The bioeconomy, which in the EU is worth an estimated €2 trillion employing 9% of the workforce, comprises the production and use of renewable resources from land and sea, and the use of waste to make value added products, such as food, feed, bio-based products and bioenergy.
Sitting at the heart of the bioeconomy is the biorefinery – where industrial biotechnology turns renewable raw materials, such as agriculture and forestry residues, into essential everyday products. As plants capture CO2 from the atmosphere, the carbon in these raw materials and, subsequently, in the end products is renewable rather than fossil carbon, thus making them out of the natural carbon cycle.
In this way, industrial biotechnology creates smarter, more sustainable products and processes based on renewable raw materials, enabling carbon to be recycled at the end of a product’s life. This process is a perfect example of the circular economy, which is about using resources more efficiently and sustainably throughout the economy.
Biorefineries are essential to making the EU economy circular by meeting its targets of increasing resource productivity (by 30% by 2030), reducing municipal waste (by 65% by 2030) and banning the landfill of biodegradable waste as of 2025.