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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

  • pre-start-up company Wheyfinery - 13/04/2022

    There is not much you can do with acid whey, which is why several million litres of it are disposed of every year. This is both costly and not sustainable. However, researchers at Tübingen University have shown: acid whey can be used to produce precursors for biofuels, fine chemicals and antimicrobial livestock feed additives. They have set up the pre-start-up company Wheyfinery in an endeavour to make their scalable biorefinery concept…

  • Filament winding technology for sustainable construction - 06/04/2022

    One of the greatest challenges in the construction industry is the transition to more environmentally friendly and resource-saving buildings. Researchers at the University of Stuttgart are combining state-of-the-art robotic filament winding technologies with ancient local crops to produce stable and sustainable lightweight structures from flax fibres.

  • Natural fibers in use - 15/02/2022

    Ansmann AG from Assamstadt provides mobile energy solutions with a focus on sustainability. The BioBattery project, which was awarded the Baden-Württemberg Bioeconomy Innovation Prize, saw Ansmann AG working with the Fraunhofer LBF in Darmstadt to develop a natural fibre reinforced plastic composite for use in e-bike battery cases.

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