What is the bioeconomy?

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The bioeconomy refers to an economic system that revolves around the sustainable use of biological resources to produce a wide range of goods and services. It emphasises the transition from fossil fuels and non-renewable resources to renewable biological resources for the development of various sectors. The bioeconomy encompasses the entire value chain, from research and development to production, distribution, and consumption. It promotes innovations that utilise biological systems and processes to create more environmentally friendly products, reduce waste, and minimise carbon emissions. By fostering the integration of science, technology, and industry, the bioeconomy aims to drive economic growth while simultaneously addressing environmental challenges and promoting sustainability. 

Incorporating principles of circular economy and sustainable development, the bioeconomy emphasises the efficient use of resources, waste reduction, and the creation of bio-based products that can replace or complement traditional petroleum-based products. This transition has the potential to diversify economies, enhance rural development, and contribute to a more resilient and greener future. However, it also poses challenges related to ethical considerations, land use competition, and the need to balance economic interests with conservation efforts. The bioeconomy represents a holistic approach to reimagining economic systems in harmony with nature and underscores the importance of harnessing the power of biological resources to meet the needs of current and future generations. 

What are industrial bio-based systems?

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A bio-based system covers all sectors that use biological resources, such as animals, plants, micro-organisms and derived biomass and organic waste. Industrial bio-based systems are a category of manufacturing processes and production methods that heavily rely on biological resources to create a diverse range of products. These systems leverage the natural capabilities of living organisms to transform raw materials into valuable materials, chemicals, fuels, and other products. Unlike traditional industrial processes that often rely on fossil fuels and petrochemicals, industrial bio-based systems emphasise sustainability by using renewable resources, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and minimising environmental impact. 

These systems encompass various fields, including biotechnology, bioengineering, and biochemistry, and involve techniques like fermentation, enzymatic conversion, and bio-catalysis to convert biomass into bio-based materials which have applications in sectors like bioenergy, bioplastics and biochemicals. By aligning with the principles of circular economy and resource efficiency, industrial bio-based systems play a crucial role in developing a sustainable economy while reducing our dependence on finite resources and contributing to a greener future. 

Policy Framework

Clean energy

The development of a bio-based economy has been emphasised in the European Green Deal to decrease dependency on non-renewable energy and material resources, maintain food security, and decarbonise the economy. However, considering limited land and biological resources in the EU, sustainable and just development of industrial bio-based systems calls for special attention to material circularity, carbon emissions, & iLUC risks of bio-based systems, as well as social objectives.

The EU´s Bioeconomy strategy and Action Plan have five main goals: 

  1. Ensure food and nutrition security. 
  2. Manage natural resources sustainably. 
  3. Reduce dependence on non-renewable, unsustainable resources. 
  4. Limit and adapt to climate change. 
  5. Strengthen European competitiveness and create jobs. 

With the objectives to:

Strengthen and scale up the biobased sectors, unlock investments and markets.

Deploy local bio-economies rapidly across the whole of Europe.

Understand the ecological boundaries of the bioeconomy.

These strategies and objectives contribute to the European Green Deal, as well as forming the foundation of industrial, circular economy and clean energy innovation strategies.

BIORADAR creates a flexible and digital way to contribute to European Green Deal goals, aids SMEs to strengthen their competitiveness, and addresses social impacts such as health and safety, jobs creation, and working conditions.