EmilevanZylinLeiden2016A biofuels expert from Stellenbosch University, Prof. Emile van Zyl, is one of 24 international experts who will gather at the Dutch Royal Academy’s Netherland Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS) in Leiden this week.

The purpose of the workshop is to define key leverage actions to enable the establishment of a biobased economy in order to mitigate the impacts of climate change and support sustainable development.

Prof. Van Zyl is holder of the South African research chair in Biofuel and other clean alternative fuels at Stellenbosch University.

According to Prof. Patricia Ossenweijer, organiser of the workshop, most plans and projects acknowledge the potential of biobased technology, but do not offer solutions on how to deal with the difficulties of change, vested interests and cultural values in the transition to a such an economy.

“It is necessary to understand the complexity of the whole system before you can start to develop successful solutions,” she says in a media release issued by the Dutch Royal Society.

During the workshop, top experts will be challenged to take the broader picture into account and consider biodiversity, opportunities for biomass production by poor nations, helping energy and food security and social development, as well as the implementation of biofuels and bioenergy systems in western societies.

The conclusions from the workshop will provide crucial input for climate mitigation action plans resulting from the recent climate change negotiations in Paris.

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