The use of renewable raw materials is booming.
1. Trends, potentials and challenges
Since the early 1990s, the utilisation of renewable raw materials for non-food production has accelerated research and development. In this context, the term "Biorefinery" became established in the 90s.
What can the integrated utilisation of renewable raw materials as input material and energy source contribute to solving our energy problems and replacing chemicals, materials and fuels based on mineral oil? Answers were supplied at the BIO-raffiniert V Congress, held on 24 and 25 March 2009 in Oberhausen.
The Congress presented the full range of biomass utilisation, from the first experiments to marketable services and products. Trends in technology and applied engineering were described in detail, as well as the background to biomass utilisation, the support possibilities and the prospects for economic growth.
Subjects addressed on the first day of the Congress were the constraints on supply of the raw material "biomass", the markets for new, sustainable product lines and ecological aspects. Market studies of bio-based chemicals and materials were examined, as well as genetic technology in plant breeding.
On the panel, Dr. Christian Patermann, Advisor to the NRW State Government for Knowledge-Based Bioeconomy in Bonn, asked how the participants from industry, politics, engineering sciences and ethics characterised renewable raw materials. Were they really a green economic wonder and an opportunity for technological innovation or, rather, a price driver for raw material markets in competition with food production?
The second day was devoted to technology. It gave an overview of biorefinery technologies, allowed plant operators to report on their experiences and pointed out trends in technology. The spectrum ranged from the opportunities ascribed to a bio-based economy by the Netherlands to experience with biorefineries in Sweden, the decentralised production of bioethanol and an overview of the potentials offered by algae for blue biotechnology.
The programme is available for download at: www.bio-raffiniert.de
2. Aims and strategies for NRW
- Information being compiled -