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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 - 06-Mar-2017

    Along with cellulose, lignin is one of the most common organic compounds on earth. Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT are working on optimising the yield of aromatic platform chemicals using innovative sustainable processes for the extraction and fractionation of lignin. The ultimate goal is to provide an alternative to petroleum in the pharmaceutical, plastics and food industries.

  • Article - 07-Dec-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 developing a biotechnological method for making insect chitin usable for coating textiles.

  • Article - 05-Dec-2016

    Junior professor Dr.-Ing. Hanaa Dahy and her team from the ITKE in Stuttgart are developing everyday biobased materials that have a wide range of possible applications. The materials can be used for thermal insulation, designer furniture, yoga mats or resilient flooring in sports halls. The researchers use techniques from the plastics industry to process recyclable and compostable materials.

  • Article - 24-Nov-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 - 25-Oct-2016

    Mosca GmbH, a family-run company, produces strapping machines and strapping tape for the transport of goods. Sustainability is one of the company's core concerns and has been successfully applied to their products for many years. A further move towards sustainability is a biobased strapping tape made of polylactic acid (PLA), which has been available since 2016.

  • Article - 12-Sep-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 use of this type of waste in the future.

  • Article - 01-Sep-2016

    Scientists have developed a biotechnological process to produce bacterial alginate. The alginate quality is highly reproducible, making it suitable for the production of fibre-based medicinal products such as wound dressings.

Website address: https://www.biooekonomie-bw.de/en/articles/materials/