A biorefinery is a facility that integrates biomass conversion processes and equipment to produce fuels, power, heat, and value-added chemicals from "biomass. The biorefinery concept is analogous to today's "petroleum refinery, which produce multiple fuels and products from "petroleum.
The "International Energy Agency Bioenergy Task 42 on Biorefineries has defined biorefining as the sustainable processing of biomass into a spectrum of bio-based products (food, feed, chemicals, materials) and bioenergy (biofuels, power and/or heat).
By producing multiple products, a biorefinery takes advantage of the various components in biomass and their intermediates therefore maximizing the value derived from the biomass feedstock. Some researcher have considered the exploration of a biorefinery as a practical method of improving the economic performance of stand-alone biomass to bioenergy system since biochemicals are produced A biorefinery could, for example, produce one or several low-volume, but high-value, chemical or "nutraceutical products and a low-value, but high-volume liquid transportation fuel such as "biodiesel or "bioethanol (see also "alcohol fuel). At the same time generating electricity and process heat, through "combined heat and power (CHP) technology, for its own use and perhaps enough for sale of electricity to the local utility. The high-value products increase profitability, the high-volume fuel helps meet energy needs, and the power production helps to lower energy costs and reduce "greenhouse gas emissions from traditional power plant facilities. Although some facilities exist that can be called bio-refineries, the bio-refinery has yet to be fully realized. Future biorefineries may play a major role in producing chemicals and materials that are traditionally produced from "petroleum.
The fully operational "Blue Marble Energy company has multiple biorefineries located in Odessa, WA and Missoula, MT.
Canada's first Integrated Biorefinery, developed on anaerobic digestion technology by "Himark BioGas is located in "Hairy Hill, Alberta. The Biorefinery utilizes Source Separated Organics from the metro "Edmonton region, Open Pen Feedlot Manure, and Food Processing Waste.
Several potential biorefinery examples have been proposed, starting from feedstocks such as "tobacco, "flax "straw and the residues from the production of "bioethanol. Biorefineries have also been proposed to gather as much materials from trees (i.e. cellulose, hemicellulose, lignine, lipids) as possible.
"Chemrec's technology for "black liquor "gasification and production of "second-generation biofuels such as "biomethanol or Bio"DME is integrated with a host "pulp mill and utilizes a major "sulfate or "sulfite process waste product as feedstock.
The first comprehensive and conceptual work on biorefineries should be cited as a reference: B. Kamm, P.G. Gruber, M. Kamm (Edts.) Biorefieries - industrial processes and products, Weinheim : Wiley-VCH (2006). The work of IEA Bioenergy Task 42 has recently been reviews by E. de Jong, G. Jungmeter, Biorefinerie Concepts in Comparison to Petrochemical Refineries. In:A. Pandey, R. Höfer, M. Taherzadeh, K. Madhavan Nampoothiri, C. Larroche (Edts), Industrial Biorefineries and White Biotechnology, Amsterdam, Oxford, Waltham : Elsevier (2015) pp. 33