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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

  • Article - 19/09/2019

    Algae, for most of us, is something that lives in water courses that we occasionally find unpleasant. However, that is to do them a wrong. These extremely versatile and frugal organisms might in future prove to be extremely important. Scientists at the University of Stuttgart are investigating how algae can be used as microrobots in biomedicine and environmental remediation.

  • Dossier - 09/09/2019

    There is no way around it. Whether we like it or not, artificial intelligence (AI) has long been part of our lives, in traffic management, marketing campaigns or in the fields of medicine and life sciences. AI is omnipresent, often without us being aware of it. Baden-Württemberg is home to one of the largest AI research consortia in Europe and has recently become one of the European hotspots for this key technology.

  • Article - 02/09/2019

    While a cancer-free world may seem unrealistic given the increasing numbers of cancer cases, we need to reach a social consensus that cancer deaths are unacceptable and that everything possible must be done to prevent them. Leading cancer researchers around the world are calling for more investment in prevention research and cancer screening to move towards the vision of a near cancer-free world.

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