07/24/2020 | Research meets practice

Stepping stones towards a Bioeconomy

More and more consumer products are based on renewable resources

Have you ever thought about going bio-based? An EU project has outlined where the biggest hurdles lie and what route to follow on the “road to bio”.


In contrast to what you might perceive when entering a DIY store, bio-based paints still account only for a small fraction of the market. Bio-based ingredients face strong competition from water-based formulations and from an overall reduction of organic solvents. A major hurdle in this area is investment in the development of new formulations.

Consumers demand sustainable and non-toxic products, especially in their living areas.


Environmental concerns and the main drivers for bio-based lubricants, but they need to perform as well.

Similar to paints and coatings for specific applications, the lubricants market also already offers some attractive niches: Total-loss lubricants that are used in chainsaws or on offshore wind power plants are regulated and need to meet strict biodegradability and toxicology parameters. Bio-based products can prove themselves here, but market uptake beyond these niches is still slow.

Incredients for Cosmetics

If you are producing bio-based ingredients for cosmetics, you have two options – go for the large volume shares such as botanical extracts or vegetable oils, or focus on high-value bioactive ingredients. In any case, you are facing a strictly regulated market that nonetheless seems to be more open to higher­priced bio-based substances.

Cosmetics produced in the European Union contain on average 40 % bio-based chemicals.

These findings are examples of the results of the EU-funded RoadToBio project. In addition to product-specific analysis, general barriers such as the availability of feedstock or regulatory hurdles were named. A comprehensive action plan describes what each stakeholder group could (and should) do in order to promote a European bioeconomy. If you are thinking about becoming a part of this, the roadmap is definitely worth reading.


Kathrin Rübberdt



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