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Germany has several industrial biotechnology-relevant national policies and strategies, including:
- The national policy strategy on the bioeconomy: renewable resources and biotechnological processes as a basis for food, industry and energy
- The national research strategy BioEconomy 2030, and in particular the priority field of action no. 4 entitled using renewable resources for industry
Both the above-mentioned strategies have led to the creation of the Bioökonomierat whose task is to advise the government on the implementation of the bioeconomy. Moreover, the German roadmap for biorefineres was set up in the framework of the national action plan for the material and energetic use of renewable raw materials.
Several German policies targeting research and development aspects also include a focus on industrial biotechnology:
- Biotechnology is recognized as a key technology in the German Federal Government’s High-Tech strategy, and amongst the research areas that are of particular societal and economic importance, the bioeconomy is considered a focal area in terms of “environmentally friendly and sustainable agricultural- and industrial production”.
- Led by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, the Biotechnologie 2020+ strategy promotes the connection of biotechnology and engineering processes to drive the next generation of biotech processes.
- The industrial biotechnology innovation initiative was set up as part of the above-mentioned national BioEconomy 2030 strategy and provides funding of a total worth of €100 million for projects which foster innovative industrial biotechnology products and processes for industrial applications.
In addition to this, the German policy framework provides opportunities for products derived from industrial biotechnology processes thanks to public procurement schemes such as:
Who is there?
Browse through the complete list of biotechnology companies in Germany in the biotechnology database. A list of German companies using industrial biotechnology is available here. The biggest players in the German industrial biotechnology sector, as well as promising SME’s can be found here.
- German Association of Biotechnology Industries (DIB) within the German Chemical Industry Association
- Society for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology (DECHEMA)
- Biotechnology-Industry-Organisation Deutschland (BIO Deutschland)
- Industrial Association White Biotechnology (IWBio)
Research and Academic
An overview of research and development organisations, including institutes, RTOs and universities active in the industrial biotechnology field can be found here.
Clusters and networks
BioIndustry 2021 – German Clusters in Joint Action for Industrial Biotechnology, comprises of:
- Biocatalysis2021 cluster
- Clib2021 cluster
- Biopolymers/biomaterials cluster
- CIB Frankfurt cluster
- IBB Netzwerk Gmbh cluster
Initiatives to watch
The above-mentioned “Innovation Initiative Industrial Biotechnology” is amongst others funding the Functionalisation of Polymers (FuPol) project with a total of €8million up to 2018. The FuPol project consortium’s objective is to further unlock the potential of enzymes in order to:
- make natural polymers such as lignin or cellulose usable for construction chemistry
- to enhance synthetic polymers for the textile industry
Eco-Metals is a cooperation project in the green mining field which is supported with an approximately €5million contribution from both the French and German governments. The focus of the project lies in the bio-leaching of copper ores thanks to microorganisms.
- Cellulosic ethanol demonstration plant in Straubing (Bavaria) operating since July 2012 (Clariant Innovation Spotlight Sunliquid)
- Lignocellulose Biorefinery in Leuna – focuses on the demonstration and optimisation of C5– and C6-sugars fermentation, as well as the use of lignin for Polyurethane foams and thermoplastic applications and as a source for aromatics
- Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes (CBP)in Leuna – hosts Global Bioenergies second pilot plant turning biomass to isobutene
- Lactic Acid production – Uhde in Leipzig
- Technical University of Munich’s Research Center for White Biotechnology offers technical facilities for research, teaching and technology transfer, including a screening lab in Garching and a white biotechnology pilot plant in Weihenstephan
Public research and development funding in the industrial biotechnology field is organised by:
- Federal Ministry of Education and Research – funds research and development and innovation projects from basic and applied research to pilot and demonstration
- Project Management Jülich (PtJ) – provides funding for projects related to the bioeconomy
The different funding bodies on federal and state levels are listed here. The amounts that are funded cannot be specified because they depend on the program and the industry contribution.
There are regular calls for proposals from:
- Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Initiative
- ERA-Net Industrial Biotechnology & ERA-Net EuroTransBio
- KMU-innovativ (SME Funding)
- BioEconomy international
- Internationally highly competitive chemical industry, which acts as the main driver for industrial biotechnology and invests in biotechnology
- Production clusters – “Verbundstandorte” – where production locations of chemical companies are integrated
- Extensive knowledge in industrial biotechnology (e.g. many patents)
- Background and tradition in engineering coupled with the high number of academia-based research (165 institutes at 48 universities and 27 universities for applied sciences focus on industrial biotechnology) lead to an excellent research infrastructure, including qualified personnel
- Broad industrial basis of multinational companies present in relevant sectors (chemistry/pharmaceuticals/animal health/ food/agriculture )
- Tradition in entrepreneurship (German Mittelstand) and “inventive tinkering”
- Feedstock availability, raw material supply in Germany and Europe not sufficient;
- Potential to further expand biomass production is very limited
- Compared to other countries, there is limited venture capital market (but high capital expenditure for the building of plants) leading to plants being built in other countries (e.g. Italy)
- Difficult technology transfer from academia to industry
- German Association of Biotechnology Industries (DIB) within the German Chemical Industry Association; Dr. Ricardo Gent, Executive Director; Mainzer Landstrasse 55, 60329 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
- Society for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology (DECHEMA), Theodor-Heuss-Allee 25, 60486 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
- Biotechnology-Industry-Organisation Deutschland (BIO Deutschland), Dr. Viola Bronsema, Managing Director, Am Weidendamm 1a, 10117 Berlin, Germany
- Industrial Association White Biotechnology (IWBio), Prof. Dr. Karl-Heinz Maurer, Chairman of IWBio Executive Committee, Lützowstr. 33-36, 10785 Berlin
Documents and links
- Report of the BIO-TIC workshop in Germany – December 2013
- Factsheet about industrial biotechnology in Germany
- Database of downloadable documents related to German policies in the industrial biotechnology field and free DVDs about the bioeconomy
- VideosBioeconomy in everyday lifeWhite Biotechnology – Opportunities for new products and environmentally friendly processes (in German only)Industrial Biotechnology – New paths for the chemical industry (in German only)