Petroleum is the raw material for basic chemicals. Growing demand and dwindling resources mean that the chemical industry is increasingly focusing on renewable resources. Lignin is a wood component that is proving to be a promising resource. It is currently almost exclusively used for generating energy, although it could also be used for other purposes. In Baden-Württemberg, a research consortium is specifically focused on exploring its…
Plant geneticists from Tübingen have used genome deletion to breed a variety of tomato that is resistant to powdery mildew. The CRISPR/Cas9 technology that they used enabled them to achieve this in a relatively short period of time. They also demonstrated beyond any doubt that the new tomato variety contains no foreign DNA and is indistinguishable from naturally occurring deletion mutants.
Decentralised, controllable and stable - renewable energy is an important component in the transition to a bioeconomy without fossil fuels. BIOPRO spoke to PD Dr. Andreas Lemmer from the State Institute of Agricultural Engineering and Bioenergy at the University of Hohenheim and Prof. Dr. Stefan Pelz, scientific director of the Institute for Applied Research and professorat the University of Applied Forest Sciences Rottenburg.
What will the packaging of the future look like, and what will be required of it? Can packaging be biobased, recyclable, sustainable and economic? In Baden-Württemberg, there are various approaches to developing packaging with the above properties from various sources including agricultural residual and side streams as well as municipal waste.
The demand for organic products is continuing to grow; at the same time nature is being preserved – so why not switch completely to organic farming? The answer is simple: because not everyone can afford it, and with current consumption patterns not everyone would get enough to eat. A cooperative project is researching an an agricultural system that falls between conventional and organic farming.
As healthy and tasty as mushrooms might be, they are good for much more than just the dinner plate. The Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT has now teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP to investigate the use of fungus-based materials for the fabrication of eco-friendly sound absorbers.
Pliable and robust, light and stable - it sounds like an ideal material for the construction and many other industries. A team of researchers at the University of Stuttgart is researching what purposes the naturally good properties of chitin can serve.
Biogas plants that produce non-fossil fuels are very much in vogue at the moment. In the Swabian hamlet of Hahnennest, four family farms have joined forces to form an energy park and operate a local biogas plant, covering everything from substrate production to the sale of energy.
Microbiologists at the University of Tübingen modify bacteria to produce climate-neutral and rapidly degradable bioplastics.
Systematically prepared and easily accessible research data can provide an essential basis for decision-making for a wide range of stakeholders from politics, science and industry. The resource database developed by the DBFZ, which contains a wealth of information on various biomass potentials and their current use, has been extensively expanded and is now also available in two languages (DE/EN) with a variety of new functionalities.
The study “Life and Biological Sciences and Technologies as Engines for Bio-based Innovation”, funded by the European Commission, DG Research and Innovation has been published and is now available for download from the website of the Publications Office of the European Union.
The pulp of coffee beans is considered a waste product on coffee plantations, which is usually thrown away or dumped into rivers - with significant negative consequences for climate change and the environment. Macarena San Martín-Ruiz from the University of Stuttgart is working with Coopetarrazú, the largest coffee cooperative in Costa Rica, to find out how the mixture of pulp and husks can be turned into organic compost and thus protect the…
The final report including comprehensive fact sheets of 25 applications is now available online in German and English.
The EU funded research project HyFlexFuel recently succeeded to produce biocrudes via hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) from a variety of biomasses, including sewage sludge, food waste, manure, wheat straw, corn stover, pine sawdust, miscanthus and microalgae in a pilot-scale continuous HTL plant at Aarhus University (Denmark).
The Hallertau is Germany's largest hop-growing region. During harvesting, hop bine chaff is left over, which is converted into environmentally friendly bio natural gas on site in a biogas plant. But that is not the end of the utilization chain for this fiber plant. Researchers at the German Institutes of Textile and Fiber Research Denkendorf (DITF) have used the plant-containing biogas digestate to produce a composite material that can be…
In the EU project REDWine, the CO2 produced during wine fermentation is captured and used to produce algae biomass. Novis GmbH from Tübingen supplies the complete system for CO2 utilisation. The aim of the project is to reduce the share of global warming caused by wine production in a way that is economical for producers.
The research project RUN (Rural Urban Nutrient Partnership) explores how waste might be used more efficiently as a resource. In this project, Veronika Fendel investigates how recyclable materials from biowaste and domestic wastewater can be fed back into the material cycle in the best possible way.
Straw cannot yet be spun into gold, but in Mannheim, Germany, it is being turned into something else of great value: Essity is the first and only company in Europe to produce toilet paper and kitchen rolls from wheat straw in a new pulp mill. From next year, these sustainable sanitary paper products will be found on supermarket shelves.
