Bioeconomy – Innovations for foresight value creation

Our topics and projects in the field of bioeconomy

Microalgae biotechnology

for the bioeconomy

Bacteria and fungi

for the bioeconomy

Enzymes

for the bioeconomy

Bioeconomy

Fossil resources such as crude oil and natural gas are currently still indispensable as starting materials for the production of basic chemicals. However, in view of global population growth and rising living standards, the current oil-based economy is reaching its limits, especially with regard to climate-relevant environmental aspects. For example, the use of fossil raw materials has contributed significantly to an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide or the littering of the oceans. And the availability of fossil resources is limited.   

Biomass represents an alternative and renewable raw material basis for the production of chemical products. Its use and conversion is the basis of a biobased economy, in short bioeconomy. The aim is to bring economy and ecology into harmony to the greatest possible extent – in other words, to make processes both environmentally compatible and economical so that new processes can be applied on a large scale as quickly as possible. If renewable raw materials, biogenic residues – or directly carbon dioxide (CO2) – are used instead of fossil carbon sources for the production of chemicals, this helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the climate, thus enabling the implementation of sustainability goals in the sense of a sustainable bioeconomy in the future.

Innovations for foresight value creation

 

“I THINK THE BIGGEST INNOVATIONS OF THE 21ST CENTURY WILL BE AT THE INTERSECTION OF BIOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY. A NEW ERA IS BEGINNING.“

 

Steve Jobs

This quote, like many innovation impulses of our time, originates from the environment of digitization and yet is also considered a signpost for the transition of fossil-based economic systems.

The statement supports the entry into a new age of a knowledge-driven, biobased, resource-efficient and circular economy – in short, the sustainable bioeconomy.

The German Bioeconomy Council defines the bioeconomy as the production and use of biological resources to provide products, processes and services in all economic sectors within the framework of a sustainable economic system.

In order to implement this claim, society needs innovations in all the areas mentioned and, beyond that, the networking of all disciplines and sectors within the framework of a holistic, agile and thus adaptive system approach. This approach makes it possible to reconcile environmental protection with economic and social interests.

As a holistic systems approach, the bioeconomy is the motor for the implementation of sustainability goals, taking into account ecology, society and economy.

This is also our guiding theme at Fraunhofer IGB. We follow it with the development of new approaches for a sustainable economy, by using biobased, regenerative resources and biological systems and by designing procedures and processes according to the principle of a circular economy. In this way, we combine economic value creation with environmental and climate protection.



Bioeconomy – Science Year 2020

The bioeconomy is the economic form of the future and provides the solutions to live and work more sustainably in order to secure our standard of living.

 

Fraunhofer IGB is partner in the Science Year 2020

For more than 40 years, Fraunhofer IGB has been researching the development and utilization of biological resources, processes and systems in order to provide methods for a sustainable, biobased economic system oriented on natural material cycles. Learn more about our concepts and strategies to combat climate change.

Our research topics

Find out about current projects in which we are developing processes for manufacturing sustainable and biodegradable products. Find out about our activities to use alternative resources such as microalgae, renewable raw materials and biogenic residues, to recycle valuable materials or recover them for reuse. Discover as our company partner here the possibilities for your contemporary production.  

Microalgae biotechnology

  • Microalgae biorefinery
    Project FuTuReS – Economic and ecological evaluation of a biorefinery approach for the production of fucoxanthin and EPA on a pilot scale and transdisciplinary developed scenarios on an industrial scale in Germany
  • Production of valuable substances (omega-3 fatty acids (EPA), fucoxanthin) for cosmetics, food and feed
    Project MIATEST – Functional ingredients from algae for health-promoting food and as plant strengthening agent in viticulture
  • Efficient extraction processes for the processing of valuable substances
  • New modularized reactor concept and intelligent control
  • Scaling of microalgae-based processes and customized production of functional ingredients
 

Microalgae produce a large number of basic chemical substances such as vitamins, fatty acids or carotenoids, using sunlight as an energy source and CO2 as a carbon source.

Innovation fields

Reference projects

Use of wood/lignocellulose

  • Lignocellulose biorefinery
    Digestion of wood as raw material and its fractionation into the basic chemical constituents lignin and sugar or fiber
  • Cellulase production on a large scale
    Project 2GEnzymes – Enzymatically optimized organosolv fractionation with integrated enzyme production
  • High-value intermediates (high purity xylan) from beech wood
    Project XyloSolv – Sequential extraction process for the production of high-value intermediates from beech wood
 

The focus is on pulping of lignocellulosic raw materials and the fractionation of biomass into its basic chemical components lignin and sugars or fibers.

