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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

  • Dossier - 15/11/2019

    The negative image of plastic persists and is not getting any better in the face of the ongoing debate about microplastics which are basically everywhere. Plastic pollutes the environment. The globe is littered with huge quantities. We have to modify the production and utilisation of macroplastics as well as fundamentally rethink the way we dispose of them. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ mentality must become a thing of the past.

  • Article - 08/11/2019

    It is difficult to place drugs in the right place in the eye. When using droplets, only a small fraction of the drug reaches its target. Injecting drugs into the eye is also more a matter of luck than judgement. Basic researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems Stuttgart have developed a nanorobot that can be loaded with active ingredients for treating eye diseases and directed through the solid tissue of the vitreous body.

  • Article - 30/10/2019

    Can greenhouse gases like CO2 and methane be used to fuel cars? What sounds like wishful thinking is in fact already reality at INERATEC. The company’s compact mobile systems equipped with a unique chemical reactor technology are attracting worldwide interest. The systems enable CO2-free mobility for road traffic, aviation and shipping. Is this development close to successful market entry?

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