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Main research question/goal
In a bio-based economy, renewable resources are transformed in a range of bio-products, biomaterials and bio-energy through the use of biological systems and approaches. A major goal is to have a closed system without losses at any given time. ILVO, a partner within this broader research project, is involved in the development of crops and conversion technology using green and white biotechnology. For the by-products, we search for valorization routes with high added value derived from the bio-conversion processes. The legislative and economic aspects of the bio-based economy are also studied. The bio-based economy is in full development; major driving forces are rising oil prices, the aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and achieving more sustainable production processes.


Research approach
The research groups involved stem from various disciplines: bio-engineering, biological sciences, economy, business administration and law. This multidisciplinary approach focuses on a synergistic interaction between green and white biotechnologies. ILVO’s task is to evaluate crops for the production of renewable resources. In a long-term field trial with common crops (maize, grassland, short rotation coppice) and less common crops (sorghum, Miscanthus, reed canary grass, switchgrass) yield and quality traits are compared. The less well-known crops are valuable for their genetic gains for use in biobased applications. A second research task is to apply biochar (a by-product of pyrolysis) in agriculture. This study also involves a long-term field experiment in which biochar is applied to the soil to enrich the soil carbon content.


ILVO generates knowledge relevant to Flemish agriculture. The field trials involving several crops serves as a demonstration platform for the agriculture industry. Results are published in scientific publications and press releases. Biochar, produced from the by-products of the bio-based economy, can help to the close the production circle, contributing to a carbon neutral economy. The research serves to understand how biochar affects soil quality, nutrient dynamics and crop production.

External partner(s)
Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant
UGent - Fac. Economie en Bedrijfskunde
UGent - Fac. Wetenschappen
Effective start/end date1/04/1031/03/15

ID: 4152608