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The global scenario, combined with the crisis of the chemical industry and the growing level of environmental awareness, offers an opportunity to focus key resources and investments in the bio-based industry and advanced technologies using renewable sources, also finding system solutions to address specific environmental problems. In this perspective, the establishment of a bio-economy model, based on biorefineries for the creation of innovative products with high added value, such as biochemicals and bioplastics, will be possible to develop a “green chemistry” in synergy with traditional chemistry. Such success has a critical point to be addressed.

Chemical transformations necessarily involve chemical bonds being broken and rearranged. Catalytic tools and processes are recognized as the best driving system to promote high yields and high selectivity in those reactions, in other words, bringing competitiveness to the biorefineries. This will help to reduce the dependence on imports, to reward the environmental quality and to develop economically and environmentally sustainable production processes so to justify the huge investments and research and innovation efforts.

Biorefineries integrated along the territory, with dedicated logistics, can give proper priority to the use of biomass, respecting local biodiversity. Particular attention is therefore given to the development of new sustainable catalytic processes of biomass transformation, to enhance human resources and know-how, to reinvigorate local and regional competitiveness, and to attract domestic and international investments.

This book represents an opportunity to highlight and address the worldwide transition to a more sustainable development model, aimed at promoting the most effective or promising catalytic processes for the conversion of bio-based components into high added value products as platform chemicals and intermediates.

Francesco Frusteri, Donato Aranda and Giuseppe Bonura

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