Biobased Economy Conference - Beitragsbild mit Ulrike Mund, Projektmanagerin von Enterprise Europe Network

“There is no rubbish, just a new beginning”: The fourth Biobased Economy Conference

What challenges do the next years bode for the biobased circular economy? How can second generation organic fuels be manufactured in an economically reasonable way? In video clips from two sessions of the fourth Biobased Economy Conference scientists and companies discuss these questions and present best-practice examples.

From 3rd – 5th of June 2020, scientists and companies came together in the frame of the 4th Virtual Biobased Economy Conference to discuss current projects and research in the circular bioeconomy. Alongside the Enterprise Europe Network Berlin-Brandenburg the Clusters Energy Technology, Food Industry, Plastics and Chemistry and Metal from the German Capital Region Berlin-Brandenburg joined forces to organise this international event—this time it was digital with more than 370 experts from over 30 countries.

Video clips from two sessions provide a glance at the newest applications from research and business efforts for sustainability.

Keynotes on the challenges of circular economies

The keynote speakers addressed current challenges related to the circular economy:

Joachim Venus from the Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy (ATB) explained the critical research fields for the manufacture of lactic acids: clean, cheap sugar from lignocellulosic biomass and the cleaning of biomass hydrolysates.

Lene Lange from BioEconomy, Research & Advisory presented the opportunities of a biobased economy. She calls for emissions to be perceived as misplaced resources rather than waste. Her stance is that business should already be researching recycling technologies as this will be obligatory according to an EU regulation as of 2025.

Benjamin Hein from the German Institute for Standardization (DIN) pointed out the important role that standardisation plays for closed material cycles.

Finally the Keynote Speakers discussed with Rob von Haaren (Research Center Biobased Economy, Hanze University Groningen) and Gianluca Carenzo (Hub Innovazione Trentino) whether the European Green Deal will effectively support the establishment of sustainable value-added chains in Europe.

Companies as pioneers of the circular economy

Small and medium-sized enterprises are the key to sustainable value-added chains. This is why the panel “Circular and biobased at its best” put companies in the spotlight aiming for a closed material cycle with their technologies and sales concepts:

Claudio Vietta founded Leef Blattwerk GmbH to produce plates from palm leaves. He reports on the challenge of convincing investors and building up a supply chain for the biodegradable plates.

Professor André Heeres from Groningen presented how the company BioBTX manufactures biomass-based plastic aromatics with the help of catalytic pyrolysis.

Dr. Katrin Streffer from the LXP Group explained how the company uses the unexploited potential of existing biomass, for example, from plant remnants or agricultural waste. The LXP Group approaches this problem with a technology that dissolves the structural bonds of biomass and breaks down cellulose, hemicellulose and natural lignin in the main constituents. Partner companies produce “second generation” organic fuels and biobased chemicals from this.

Subsequently, further challenges faced by companies in closing value chains were discussed.