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Materials and chemicals

Biomass can be used to produce chemicals, fibres, pigments and plastics. These products are either identical to their petroleum-based counterparts or have completely new properties. Biorefineries will play a key role in the transition to a bioeconomy. There is great expectation placed on the potential ability to convert the countless carbon compounds in biomass into chemicals and material components.

  • Article - 07/04/2021

    It is estimated that by 2050, if not before, the world's population will have grown so much that it will be difficult to provide adequate supplies of food for everyone. It is therefore high time to look for alternatives. One option could be insects as an environmentally friendly source of protein for humans and animals. The start-up company Cepri is developing smart insect farms with the goal to make primary production, which is not yet…

  • Development of biogenic packaging - 16/11/2020

    Modern packaging often boils down to a tick list of biogenic origin and/or biodegradability. But comprehensive sustainable packaging concepts need more than just that. Perishable foods, for example, require special barrier properties. The Albstadt-Sigmaringen University of Applied Sciences is researching packaging concepts for their sustainability.

  • Phosphorus recovery from sewage sludge - 21/10/2020

    Biotechnology for the bioeconomy: in something known as the P-bac process, sulphur bacteria extract phosphorus from sewage sludge ash. Phosphorus is one of the key building blocks of life and an essential nutrient for plant growth. When there is not enough phosphorus in the soil, farmers apply it via organic or mineral fertilisers.

  • Producing valuable new products from waste materials - 07/01/2020

    Eco-friendly and responsibly manufactured products are more in demand than ever before. Specific research is being carried out into materials and applications for a wide variety of uses. The Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB is working with Hermetia Baruth GmbH on the vision of an insect biofactory that uses waste materials to produce a wide range of products such as biosurfactants, animal feed or foils.

  • Article - 30/01/2019

    Industry has been using enzymes for over a hundred years. While it initially had to content itself with natural enzymes, it is now increasingly possible to design tailor-made biocatalysts with specific properties. The start-up company candidum GmbH from Stuttgart promises to achieve this faster than ever before - mostly thanks to accelerated virtual screening.

  • Article - 07/12/2016

    Insects have an external skeleton composed mainly of chitin. Chitin is a long-chain polysaccharide with functional groups that make it a valuable biopolymer for a broad range of applications. Chitin is an almost inexhaustible resource, as it is constantly produced in huge quantities throughout nature. Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology (IGB) and six cooperation partners are working on…

  • Bionics - 24/11/2016

    It’s a great idea: everyday products that can repair themselves. Although it’s still a pipedream, the foundations are already being laid in a series of investigations being carried out by Dr. Olga Speck from the University of Freiburg. Dr. Speck is a botanist who is studying wound-healing reactions in plants to try and find mechanisms that can be used as models for developing materials with “self-healing powers”.

  • Article - 12/09/2016

    In the EU alone, more than 250,000 tons of seashell waste are discarded every year. The exoskeleton of crustaceans consists of proteins, calcium carbonate and chitin, a long-chain sugar molecule which could be used to produce valuable building blocks for the polymer industry. Scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology (IGB) in Stuttgart have developed a biotechnological process aimed at a sustainable…

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