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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 - 03-May-2018

    The environmental footprint of petroleum-based plastic products does not look good. Alternatives for plastic production involving renewable raw materials are now being sought. Wood is experiencing a renaissance. Prof. Dr. Marie-Pierre Laborie, who holds the Chair of Forest Biomaterials at the University of Freiburg, and her team are researching the potential use of lignin, the natural glue in wood.

  • Article - 15-Jan-2018

    The aim of the joint three-year "PULaCell" project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) is to develop biobased reinforcing profiles for solid wood construction materials. As part of the project, several research institutes and industrial companies are developing biobased, cellulose fibre-reinforced polyurethane profiles that will make future wood-based materials stronger.

  • Article - 03-Aug-2017

    Glass fibre-reinforced plastics have become an integral part of our everyday life: in cars, playground slides, swimming pools or on facades, such composites are used wherever stability is required. Unfortunately, both production and disposal are far from sustainable. Scientists from the German Institutes for Textile and Fiber Research Denkendorf have now developed an innovative material made from pure cellulose, which has practically the same basic mechanical properties as glass fibre-reinforced plastics, but can be produced simply and non-toxically, and is also fully recyclable.

  • Article - 05-Apr-2017

    Petroleum is required for producing fuels as well as many everyday items. However, as petroleum resources are dwindling, researchers are carrying out intensive research into possible alternatives. Wood might be one such alternative. It is a renewable resource that can potentially be used as a raw material for many products manufactured by the chemical industry.

  • Article - 28-Mar-2017

    Biogranules are a starting point for the production of a wide range of novel biobased materials: in a BMBF-funded project called ”EnzymaCell”, a company called TECNARO and its cooperation partners have developed thermoplastic biofoils. The innovative combination of cellulose and natural additives has led to a material with many application possibilities.

  • 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.

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