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Main research question/goal
To optimise resource use, Flanders is striving towards a bio-based economy. For farmers and the processing industry, however, it remains unclear how to implement the bio-based economy principles further than is already being done. This doctoral study contributes to the increased economic, social and ecological valorisation of primary plant products within the bio-economy. We research the multiple valorisation pathways starting from primary products, as well as the associated institutional arrangements between firms. Maize is the main case study. Maize can be processed into food, feed, materials and energy following different valorisation pathways.

Research approach
This research combines two objectives. First, an integral chain valorisation instrument is developed by combining agent based models (ABM) with monitoring instruments such as exergetic life cycle analysis (ELCA) and value chain analysis (VCA). Subsequently the instrument is used to test empirical combinations of valorisation pathways and institutional arrangements for a sustainable use of the available maize biomass streams in Flanders.

In order to make biobased economy a success story, value chain actors will have to evolve jointly by starting new, smart collaborations for multiple valorisation pathways across the value chain. The integral chain valorisation instrument helps to identify sustainable multiple valorisation pathways and associated institutional arrangements, as well as to evaluate the economic and ecological impact. This allows chain members to identify market opportunities associated with multiple valorisation pathways. This doctoral study also delivers a base methodology to evaluate other crops usable for the production of food, feed, materials and energy by combining multiple valorisation pathways.  
Effective start/end date1/01/141/04/18

ID: 4147555