Organic waste as a sustainable feedstock for platform chemicals
Biorefineries have been established since 1980s for biofuel production, switching lately from first to second generation feedstocks in order to avoid the food versus fuel dilemma. In a lesser extent, many opportunities have been investigated to produce chemicals from biomass using by-products of present biorefineries, simple waste streams. Current facilities apply intensive pre-treatments to deal with single substrate types such as carbohydrates. However, most organic streams such as municipal solid waste or algal blooms present a high complexity and variable mixture of molecules, which makes difficult specific compound production and separation. Here we focus on flexible anaerobic fermentation and hydrothermal processes that can treat complex biomass as a whole to obtain a range of products within an integrated biorefinery concept.