high pressure from public, NGOs and politicians: Claimed impact on food prices and food shortages • Simple strong and populistic messages like “No Food Crops for Industry” • During food crisis: High prices and no secure supply for the industry • Insecure political framework; very complex EU legislation concerning specifi c food crops (e.g. sugar) THREATS Fig. 3: SWOT Analysis of food crop use for industry (nova 2013) (US), for example, can be immediately redirected to the food and feed market. This is especially possible with crop varieties certified for food and feed. First-generation crops also have the potential to give the farmer more flexibility in terms of his crop’s end use. If the market is already saturated with food exports of a crop, this allows the crop to be diverted towards industrial use. The reverse is also true when there is a food shortage. Therefore, growing more food crops for industry creates a quintuple win situation: • The farmer wins, since he has more options for selling his stock and therefore more economic security; • The environment wins due to greater resource efficiency of food crops and the smaller area of land used; • Food security wins due to flexible allocation of food crops in times of crisis; • Feed security also wins due to the high value of the protein-rich by-products of food crops; • Market stability wins due to increased global availability of food crops, which will reduce the risk of shortages and speculation peaks. For all these reasons, the authors request that political measures should not differentiate simply between food and non-food crops, but that criteria such as land availability, resource- and land efficiency, valorization of byproducts and emergency food reserves are taken into account. This also means that research into first generation processes should be continued and receive fresh support e.g. from European research agendas and that the quota system for producing sugar in the European Union should be revised in order to enable increased production of these feedstocks for industrial uses. And the authors ask for a level playing field between industrial material uses of biomass and biofuels/bioenergy in order to reduce market distortions in the allocation of biomass for uses other than food and feed. www.bio-based.eu References: [1] Dauber, J. et al. 2012: Bioenergy from “surplus” land: environmental and socio-economic implications; BioRisk 7: 5 – 50 (2012) [2] Zeddies, J. et al. 2012: Globale Analyse und Abschätzung des Biomasse-Flächennutzungspotentials. Hohenheim 2012 [3] FAO – Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 2011: Global food losses and food waste. Rome 2011 [4] Carus, M. 2012: From the field to the wheel: Photovoltaic is 40 times more efficient than the best biofuel; bioplastics MAGAZINE (1/12), Vol. 7, 2012 nova paper #2 on bio-based economy: Food or non-food: Which agricultural feedstocks are best for industrial uses? (2013-07) nova papers on bio-based economy are proposals to stimulate the discussion on current topics of the bio-based economy by inviting relevant stakeholders to participate in decisionmaking processes and debates. Download this paper and further documents at: www.bio-based.eu/policy/en bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/13] Vol. 8 45

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