Use of biopolymers, production of biobased polymers

  • Synthesis of biobased monomers and polymers
  • Building blocks from terpenes
    Project TerPa – Terpenes as building blocks for biobased polyamides
  • Insect biorefinery – holistic use of insect skins, proteins and fats
    Project ChitoTex – Development and production of new insect chitosan and chitosan based functional coatings for yarns and textile fabrics
  • Bopolymers for packaging materials
    Microbially produced biodegradable biopolymer; the producing microorganisms are able to transform sustainable carbon sources like methane from the biogas production, sugars derived from cellulose and hemicellulose from forestry and agricultural residues, and glycerol resulting from biodiesel production.
    Project SusPackaging – Sustainable production of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) for packaging materials
 

Starting from renewable raw materials such as sugar, rapeseed oil or algae lipids, we have identified biotechnological synthesis pathways for basic materials for plastics production, such as short- and long-chain dicarboxylic acids.

Biosurfactants – Biobased alternatives for cleaning and cosmetics

  • Microbial biosurfactant production
    using renewable raw materials such as lignocellulose-based sugar solutions or vegetable oils as substrate in the culture medium
  • Optimization of the fermentative production of biosurfactants
    Project SurfGlyco – Improved strategies for the biotechnological production of tailor-made biosurfactants
  • Selection and optimization of biocatalysts
  • Scale-up to pilot plant scale to m³
 

Various fungi naturally secrete the biosurfactants MEL and CL with broad application potential, e.g. as cleaning agents or as emulsifiers.

 

Power-to-X

  • Recovery of CO2
    Project Celbicon – Cost-effective carbon dioxide conversion into chemicals and
    Project CO2EXIDE – CO2-based electrosynthesis of ethylene oxide
  • Electricity-based fuels and chemicals
    Project SynLink – Synthetic e-fuels as key enabler for sector linking
    Fraunhofer Electrolysis Platform Leuna ELP; Hy2Chem platform
 

Due to the availability of renewable electrical energy, the chemical and energy sectors will increasingly merge in the future, as the redox equivalents generated can be used for synthesis processes in power-to-x processes.

Sustainable bioeconomy for the environment

  • Flexible production of bioenergy
    Project NextGenBiogas – Flexible production of bioenergy can contribute stability for power grids
  • Water reuse
    Project Hypowave – Water reuse in agriculture
 

Following the example of natural material cycles, developments to increase the efficiency of biogas plants, to recover recyclable materials and to reuse water are an important contribution.

Reference projects

Our events

Visit our events and lectures. You are cordially invited!

Conference | June 17–18, 2020 in Halle (Saale)

9th Bioeconomy

Conference | June 30, 2020 to July 2, 2020

BIOKET (online)

This digital event will combine presentations by webinar and virtual B2B.

Forum | June 30, 2020 to July 1, 2020, Stuttgart

Biowaste forum

This forum will be held as a live web conference in german. Dr. Zibek will give a lecture on 30 June with the company Hermetia on the subject of innovative material recycling processes for biowaste.

Science Year | from August 2020, Germany-wide

MS Science

On board we will be demonstrating our bio-washing machine, which makes the biology in detergents visible and tangible.

Congress | September 21–22, 2020, Hohenheim

3rd International Bioeconomy Congress

 

Colloquium | September 24, 2020, Stuttgart

Colloquium on wastewater and waste treatment

Forum | October 5–6, 2020, Frankfurt am Main

EFIB

European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology & the Bioeconomy

Congress | Oktober 28–30, 2020, Berlin

SEPAWA

Meeting place for the detergents, cleaners, cosmetics and fragrance industry in Europe

Conference | March 16–18, 2021 in Lille (France)

BIOKET

The IGB will have an exhibition booth at the BIOKET biomass conference in Lille and present in different sessions results on the development and scale-up of biotechnological and catalytic processes.

Further events

Contact

Sabine Krieg, MBA

Contact Press / Media

Dipl.-Agr.-Biol. Sabine Krieg, MBA

Business Development | Head of High Performance Center Mass Personalization

Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB
Nobelstr. 12
70569 Stuttgart

Phone +49 711 970-4003

Fax +49 711 970-4200

Gerd Unkelbach

Contact Press / Media

Gerd Unkelbach

Head of Leuna Site | Head of Business Area Sustainable Chemistry

Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes CBP
Am Haupttor (Tor 12, Bau 1251)
06237 Leuna

Phone +49 3461 43-9101

Fax +49 3461 43-9199

Ursula Schließmann

Contact Press / Media

Dr.-Ing. Ursula Schließmann

Head of Business Area Environment

Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB
Nobelstr. 12
70569 Stuttgart

Phone +49 711 970-4222

Fax +49 711 970-4200