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Vol 9 - Issue 1

Technology and Innovation

List of Articles

Value chains. New analyses from the bioeconomy perspective
Blandine Laperche, Aliénor de Rouffignac, Nathalie Jullian

The notion of a “value chain”, developed by the French school of industrial economics in the second half of the 20th century, is currently enjoying a revival – the fragmentation of economic activities is being called into question, interest in sustainable development is growing, and scientific and technical progress is opening up opportunities for the emergence of value chains rooted in local areas. This special issue of Technologie et Innovation analyzes the revival of value chains from a bioeconomic perspective, the bioeconomy being a field of activity based on the valorization of biomass. After presenting the founding works, this introductory article analyzes the revival of work in the specific context of the bioeconomy, and develops the economic, environmental and political stakes involved in the development of biosourced value chains. The final section presents the articles included in this issue.

Biomass as the driving force behind the green economy: the example of the flax sector in maritime Flanders
François Delattre

Replacing fossil fuels with renewable materials will be at the heart of the climate and economic challenges of the coming years. Whether for the production of energy or manufactured products, the billions of tons of oil extracted each year will have to be replaced by large-scale biomass exploitation. Taking into account environmental constraints, the tasks of intensifying biomass production and of integrating it into the bio-economic sphere are not without their pitfalls, as they run counter to sustainable development and certain principles of the eco-economy. In this context, the widespread use of biomass must involve the contribution of all the local and regional resources. Flax, a historic and versatile fiber, is a good example of sustainable production that is both regional and global in scope. It offers major economic development opportunities that a region like French Flanders must seize.

Essential oils: the renaissance of natural and sustainable ingredients
Miriana Kfoury, Sophie Fourmentin

The use of essential oils dates back to ancient times. Between the 1930s and 1960s however, they lost popularity to synthetic chemicals. But now – essential oils are making a comeback. The global essential oils market has grown steadily in the last decades thanks, in particular, to the rise in demand for natural compounds. As a matter of fact, these aromatic plant extracts have become unavoidable raw materials in the development of sustainable and eco-friendly products. This is not only due to their aromatic properties, but also thanks to their multi-purpose benefits and broad spectrum of action against micro-organisms, insects, etc. This article presents the renaissance and development of the essential oils market, focusing on the French sector. It then summarizes the factors that could influence this sector, such as those that determine the expansion of the use of essential oils in aromatherapy, the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, as well as plant health products. It also discusses constraints that could weaken the sector, such as climatic variations, price hikes or the emergence of new regulations. Finally, we give a brief overview of the importance of molecular encapsulation in cyclodextrins in order to overcome the limitations associated with the intrinsic properties of essential oils.

Adding value to hemp in France: From historical production trends to new cannabinoid outlets
Aliénor de Rouffignac, Jérémie Bastien, Romain Debref

This article examines the mutation of the historical French hemp production industry caused by the authorization of economic valorization of the hemp flower for its THC and CBD molecules. We demonstrate that sociotechnical controversies and existing uncertainty limit the perspectives of the circular bioeconomy concept proposed by the European Union, which aims to valorize the entire plant. We combine innovation, industry, and dominant design theories to understand how the historical dominant design responds to these pressures. After a brief historical review, we first present the historical dominant design of the hemp industry in France and its cascade production organization inspired by the wood industry. Then, we show its differences with the one dedicated to the valorization of these molecules of interest derived from the flower. Two results arise from this study. On the one hand, our findings demonstrate the existence of a new production organization based on "inverted cascade production" working on new productive and innovative models. On the other hand, the implementation of a strategy encouraging the circular bioeconomy and the pursuit of zero waste generates a cohabitation of the historical dominant design with another emerging design.

Recovery of roadside biomass: The contribution of demonstrators to the deployment of a sustainable supply chain
Brunelle MARCHE, Mauricio CAMARGO, Christophe BACHMANN

Our current context, which is marked by the acceleration of climate change, the scarcity of resources and geopolitical tensions, calls for a review of the French energy strategy, with biomass-energy as the main source of renewable energy. The roadsides along French roads make up nearly 5,000 km² of the territory and constitute a biomass potential that has not yet been exploited. Thus, if one is to look at roadsides from a new perspective, and consider them as a potential source of sustainable bioeconomy, then a change in practices will be required in order to be able to better exploit this potential. Several studies have highlighted the importance of territorial demonstrators for the implementation of practices and emerging supply chains. With this in mind, this article proposes a conceptual framework for the implementation of a demonstrator for the sustainable management of roadsides for valorization purposes, based on the cross-referencing of information taken from the literature on demonstrators and the sustainable sector.

Integration of social and ecological indicators in analysis methods of bioeconomic and agri-food value chains in developing countries
Ludovic Temple, Marie-Hélène Dabat, Angel Avadí

The bioeconomy calls into question the methods for evaluating the performance of value chains. Traditional methods closely linked to industrial economics remain polarized by macroeconomic or intersectoral indicators. They take little account of hidden costs or social and environmental externalities. In different contexts, we observe a renewal of the methodological frameworks for analyzing the value chains to supplement the economic performance indicators with environmental and social indicators. Their objective is then to better characterize the structures likely to make economic activity, social justice, and the reduction of the footprint of human activity compatible. By compiling different case studies of agricultural, food and bioeconomic value chains, we document the nature of the environmental and social indicators referenced, the analysis tools used and the limits of their use in the context of developing countries.

The sustainability of the bioeconomy and bio-based value chains: tools and issues
Aliénor de Rouffignac, Stéphanie Gast, Blandine Laperche, Marie-France Vernier

The bioeconomy, in its ambition to replace fossil carbon by renewable carbon, is structured by the creation of bio-based value chains. However, the organic origin of a value chain does not guarantee its sustainability. By considering the value chain as a meso-system, this article explores how sustainability, whether considered strong or weak, is taken into account in in the academic literature on the bioeconomy and bio-based value chains. Based on the lack of simultaneous integration of social, environmental and economic dimensions of sustainability and the small amount of work analyzing value chains in a holistic way, we propose to set up a methodology to analyze and build sustainable bio-based value chains based on the principles of eco-design and life cycle assessment, using the example of the creation of a borage micro value chain in the Hauts de France.