Challenges and objective
Numerous new bioeconomic approaches and processes have already been investigated and further developed in recent years in order to foster a biobased, climate-neutral and sustainable economy based on the renewable raw material biomass. However, a systemic approach that does not only consider individual processes but is designed holistically does not exist so far.
The aim of the "urban BioEconomyLab" project, which is funded by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector, is therefore to develop a bioeconomic economic environment at the system level of a city, in which biobased value creation largely takes place in the system itself, using biomass and CO2 in wastewater, waste and exhaust air as raw materials.
In this project, Fraunhofer IGB is developing methods and solutions as well as suggestions for their concrete implementation in order to transfer bioeconomic processes, materials and products into urban and industrial reality. The focus is particularly on the sustainable design of material flows and supply chains – ideally in the form of closed cycles. For example, the project analyzes where biowaste, other waste, wastewater, exhaust gases and CO2 are generated that can be used with biological processes, procedures and principles in the industrial, commercial and municipal sectors.
The project examines three urban regions in Baden-Württemberg as role models: Stuttgart, Mannheim and Karlsruhe. One of these urban regions will be selected to validate and further adapt the developed methodology. The method will then be applied to the other two urban regions to demonstrate the transferability of the methodology. In parallel, implementation possibilities of the proposed measures will be identified.
For this purpose, the City Lab Method developed in the Fraunhofer Morgenstadt Initiative and already employed in numerous projects will be applied. In the project, the City Lab Method will be further developed into the BioEconomyLab Method in order to be able to analyze relevant parameters and address overarching measures that are necessary for a change towards a sustainable bioeconomy.
The method allows to analyze all areas of a city including its companies with regard to bioeconomic material flows and to identify fields of action with the participation of local stakeholders. With regard to material flows of agricultural and forestry products on the one hand and nutrients and organic residues on the other hand, interfaces to rural areas are also to be considered.
The core of the BioEconomyLab methodology is a comprehensive analysis of all urban sectors (waste and resources, wastewater, energy, industry, mobility, governance), from which action guidelines can be derived for policymakers to make sound and sustainable decisions.
In detail, there are five working steps: After an initial analysis based on a questionnaire in which indicators and parameters are queried, an evaluation of the identified fields of action and a sensitivity analysis of the local influencing factors follow. In the urban BioEconomyLab project, interviews are also conducted with stakeholders and on-site visits are made in order to become familiar with the local conditions. On this basis, the IGB researchers develop and prioritize strategic measures. In the final stage, the measures are grouped into clusters and transferred to a roadmap, which serves as a basis for further concrete action by the stakeholders.
With the scenarios and measures developed, the project aims to enable the participating urban regions to implement a resource-efficient and circular economy based on renewable and recycled raw materials as well as biological resources in order to enable the transformation to a sustainable bioeconomy. Thus, the implementation of the state strategy Sustainable Bioeconomy Baden-Württemberg is also supported.