In the new gene technology report, the interdisciplinary working group of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (BBAW) takes stock of gene technology developments in Germany during the past few decades, and discusses the societal, legal and ethical challenges associated with these technologies in the future. The report is highly topical due to the controversy surrounding the ruling of the European Court of Justice on CRISPR/Cas9 genome…
Biodiversity is essential for functioning, stable ecosystems and the wellbeing of the human race. Despite conventions, resolutions and action plans for the protection of biological diversity at all political levels, the decline of species diversity is increasing dramatically all over the world, including Germany. Targeted projects and funding measures have been put in place with the objective of stopping this deadly trend.
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.
In cooperation with the research unit of the German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water (DVGW), KIT researchers have built a pilot plant in which biogas produced by fermenting residual organic materials can be upgraded to synthetic methane (synthetic SNG). Biobased methane is not only a sustainable energy source for the heating and transport sectors, but also opens up new opportunities for temporary storage of renewable…
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.
The term nanotechnology is known by well over 50 of Germans especially since the lotus effect hit the headlines in the late 1990s. Around the turn of the millennium bio was inserted between nano and technology and nanobiotechnology has since taken up more and more room in the headlines as well as requiring major financial investment. What is nanobiotechnology what is the difference between nanotechnology and nanobiotechnology and where and what…
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…
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.
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.
The University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Polish partner of the BalticBiomass4Value project, published a report which maps biomass value chains for improved sustainable energy use in the Baltic Sea Region countries. The research focuses on the 9 Baltic Sea Region (BSR) countries: Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, and Norway.
University of Hohenheim project contributes to maintaining valuable biotopes: Autonomous robot to help prune fruit trees so they stay healthy.
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.
European project with participation of the University of Hohenheim investigates how unprofitable fields can be used sustainably while adding value with renewable raw materials.
It is not the first time that spiders have served as biological models in the research field of soft robotics. The hydraulic actuation mechanisms they apply to move their limbs when weaving their web or hunting for prey give them powers many roboticists and engineers have drawn inspiration from.
Mealworms instead of fish meal and soybean meal - this is what the sustainable future of feed production looks like as Alpha-Protein GmbH see it. The company has built a highly efficient automated production plant in which residual materials from local food production are used to breed mealworms.
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.
As a rapidly growing renewable raw material, bamboo is an ideal substitute for wood. However, bamboo’s susceptibility to mold in damp conditions poses a problem. Researchers at Fraunhofer have now analyzed bamboo’s response to moisture under specific climatic conditions. By using simulation software, building owners can plan and implement measures to prevent the growth of mold.
The bio-based industries continue their ascent marking a total contribution of 780 billion EUR, a notable increase of 30 billion EUR (+ 4%) compared to 2017. This represents a more than 20% increase compared to 2008 which is the earliest data taken into account in this series of reports by nova-Institute. The first report of the series was first commissioned by the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) in 2017.
Hygiene and health company Essity is today presenting a breakthrough in sustainable tissue production and is beginning production based on pulp from wheat straw. The plant in Mannheim, Germany, is the first of its kind in Europe, and the first on a large-scale tissue production in the world.
A Fraunhofer team has successfully produced a dye using CO2 adsorbed from the air. The aim is to move towards a climate- and resource-friendly circular economy. Chemicals, as well as fuels, can be produced cost-effectively using this process. How does the technical process work, and what opportunities does it open up?
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.
Chitin is the main component of insect carapaces and ensures that they are both stable and flexible. The Chitinfluid research project, funded by the Carl Zeiss Foundation, focuses on the use of chitin in construction and aims to process chitin and its derivatives into sustainable materials. In a hybrid symposium under the auspices of Prof. Sabine Laschat from the University of Stuttgart, the project team discussed the current state of research…
If there were a competition for the ‘crop of the future’, hemp would certainly be at the top. But not because of the intoxicating effect of some hemp varieties. Cannabis has the potential to help supply protein in the quantities required by a growing world population – in a sustainable way. The TASTINO project brings together researchers from academia and industry to work on ways to make the regional superfood available as a vegan alternative.
fischertechnik has set a new milestone with the Animal Friends construction kit, as the building blocks and packaging are largely made of renewable resources and the models depict playful animals in new colours. The company is thereby taking another major step towards sustainability. The bio-based building set recently won the Toy Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the industry.
The Ministry for the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector is funding the new research project RoKKa which is used to prove the viability of recovering raw materials from wastewater. This adds a crucial function to the scope of a conventional sewage treatment plant. Together with the operators of the sewage treatment plants in Erbach and Neu-Ulm, the project partners demonstrate the positive contribution towards climate protection…
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.
Our wastewater not only contains dirt and excretions, but is also rich in carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus, which can be recovered. A sewage plant can thus become a source of raw materials. In the KoalAplan project, a new type of biorefinery will be used to convert the carbon recovered from wastewater into sustainable products.
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.
The German Research Foundation (DFG) has awarded the 2023 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize to Prof. Achim Menges, head of the Institute for Computational Design and Construction at the University of Stuttgart. The award, which is endowed with EUR 2.5 million, is considered by many the most important research prize in Germany.
BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg participates in the Horizon Europe ROBIN project to improve the participation of regional bioeconomy strategies and related policies across Europe.
Climate protection, agriculture and biodiversity are closely intertwined. Agriculture 5.0 provides positive guidance, as the Offenburg University of Applied Sciences has demonstrated: agrophotovoltaics (or agrivoltaics), which is currently in vogue in Germany, can be used to generate solar power on high-yield fields. Biomass strips and biochar remove CO2 from the atmosphere. All this improves soil quality and promotes biodiversity.
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