Small-scale biorefineries: Future and perspectives

Sebastián Serna Loaiza, German Aroca, Carlos A. Cardona

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

8 Scopus citations


There is a worldwide interest in moving from fossil-based economies into more sustainable economies based on renewable resources. The dependency on fossil fuels, the reduction of greenhouse gases and an interest of boosting regional and rural development are some of the main reasons to promote bio-based economies. The use of biomass resources offers the possibility to have an integrated production of chemicals, materials, energy and food. However, it is necessary to consider an integral use of the feedstock to achieve feasible production processes from biomass. This allows introducing the concept of biorefinery, which is the adaptation of a petroleum refinery scheme, in which from one feedstock (oil) different products are generated, to a biomass-based scheme, in which different products are obtained from biomass. Multiple types of products can be obtained in a biorefinery: commodities, fine and specialty chemicals. All of these have certain specific technological levels regarding the production scale. This chapter first introduces the concept of biorefinery, the most used methods for their design and some applications of the same. Then, based on the aforementioned specific technological levels regarding the production scale, different perspectives and approaches for defining "scale" are discussed and analyzed. In addition, a comparison between the production at small-scale and largescale is done. Finally, an analysis of small-scale biorefineries is performed, aiming to show their potential, possible advantages and future applications and perspectives. All this is demonstrated through specific applications of small-scale biorefineries from banana, tangerine and blackberry.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBiorefineries
Subtitle of host publicationConcepts, Advancements and Research
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages33
ISBN (Electronic)9781536107203
ISBN (Print)9781536107081
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017


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