Advances in biorenewables-resource-waste systems and modelling

Miao Guo*, Chunfei Wu, Stephen Chapman, Xi Yu, Tom Vinestock, Astley Hastings, Pete Smith, Nilay Shah

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The transformation to a resource-circular bio-economy offers a mechanism to mitigate climate change and environmental degradation. As advanced bioeconomy components, biorenewables derived from terrestrial, aquatic biomass and waste resources are expected to play significant roles over the next decades. This study provides an overview of potential biomass resources ranging from higher plant species to phototrophic microbial cluster, and their fundamental photosynthesis processes as well as biogeochemical carbon cycles involved in ecosystems. The review reflects empirical advances in conversion technologies and processes to manufacture value-added biorenewables from biomass and waste resources. The nexus perspective of resource-biorenewable-waste has been analysed to understand their interdependency and wider interaction with environmental resources and ecosystems. We further discussed the systems perspectives of biorenewables to develop fundamental understanding of resource flows and carbon cycles across biorenewable subsystems and highlight their spatial and temporal variability. Our in-depth review suggested the system challenges of biorenewable, which are subject to nonlinearity, variability and complexity. To unlock such system complexity and address the challenges, a whole systems approach is necessary to develop fundamental understanding, design novel biorenewable solutions. Our review reflects recent advances and prospects of computational methods for biorenewable systems modelling. This covers the development and applications of first principle models, process design, quantitative evaluation of sustainability and ecosystem services and mathematical optimisation to improve design, operation and planning of processes and develop emerging biorenewable systems. Coupling these advanced computational methods, a whole systems approach enables a multi-scale modelling framework to inherently link the processes and subsystems involved in biomass ecosystems and biorenewable manufacturing. Reviewing modelling advances, our study provides insights into the emerging opportunities in biorenewable research and highlights the frontier research directions, which have the potential to impact biorenewable sector sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100142
JournalCarbon Capture Science and Technology
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Biomass
  • Biorenewable
  • Mathematical optimisation
  • Modelling advances
  • Process design

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