In 2012, the European Commission adopted a strategy to shift our economy towards greater and more sustainable use of these renewable resources. The EU bioeconomy already has a turnover of nearly €2 trillion and employs more than 22 million people. By 2025, the aim for each euro invested in EU funded bioeconomy research and innovation is to trigger 10 euros of added value.
From fungal spore spray to insect egg dispensers, unleashing an army of living enemies on crops to keep pests and diseases in check may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but it’s part of a more natural approach to agriculture, designed to decrease reliance on chemicals.
Recycling innovations such as plastic-eating microbes could sweeten the fortunes of the global plastic recycling industry which has suffered from cut-throat competition due to the low price of oil, one of the main ingredients of traditional plastic products.
Each year a new wave of computers, smartphones and accessories swarm the market with smaller components made from increasingly complex materials. While this technological evolution may be exciting for consumers, the trend towards obsolescence is impeding our progress towards a zero-waste society, according to researchers working in the area.
Researchers are getting ready to test a tobacco-powered aeroplane thanks to a new bio jet fuel made from the seeds of nicotine-free plants, and the result could be a 75 % reduction in carbon emissions compared to fossil fuels.
Free flowing rivers have almost entirely vanished across Europe.
Animal droppings are still used to fertilise crops, as fuel and even for building.
R&I missions will mean rethinking the economy - Prof. Mazzucato.