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Assessment Roadmapfor Emerging Bio-based Technologies: Identifying Sustainability Prospects with Multiple Perspectives
RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden.
RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2066-6371
RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden.
RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden.
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2019 (English)In: Life cycle Management Conference 2019: Life cycle Management Conference 2019, Poznan, Polen, 2019, Vol. 9Conference paper, Poster (with or without abstract) (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Many bio-based technologies are emerging technologies, with the characteristics of being radical and fast growing. The 2018 Nobel prize in chemistry is based on enzymatic bio-based conversion as a green alterative for several conventional technologies. Overall, the transition to a bio-based economy is seen as a mean to reach sustainability, energy independence and economic growth. Bioeconomy strategies have however also been criticized for focusing too much on economic growth and too little on sustainability. Assessing potential life cycle sustainability risks and benefits early in the development of technologies – when still at lab or pilot scale – provides valuable insights about how to prioritize research activities and to potentially avert unintended consequences. The lack of knowledge and high uncertainty in early development however also makes such assessments challenging. On the social sustainability side, bio-based technologies create new jobs, while the social acceptance can hinder the market growth even in an innovation country like Sweden. Emerging technologies like for example artificial intelligence might reduce jobs and gene therapy in medicine might bear risk for coming future generation. The questions and risks are manifold. Therefore, it is essential to have a roadmap for guidance that takes a holistic approach to sustainability with a life cycle perspective. To add to the complexity, the possibilities for assessment approaches are extensive. Different perspectives can be assessed in numerous ways and with many different methods. The goal of this study is to contribute to a sustainable transition to the bioeconomy, by serving as a roadmap for research and innovation (R&I) on emerging bio-based technologies.

To suggest a general roadmap for holistic and interdisciplinary assessments, this study identifies, and describes the use of multiple perspective assessments in selected R&I projects on emerging bio-based technologies. The projects include virgin and waste raw materials, biotechnology conversion processes and products such as bio-based chemicals, building materials, soil amendment, and pellets for heat. The findings are, in combination with existing frameworks on biomass- and bio-product prospect models, used to suggest an assessment roadmap for identifying sustainability prospects of emerging bio-based technologies.

The result consists of an “assessment roadmap” including the perspectives resource-, economic-, environmental-, social- and market potential. Each perspective is accompanied by questions targeted to identify benefits and risks, such as “What valorization routes currently exists, and are under research, for the feedstock?”; “Is the feedstock available, also in the future?”; “Is the production technology socially accepted?”. The roadmap for bio -based emerging technologies also provides advice on the procedure for sustainability assessments, such as organizing an initial workshop with expert knowledge and highlight the importance of scanning before allocating resources for in depth analyses.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Poznan, Polen, 2019. Vol. 9
Keywords [en]
roadmap, sustainability, bio-based, social acceptance, emerging technologies
National Category
Environmental Sciences Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Other Environmental Biotechnology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ri:diva-42521OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ri-42521DiVA, id: diva2:1384443
Conference
Life cycle Management Conference 2019
Funder
Swedish Research Council FormasAvailable from: 2020-01-09 Created: 2020-01-09 Last updated: 2020-01-09

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