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Processes and technologies in the bioeconomy

The state of Baden-Württemberg is characterised by strong economic expertise in the field of plant and mechanical engineering as well as excellent research institutions in the fields of biology, biotechnology, bioprocess engineering and chemistry. These form an excellent basis for a sustainable economy by promoting technology development and innovation for tomorrow’s bioeconomy.

The creation of a biobased economy requires process innovations that enable the efficient utilisation of raw and residual materials. Process innovations in the bioeconomic sense include processes and technologies that use biogenic raw and residual materials as the starting substrate, as well as biobased processes that exploit the metabolic activities of living organisms such as microorganisms, bacteria or algae. In both cases, the goal must be to develop sustainable, flexible and cost-effective processes that can be scaled up quickly to industrial scale.

A huge variety of methods and processes is used in the bioeconomic area. The overall aim is to achieve a coupled and cascading use of biogenic raw material resources and residual materials. The main focus is on simple and combined chemical, physical and biotechnological/-catalytic conversion technologies.

The biorefinery concept is an intelligent and promising solution for replacing oil with biomass as a raw material to produce fuels, power, heat and chemicals. Biorefineries integrate different biomass conversion processes and technologies. The biorefinery approach is based on a holistic utilisation of biomass for producing value-added (intermediate) products. Thus, biorefineries aim for zero-waste biomass utilisation by applying efficient technologies to convert biomass into energy and products.

However, a biorefinery does not necessarily need to combine all process steps in one plant. Depending on the location, even small, modular plants can be the right choice for creating value with biomass. It is important that biomass digestion and conversion processes are resource-tolerant and flexible to take account of different biomass compositions and quantities of waste and thus process different material flows in one process step.

As the situation stands, new and improved technologies and processes are mainly being implemented in pilot and demonstration plants. Further efforts are needed to transfer applications to an industrial scale.

Processes and technologies in the bioeconomy

  • Project BW2Pro - 29/08/2022

    In 2020, Germany’s population collected over 5 million tonnes of biowaste. Most of this was composted, and some was fermented into biogas. Scientists in Baden-Württemberg think there's room for more. Within the project ‘Biowaste to Products’ (BW2Pro) they want to transform biowaste into new products in a biorefinery. The idea is to produce biodegradable plant pots, mulch material, fertilisers, enzymes and biobased plastics in addition to…

  • Mini-factories for producing bioplastics - 05/05/2022

    Using living cells as mini-factories to produce plastic from nothing more than water, sunlight and carbon dioxide; plastic that is also 100 percent degradable – it sounds far-fetched but it actually works: researchers at the University of Tübingen have genetically engineered cyanobacteria so that they fill their cells to the brim with polyhydroxybutyrate. The researchers are now turning the idea into reality with the development of pilot plants.

  • Lentil cleaning - EIP-AGRI Rhizo-Linse project - 26/04/2022

    The Altdorf mill, just under 7 km south of the city of Böblingen, has operated lentil cleaning facilities since 2019, the year that the Sessler mill in Renningen, 20 km further north, ceased all operations including lentil cleaning. After receiving a number of enquiries from farmers and local mills, brothers Karl and Jörg Ruthardt took a chance and launched a lentil cleaning operation in addition to their mill and farm shop business.

Website address: https://www.biooekonomie-bw.de/en/bw/definition/processes-and-technologies-in-the-bioeconomy