Natalia Sirina, Bertrand Guillaume,
Biorefineries of the future and ecosystem services: an exploration within the agricultural region of Champagne-Ardenne, France
4th ESP International Conference, 4-7 October, Wageningen, the Netherlands
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Natural resources depletion (crude oil, ores…) and environmental pollutions of all kind (including global change) urges humanity to deploy a more sustainable use and management of renewable resources. A promising concept for this likely development is the one of “biorefinery”, an overall concept of a processing plant (or a cluster of process plants) where biomass feedstock is converted into a spectrum of valuable molecules, materials and energy. Within the French national call for “Excellence Institutes for Decarbonized Energies” endowed with 1 billion euros, the PIVERT project aims at using oil plants for their oils and fibers, while promoting sustainable development by following the principles of industrial ecology. Relying on the scarcity of natural resources and on the limited carrying capacities of ecosystems, industrial ecology calls for the implementation of loops for material and energy between economic activities, the idea being that outputs of industrial processes from the plant biorefinery should systematically be exploited as raw material or energy sources by others, following a so-called “industrial metabolism” for the whole plant (Octave et Thomas, 2009). We propose here to describe such plant biorefineries of the future as second-order artificial ecosystem services providers during their life cycle (e.g. biofuel, climate regulation, erosion control) but at the same time as first-order impact source on a range of natural ecosystem services (e.g. food, freshwater, biodiversity) (Gasparatos et al., 2011; de Vries et al., 2010). So far, the main interest of the research to come is an exploratory assessment of ecosystem’s capacities to provide ecosystem services in the context of Champagne-Ardenne, one of the most important agroresources areas of France, with a functioning biorefinery. Gasparatos, A., et al., Biofuels, ecosystem services and human wellbeing: Putting biofuels in the ecosystem services narrative. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. (2011), Sander C. de Vries, Gerrie W.J. van de Ven, Martin K. van Ittersum, Ken E. Giller Resource use efficiency and environmental performance of nine major biofuel crops, processed by first-generation conversion techniques. Biomass and bioenergy 34 (2010), 588 – 601. Octave, S., & Thomas, D. (2009). Biorefinery: Toward an industrial metabolism. Biochimie, 91(6), 659-64