Published: CABEQ 18 (1) (2004) 7–12
Paper type: Original Scientific Paper

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The Green Biorefinery Austria – Development of an Integrated System for Green Biomass Utilization

S. Kromus, B. Wachter, W. Koschuh, M. Mandl, C. Krotscheck and M. Narodoslawsky

A Green Biorefinery is a concept to utilize green (grassland) biomass as raw material for the production of biobased products like proteins, lactic acids, fibres and energy (via biogas). The exploitation of grassland might have intriguing side effects like the conservation of cultural landscapes and the improvement of the “stay option” of farmers. Since 1999 comprehensive research starting from the raw material up to product formulation and development is carried out in Austria. However, in contrast to the centralized Biorefinery concepts in Europe, the Austrian Green Biorefinery focuses on a decentralized system based on grass-silage. Silage is rich in lactic acid and storage is organized decentralized. During the last years different green biomass and silage were analyzed. As a next step fractionation was carried out and trials for product separation took place. This work led to an integrated system elaboration of the Biorefinery concept. For economic assessment mass and energy balances were taken as the basis and a biogas plant has been considered as benchmark.5,9,12 However, due to permanent adoption of the economic models only current trends of economic assessment are summarized in this paper. With lactic acid and amino acids (proteins) as key products from silage the results support the assumption that Biorefineries can be viable and sustainable development efforts in rural regions are supported in Austria. This paper provides a condensed overview on research results of the last four years.

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green biorefinery, biomass, grassland, silage, proteins, lactic acids, grass fibres, sustainability