What is the bioeconomy?
The bioeconomy encompasses all of the economic sectors that refine biogenic resources using physical, chemical and biotech processes with the aim of producing primary, intermediate and end products. The bioeconomy is therefore made up of a variety of sectors that have, until now, been regarded separately; however, because of their common resource “biomass” they are increasingly interlinked with one another. This interlinking brings with it new challenges that have to be overcome. Not only does this involve the development and market launch of new production processes – particularly with regard to the material use of biomass – but also the cooperative collaboration that spans industry borders and exists between economic sectors that have developed systematically different experiences, factors for success and procedures. The valuable biomass resource can only be used efficiently and effectively by working sensibly together.
The joint guiding vision of bioeconomics is to establish corresponding coupled production and cascade utilisation processes whereby the participating branches provide the resources and by-products which they do not need themselves to be used as raw materials in other sectors.
In the past few years revenues from the bioeconomy have risen approximately 13 % per year in the European Union. EU-wide more than 21 million people are employed in all bioeconomy sectors producing around two trillion euros in annual revenues. In Germany around two million people contribute to revenues totalling around 300 billion euros.
Because of nature’s special capacity for synthesis, products made from biomass often have attractive product characteristics that already suggest today a move away from fossil raw materials.