The global scenario, together with the crisis in the sector of traditional chemistry in Europe, offers a key opportunity to focus resources and investments in the field of high added-value bioproducts and of advanced technologies that use renewable energy sources, as well as to find systemic solutions to specific environmental problems.
Through bioeconomy declined in biorefineries, which use renewable resources of agricultural origin not in competition with food resources (scraps or dedicated crops)– for the realization of innovative added-value products – such as biochemicals and bioplastics – it will be possible to bring the production of raw materials back to Italy and Europe and to develop a “green chemistry” in synergy with traditional chemistry.
This will contribute in reducing the strong dependence on imports, in rewarding environmental quality and in defining economically and environmentally sustainable production processes, able to generate products with a diffusion capable to justify the huge investments and efforts in research and innovation.
The Cluster therefore represents the opportunity to strengthen and speed up the Italian transition towards a more sustainable development model, which aims to promote the reconversion of decommissioned and not competitive sites into biorefineries, with the objective of enhancing human resources and knowhow and to reinvigorate local and regional competitiveness, to attract domestic and international investment.
The promotion of the model of integrated biorefinery focuses on:
- the use of low-impact dedicated crops, agro-industrial scraps and process by-products in order to produce bioproducts and to increase the ecocompatibility of the agro-industrial system;
- the development and integration of a wide and growing range of innovative and low-impact plants and transformation technologies;
- land use planning aimed at restoring the fertility of degraded and/or contaminated environments, and research on a sustainable and ecocompatible management of agro-ecosystems, for the production of biomass and the exploitation of wasted and composted biomass, thus producing opportunities of additional income for the agricultural world;
- an approach of strong multidisciplinary collaboration with the agricultural, industrial, research worlds and local institutions, aimed at the creation of agro-industrial value-chains that could exploit the potential of local areas and enhance their opportunities for growth.
Biorefineries integrated in local areas give a correct priority to the use of biomass, respecting local biodiversity and food farming. A particular attention is paid therefore both to the development of new sustainable processes of biomass transformation, and to the optimization of primary conversion processes – in order to use biomass efficiently – and of secondary conversion, in order to enhance the processing of biobased components into high value-added products such as platform chemicals and intermediates.