Once again Germany's no. 1 in agricultural research as well as food and nutritional science: The University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart. It remains in 7th place in Europe and comes in 34th place worldwide. This is the result of the latest Best Global Universities ranking by the U.S. magazine U.S. News & World Report in cooperation with Clarivate.
Making important raw materials for fine chemicals out of carbon dioxide really works. As part of the Max Planck collaborative project eBioCO2n, a team of researchers from Fraunhofer IGB have successfully performed a first ever fixation of CO2 via a multi-enzyme enzyme reaction driven by electricity yielding a prospective intermediate for the chemical industry. The process for electro-biocatalytic CO2 fixation was recently published and is…
Complicated cultivation, fluctuating yields and complex cleaning: Leisa – as lentils are called in Swabian – are demanding. So to produce lentils economically, 130 farmers in the Swabian Alb have joined forces and set up the organic producers’ association Alb-Leisa. Their lentil harvests are processed and marketed by a company called Lauteracher Alb-Feld-Früchte.
The "carbonauten minus CO2 factory 1" will start production of 4,000 t of CO2-reducing plastic granules annually at favorable prices in summer 2022.
All intact peatlands on our planet store twice the amount of CO2 as all forests. Peatlands are indispensable for preventing and mitigating the effects of climate change. The only problem is that 95 percent of Germany's peatlands have been drained, and thus release around 7 percent of Germany’s total CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. Rewetting is therefore imperative for the climate, the environment and biodiversity – and economically…
Insects on the dinner plate? Some people instantly dismiss the idea. Wrongly so, because in terms of animal welfare, ecological footprint and healthy nutrition, insect foods are much better than all other animal foods and are produced in a more controlled way. The fact that they can also taste really good is proven by the start-up Beneto Foods from Albstadt, which has developed protein-rich pasta in various flavours using cricket flour.
Fossil raw materials are limited and not available and extractable everywhere in the world – as we are becoming acutely aware of right now by the example of fossil fuels and rising energy prices. Renewable raw material sources will therefore play an increasingly important role in the future: as energy sources, but ideally also as suppliers of building blocks for more environmentally compatible chemicals and materials.
Saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world, because picking it involves a complex manual process. This treasure therefore comes to us mostly from countries such as Iran with poor working conditions and low wages. A start-up company called Innovation Matters from Baden-Württemberg is now developing a robot-assisted, automated process that will make saffron cultivation attractive in Germany as well as ecological and fair.
Climate change creates stress. This provides an opportunity for pests to exploit plant weaknesses and reproduce. For the infested plant, this can be catastrophic and often fatal. But instead of continuing to protect harvest yields with toxic substances as before, the transnational DialogProTec project is now taking a completely new approach: researchers want to intervene in the communication between plants and pests to keep them healthy.
Start for an EU-wide collaborative project: Under the leadership of the French company Fairbrics SAS, 17 project partners from 7 European countries are coming together. The common goal is to produce end products from polyester in a closed cycle using industrial CO2 emissions and to bring them to market maturity. The DITF produce synthetic fibers from plastics of non-fossil origin.
Milana will strengthen the research of the Cluster of Excellence Living, Adaptive and Energy-autonomous Materials (livMatS) in the field and work closely with scientists from the Freiburg Center for Interactive Materials and Bioinspired Technologies (FIT) and the Freiburg Materials Research Center (FMF).
What impacts do agrochemicals have on the ongoing global insect decline? Biologists at the University of Konstanz have found out that aversive learning is impaired in bumblebees exposed to glyphosate. Their study is published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.
The European Parliament’s amendments to the proposal for a Regulation on Artificial Intelligence (AI) may be defined as a socio-ecological turnaround compared to the European Commission’s existing draft. The parliamentary draft proposes a series of environmental and climate-related provisions which, in the Oeko-Institut’s view, are feasible and technically achievable. The Oeko-Institut has reviewed these proposals in a Policy Paper.
The Cultivated B (TCB) began discussions with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and officially entered the pre-submission process for novel food approval of a novel or non-farmed sausage product. Subsequent to the official submission, TCB will emerge as world’s first biotech company to apply for EFSA certification for cultivated meat. This is a pivotal first step in the evolution of the cultivated meat market.
Doubling food production, saving water, and increasing carbon storage capacity – this may sound paradoxical, but would be theoretically feasible. Reaching this goal, however, would require a radical spatial reorganization of land use. This is the conclusion of researchers from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Heidelberg Institute for Geoinformation Technology (HeiGIT) of Heidelberg University.
Industry has been using enzymes for over a hundred years. While it initially had to content itself with natural enzymes, it is now increasingly possible to design tailor-made biocatalysts with specific properties. The start-up company candidum GmbH from Stuttgart promises to achieve this faster than ever before - mostly thanks to accelerated virtual screening.
Systems biology studies complex interactions within biological systems on the genome proteome and organelle level. Many techniques from the fields of systems theory and associated fields can be used to gain an understanding of the behaviour and biological mechanisms of cellular systems.
