Last Tuesday in Cologne, at the 9th International Conference on Bio-based Materials organized by the nova-Institut, the Innovation Award “Bio-based Material of the Year 2016” was awarded to three innovative materials in suitable applications. The competition focused on new developments in the bio-based economy, which have had (or will have) a market launch in 2015 or 2016.
The production capacity for bio-based polymers boasts very impressive development and annual growth rates, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of almost 20% in comparison to petrochemical polymers, which have a CAGR between 3-4%. The 5.1 million tonnes bio-based polymer production capacity represent a 2% share of overall structural polymer production at 256 million tonnes in 2013 and a bio-based polymer turnover of about €10 billion (5 Mio. t (production capacity) x 2.50 €/kg (estimated average bio-based polymer price) x 0,8 (capacity utilization rate).
The European Union will need a new political framework for rolling out its bio-based economy by 2020 at the latest. The existing framework does not create sufficient market pull for implementing innovative, bio-based technologies. To say it are Michael Carus, Lara Dammer and Roland Essel in the latest policy paper of nova-Institute “Options for Designing a New Political Framework of the European Bio-based Economy – nova-Institute’s contribution to the current debate”.
nova-paper #4 “Proposals for a Reform of the Renewable Energy Directive to a Renewable Energy and Materials Directive (REMD)” presents a reform proposal that aims at creating a level playing field for bio-based chemicals and materials with bioenergy and biofuels in Europe. It is fundamentally different from other reforms of the Directive being currently discussed because it opens the perspective to not only look at energy, but also at bio-based materials.
Three days of interesting debate with regard to the future development of bio-based materials. This was the Seventh International Conference on bio-based materials, organized by the nova-Institut from April 8 to 10 in Cologne. With the presence of some of the major European players – companies, univerties and research centers – the three days in the beautiful German city on the Rhine have been an opportunity to discuss on the progress of research on bio-based materials, the political support to the bio-based economy in Europe and in the member states and what measures are necessary to enable the Old Continent to be competitive in international markets.
“A comprehensive analysis of hurdles carried out by nova-Institut shows that the RED (which will in future be associated with the FQD – Fuel Quality Directive 9870 – in the transport sector) is one of the main causes of the longstanding and systematic discrimination between material and energy uses. The RED hinders the development of material use and therefore that of the whole bio-based economy. Unfavorable framework conditions combined with high biomass prices and uncertain biomass supplies deter investors from putting money into bio-based chemistry and plastics – even though these would produce higher value and greater resource efficiency”. To say it is Michael Carus, physicist and managing director of the nova-Institut, the German private and independent Scientific Institute specialized in the bioeconomy, one of the most prestigious at the European level. In this interview with Il Bioeconomista, Carus uses the phrase “Misallocation of biomass” to define the effects of the RED (Renewable Energy Directive), since “this is blocking higher value material uses like chemicals and plastics from coming to fruition”. And explains his point of view on the first generation vs. second generation biofuels issue.
Interview by Mario Bonaccorso
Food or non-food: Which agricultural feedstocks are best for industrial uses? This is the title of the new paper published by the German nova-Institut led by Michael Carus, who is one of the author, together with Lara Dammer. In less than ten pages the two authors analyze one of the most controversial issues of the bioeconomy, also underlined by the recent decision of the European Parliament’s environment committee to limit the share of food-based biofuel used in cars and trucks to 5.5% of the total consumption. Continue reading