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Convergence Drivers in the Processing of Bioresources: The Argument for Colocation
© 2019 AACC International, Inc.
As public concern over environmental challenges has risen, attention to maximizing value in the conversion of resources also has grown, not least with regard to agricultural resources. An opportunity for maximizing value that has not yet been exploited is colocation of food manufacturing with biorefining—the process of fractionating bioresources into valuable chemicals, materials, and fuels—which could benefit both industries, since both are process industries that use the same types of feedstocks. The potential benefits of colocation, as applied to cereal processing, are discussed in this article. The conclusion is that the costs and environmental impacts of transport and heat generation could be reduced for current technologies and that as electrically driven conversion technologies become more widely deployed efficiencies could be realized through energy generation and conversion infrastructure. In addition, greater scale and complementarities of resource needs enabled by colocation could deliver efficiencies for water, labor, process agents, intermediate and final products (including proteins and other food products derived from lignocellulosic material), equipment, and shipping space. Practical implementation requires assessment of specific combinations at specific sites.
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