This report studies processes which convert biomass-derived feedstocks (e.g. fermentable sugar) into organic bulk chemicals (e.g. lactic acid, acetic acid, butanol and ethanol) by means of white biotechnology (e.g. fermentation or enzymatic conversion), either with or without genetically modified organisms. Apart from white biotechnology, also conventional chemistry is involved in all processes. All white biotechnology products are compared to functionally equivalent petrochemical products. The key research questions addressed in this report are which products could be made with white biotechnology, whether these products can contribute to savings of energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, under which conditions the products become economically viable, which risks may originate from a shift towards white biotechnology chemicals including the use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in fermentation and what the public perception is.
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