Action 18: Bioeconomy: Utilising bio-based raw materials and avoiding waste

We will add biogenic raw materials to our range of raw materials. These can be optimally utilised in various processing stages and then returned to the cycle. This avoids additional waste.

Where do we stand?

Biogenic resources are renewable and climate-neutral. This is because they never release more CO2 during their use than they have withdrawn from the atmosphere during their growth. Another advantage is that, due to their nature, they are particularly suitable for use in cycles or cascades. This includes material and energy recovery. For example, wood can be used first as building material, then as furniture wood, then as pressed wood and finally as fuel or compost. A limitation results from the availability of the land required for biomass production. In 2020, when the Federal Government adopted the National Bioeconomy Strategy, it committed itself to the vision of a sustainable, land-saving bio-based economy geared towards natural material cycles. The aim is to expand the resource base in a sustainable manner – in terms of the biomass put to use and the number and form of biological production organisms used on the one hand, and the technologies and methods employed to achieve this on the other.

What are the research needs?

Research should expand the range of bio-based substances. Novel bio-based production systems can, for example, provide tailor-made ingredients for industry. Current petrochemical-based substances, chemicals and products should be substituted by biogenic raw materials where possible. However, these can do more than just replace fossil fuels. With their help, completely new types of products and composite materials can be created, for example for house or car body construction. In addition, the reuse of bio-based residual and waste materials is increasingly coming into focus. This is where cascading and the return of materials to the circular economy must be optimised. We want to develop the necessary biotechnological processes, bring them to market maturity and promote their use in production.

Implementation steps and milestones

We will establish the German Bioeconomy Council in 2020, whose task will be to advise the Federal Government on issues relating to the implementation ofthe National Bioeconomy Strategy. The council willrepresent a broad range of expertise and will play anactive role in developing implementation scenariosfor the bioeconomy in Germany.

As part of the National Bioeconomy Strategy, wewant to examine the social, economic and politicalcorrelations for sustainable bio-based managementand will analyse the contribution of this economicactivity to sustainability. This means that, jointly with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, the Federal Ministry for the Environment and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs, we will continue to fundthe establishment of a monitoring system for thebioeconomy.

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