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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

  • Producing valuable new products from waste materials - 07/01/2020

    Eco-friendly and responsibly manufactured products are more in demand than ever before. Specific research is being carried out into materials and applications for a wide variety of uses. The Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB is working with Hermetia Baruth GmbH on the vision of an insect biofactory that uses waste materials to produce a wide range of products such as biosurfactants, animal feed or foils.

  • Biosensors - 03/12/2019

    Biosensors are used in medical diagnostics and food and environmental analyses, to name just a few examples. apic.ai, a start-up based in Karlsruhe, uses honey bees as bioindicators to gain insights into the state of the ecosystem. The company also uses artificial intelligence (AI) methods for their ecotoxicological investigations.

  • 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