Bioeconomy Bioeconomy? It’s Your Business Indeed!

Author / Editor: Dr. Marlene Etschmann* / Dominik Stephan

Biobased chemicals were a focal topic at ACHEMA 2015, featuring technologies that contribute to the shift of the process industries from petrol to renewable resources. But with the bioeconomy ever growing in significance, the bioeconomy success story has only just begun...

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Fuel ethanol — biggest player in the bioeconomy
Fuel ethanol — biggest player in the bioeconomy
(Picture: Jean-Luc Valentin/DECHEMA)

Bioeconomy, biobased chemicals, renewable energy — just in case you think “this is esoteric fuss and none of my business”, think again. Wherever on the planet you read this magazine, chances are that the fuel in your car contains a percentage of alcohol. It can be as low as 5 % in Germany or as high as 27 % in Brazil. Worldwide, about 100 billion liters of ethanol are distilled every year, most of it for fuel use. This number makes ethanol the most important product of the bioeconomy and you contribute to the business directly with every trip to the pump.

Prospects Are Optimistic

“The shift to a European bioeconomy is now irreversible and this transition will now accelerate after the COP21,” said John Bell recently. As Director of Bio­economy Directorate of the European Commission, his focus is naturally on Europe, but his statement probably carries far beyond. More and more countries worldwide are issuing national bioeconomy strategies and many of them already translate into impressive growth rates.

These growth rates also apply to the number of biobased products and processes on the market. However, if you are looking for an event where you would find all of the technological aspects of bio­refining in one place, you would be having a hard time.

* * M. Etschmann is Project Leader BiobasedWorld, DECHEMA Ausstellungs-GmbH.