Published July 22, 2023 | Version v1
Journal article Open

Biorefineries as a driver for sustainability: Key aspects, actual development and future prospects

  • 1. CRETUS, Department of Chemical Engineering, School of Engineering, University of Santiago de Compostela


The overexploitation of resources, the increase of the world population and the trend of consumption based on “use and throw away” is causing an increasing pressure on waste management. In this sense, it is necessary to promote sustainable practices in the valorization of waste streams as a strategy for the co-production of bioproducts and bioenergy. This approach can lead to more sustainable production chains, as lower environmental burdens are expected. However, even if a promising cascade production technology could be used, the technical and economic feasibility of biorefineries remains a challenge. This report aims to provide various insights on how to assess biorefineries from a sustainability perspective, including also available standards and guidelines that enable reliable, accurate and transparent sustainability assessments. It also shows where to focus for the inclusion of biorefineries in the value chain, for communicate/visualize their potential, and for the promotion of bio-based products from recovered resources. The outcomes and main conclusions of this report could be summarized as the importance and the need of assessing biorefinery scenarios under a sustainable perspective to have an increased market potential, considering the main aspects available on the international guidelines, certification schemes and voluntary standards.


Arias et al. Journal of Cleaner Production 2023.pdf

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BIORECER – Biological Resources Certifications Schemes 101060684
European Commission


  • Arias, A., Feijoo, G., & Moreira, M. T. (2023). Biorefineries as a driver for sustainability: Key aspects, actual development and future prospects. Journal of Cleaner Production, 418, 137925.