Across the EU, more than 300 billion items of packaging are not recycled every year because they consist of a mixture of different materials. Monomaterial packaging on the other hand is easy to recycle. However, it needs to be coated with ultra-thin barrier layers to protect delicate products just as well as compound materials do.
Basic chemicals, which are needed as raw materials for a wide range of products such as medicines and detergents, can currently only be produced with an enormously high input of energy and raw materials. In many cases, fossil fuels and raw materials are still used. The extraction of chemical substances alone requires high temperatures, expensive catalysts made of precious metals and, in some cases, environmentally harmful starting materials.
BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg participates in the Horizon Europe ROBIN project to improve the participation of regional bioeconomy strategies and related policies across Europe.
In addition to sunlight water and wind biogas is a regenerative source of energy that contributes to saving fossil resources. Germany is home to around 7100 biogas plants including 796 as of 2011 in Baden-Württemberg. In 2010 these facilities produced 11 per cent of the electricity generated from renewables in Germany. Energy-rich methane is the major constituent of biogas and is produced when organic compounds are broken down by bacteria in the…
Plastic waste takes years to decompose and pollutes the environment. Nevertheless, plastics are an indispensable part of everyday life. It is therefore all the more important to find a meaningful alternative that is sustainable, environmentally friendly and has better properties and more functionality than conventional plastics. In addition, such an alternative should not be dependent in any way on fossil resources.
He swam the entire length of the River Rhine to draw attention to the contamination of rivers and oceans with plastic waste. After completing his mammoth swim, Prof. Dr. Andreas Fath decided to kill two birds with one stone and do something useful with microplastics. At the Furtwangen University of Applied Sciences campus in Villingen-Schwenningen, Fath is working on a filter system made of plastic waste that can be used to remove pollutants from…
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.
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.
Lentil plants, rarely cultivated in Central Europe in the twentieth century, are making a comeback. The "Rhizo-Linse"1 EIP-AGRI project aims to reintroduce old lentil varieties and make them appealing to farmers. A company called nadicom Gesellschaft für angewandte Mikrobiologie mbH is working on the development of an ecological product consisting of nodule bacteria that can improve lentil plant growth.
Modern packaging often boils down to a tick list of biogenic origin and/or biodegradability. But comprehensive sustainable packaging concepts need more than just that. Perishable foods, for example, require special barrier properties. The Albstadt-Sigmaringen University of Applied Sciences is researching packaging concepts for their sustainability.
Many consumers don't care about exactly how their paper packaging is made and what it is made of as long as it is "eco". But even producing recycled paper, trees need to be felled. An alternative could be paper made from cup plant. Together with partners, a company called Silphie Paper has developed concept for obtaining fibres for a new type of grass paper, while also producing heat, energy and nutrients for natural fertilisers.
The European Commission agreed on the successor of BBI JU – the Circular Bio-based Europe Joint Undertaking (CBE JU) in a legislative proposal adopted today. The new partnership between the EU and the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) is expected to build on the success of BBI JU while stepping up its contribution to the EU’s climate targets, in line with the European Green Deal. The European Parliament and Council will now study the…
The amount of plastic waste increases every year. Some of this waste is due to plastic packaging used to protect food. As part of the “BioActiveMaterials” project, researchers at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft have developed an eco-friendly coating for paper packaging. With this, not only is plastic saved, but the coating of plant-based proteins and waxes also extends the shelf life of the food.
The Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) has signed the grant agreements with 18 new projects, selected for funding under the 2020 Call for proposals. 199 beneficiaries from 26 countries across the EU and beyond will receive BBI JU’s financial support worth €104.5 million. This is the seventh and last BBI JU call which will bring the total investment of the initiative to €821.6 million and the BBI JU’s portfolio to 142 projects.
Microorganisms are the oldest, most abundant, and most diverse life forms on earth and offer enormous potential for biotechnological applications. To date, however, only a fraction of them could be isolated and cultivated. The “MicroMATRIX” research project, funded with € 1.5 million by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and led by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), aims to shed more light on the microbial darkness.
Refuels are renewable fuels that can be produced in different ways. When they are mixed and processed such that they meet the existing fuel standards, they are suited for all types of combustion engines. This is the result of the latest vehicle and fleet tests within the project “reFuels – Rethinking Fuels” at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Compared to fully fossil fuels, refuel mixes allow for a CO2 reduction by 25% at least. Moreover,…
Expanded polystyrene (EPS) packaging is very practical, but it is made from petroleum and is not very environmentally friendly in other ways either. Single-use plastic containers made of EPS have therefore been banned in the EU, but alternatives are also urgently needed. The Stuttgart-based start-up PROSERVATION has developed an ecological packaging material made from grain husks that could replace EPS and be just as effective.
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