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Renewable chemicals are a new category of novel products: building blocks and ingredients for the production of chemicals produced from renewable feedstock and sustainable advanced manufacturing processes, leaving a smaller environmental footprint than traditional petrochemicals. Biologically based products are mainly non-food products derived from biomass.

Renewable chemicals represent a market opportunity predicted to grow from US$2.8 billion in 2011 to US$98.5 billion by 2020, driven by consumers demanding safer and more environmentally friendly products and the creation of a market advantage by using novel products in the manufacturing process. Renewable chemicals are a sustainable diversification option for rangeland irrigation precincts, where cold chain management, distance to markets and market competitiveness are negatively influencing traditional horticultural production. As most of the plant species suitable for renewable chemical production are perennials, production may also sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by replacing petrochemicals.

This scoping study has identified several plant species that have potential for growing under rangeland irrigation in Western Australia. Moringa oleifera was one of the species with the highest potential because of its multiple uses, with applications in the food, health, animal feed and chemical industry. The Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) initiated an investigation into the commercial use of M oleifera leaf protein as a substitute for animal protein in food — a rapidly growing market, forecast to reach US$43 billion in 2020 — and the impact of plant growth stimulants extracted from M. oleifera on wheat yield.

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renewable chemicals, bioproducts, rangelands, Moringa oleifera


Plant Sciences | Sustainability


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Renewable chemicals and bioproducts: a potential for agricultural diversification and economic development