More than 370 people gathered at the 1st Baden-Württemberg Bioeconomy Congress in Stuttgart on 29th and 30th October 2014. The event, which was jointly organized by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts, the University of Hohenheim and BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH, was aimed at stimulating discussion on ways to reconcile the pursuit of economic growth with the desire for greater sustainability.
The bioeconomy, or biobased economy, is a new model for industry and the economy. It involves using renewable biological resources sustainably to produce food, energy and industrial goods. It also exploits the untapped potential stored within millions of tons of biological waste and residual materials.
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A bioeconomy is the introduction of a biobased economy and the promise of sustainably manufactured goods. The head of the Institute of Forest Utilisation at the University of Freiburg Prof. Dr. Gero Becker examines the efficiency and sustainability of the provision of timber and forestry products and focusses on the issue as to how wood residues can be industrially recycled.
BBW ForWerts, the graduate programme within Baden-Württemberg’s strategic Bioeconomy Research Programme, offers PhD students a three-year interdisciplinary curriculum to work on their own research project and gain insights into other bioeconomy-related research priorities. The interdisciplinary approach, which also includes working with industrial partners and research institutions, provides students with the knowledge required for making the structural shift to a sustainable biobased economy and dealing with the associated challenges.
Major impulses for the transition to a bioeconomy must come from the international and national level. This has been the case for Europe and Germany and is driven forward by programmes that have been launched by national and European governments
At the Global Bioeconomy Summit held in Berlin in November 2015, international agendas were adopted that aim to integrate the bioeconomy as part of the development of a sustainable global economy and the fight against man-made global warming. The Summit also called for halting the further deterioration of planetary environmental processes to ensure a sustainable future.
The ”EXI High-tech Startup Voucher” programme is jointly offered by Steinbeis-Beratungszentrum Existenzgründung and BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg and addresses company founders in the high-tech sector. BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg provides advice to company founders in the fields of life sciences, the healthcare industry and the bioeconomy.
More than 80 people came to the Bioeconomy Showcase held to mark the launch of the new Akteursplattform Bioökonomie Baden-Württemberg. Participants enthusiastically sketched out ideas for the BMBF’s idea contest “New products for the Bioeconomy”.
The use of wood and other renewable raw materials for the production of industrial goods presents opportunities and risks. Is the shift from petroleum to wood possible and how can such a shift be best achieved? A research project at the University of Freiburg combines forestry know-how with political science methodology in order to sound out the bioeconomy.
The 2014 Hannover Messe was held from 7th to 11th April and 5,000 exhibitors from over 100 countries attracted around 180,000 visitors. The joint bioeconomy showcase "View on Biobased Economy - Bioeconomy" organized by BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH was once again present this year at the IndustrialGreenTec trade show, which provided insights into current bioeconomy research as well as visionary insights into the bioeconomy as it could be in 2030.
BIOPROs Bioeconomy Baden-Württembergs path towards a sustainable future status report provides insights into the world of bioeconomy and also information about the measures that the Baden-Württemberg government is taking to support the transition from a fossil-fuel economy to one based on biological resources. The bilingual English and German report can be downloaded from the BIOPRO website.
On the one hand, a bioeconomy relies on renewable resources to meet society’s need for food, energy and industrial products. On the other, it emphasises the role of biogenic material flows. The bioeconomy model is expected to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels in the long term. In order to implement the shift from a fossil-based economy to a biobased economy on the regional level, the Baden-Württemberg government launched the Bioeconomy Research Strategy in summer 2013.
The bioeconomy is not only a major social challenge. It is also a complex thematic area that covers many scientific fields. The University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart has just published a strategy paper with the bioeconomy as a core topic of its research activities. Heike Laue talked with the universitys rector Prof. Dr. Stephan Dabbert about the paper.
As in previous years, BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH participated in this year’s Hannover Messe, the world’s biggest industrial fair. With the USA as partner country and the lead theme ”Integrated Industry – Discover Solutions”, the 2016 trade fair attracted more than 190,000 visitors from around the world. From 25th to 29th April, visitors to hall 2 were able to discover biobased products and experience an economy that runs without fossil resources.
Biotechnologists are increasingly learning how to apply the knowledge about biological metabolic processes in the field of environmental protection including waste management and environmental rehabilitation. Environmental biotechnology is a field with great potential. In future bacteria and other microorganisms will most likely also contribute to sustainability and cost efficiency in other areas including the cosmetics and detergent industry as well as in the production of fine and bulk chemicals.
The conversion of undeveloped land into residential areas and roads in Baden-Württemberg has in fact fallen by fifty percent in the past ten years, but there is still a long way to go before land management becomes sustainable. Detailed studies on the changing conditions of land use are necessary in order to develop practical concepts for environmentally compatible planning.
About 20 participants from industry and politics attended the first kick-off meeting of the Special Interest Group (SIG) for Biopolymers/Bioplastics which was recently held in Stuttgart. Also present were representatives from research institutes that are focused on biopolymers and could thus make an important contribution to the discussions.