Industrial Biotech

The use of biotechnological methods in industrial production processes is often labeled as industrial or “white” biotechnology. Here, microorganisms and biochemical methods are used within technological applications in a targeted manner to effectuate an intermediate step or even synthesize the final product. Accordingly, biotechnology is often used as “cross-sectional technology” – well-known areas of application are, among others, the pharmaceutical, chemical, steel, cosmetic, food, and fodder industries. Industrial biotechnology provides processes that are clearly more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly than classic process engineering. This results in products that are not just the equals of established products, but actually surpass their functionalities.

Great methodological advances have been realized over the last years, such as bioconversion through biocatalysts (enzymes), process-optimization targeted evolution, or the identification of new enzymes using metagenome analysis.

Biotechnological processes have the potential to increase productivity and product diversification. Industrial biotechnology is therefore seen as a key technology regarding value creation, innovation, and generating economic growth. It thereby enables the transformation of existing markets. Industrial biotechnology is thus also a key technology for the transition to a bio-based economy and can contribute to meeting environmental and climate challenges.

To further promote the dynamic development of industrial biotechnology, BIO.NRW works together with its partner cluster CLIB2021 – Cluster industrielle Biotechnologie e.V. An overview of selected, currently running projects can be found here.

Regional Innovation network "Model Region for Innovative and Sustainable Material Flow Usage Rhineland" (RIN Material Flows)

Supported by: Ministry of Culture and Science

Project duration & Project volumen: Mai 2014 – February 2017, 674.000 Euro; March 2017 – February 2020, 562.000 Euro (Phase 2)

Project partners: project coordinator CLIB2021, core partner German Association for Waste Management (DGAW) and EnergieAgentur.NRW (EnergyAgency.NRW)


RIN Material Flows concerns itself with scientific bio-economical and circular-economy questions in a regional context, with the objective of making material use of secondary and waste material flows of varying origins within the region. This should close technological and biological carbon cycles to increase the resource efficiency of agrarian and industrial production and in turn contribute to material savings and climate protection.

BioInnovation Growth mega-Cluster - BIG-Cluster

Project duration: unlimited

Project partner: BE-Basic, Biobased Delta, BIO.NRW, Catalisti, CEF.NRW, Chemelot Brightlands, CleanTechNRW, CLIB2021, FlandersBio & Flanders Biobased Valley

Link: BIO.NRW or CLIB or BIG-Cluster.

BIG-Cluster is a cross-border ‘Smart Specialisation Initiative’ aiming at transforming Europe’s industrial mega cluster in the Flanders region of Belgium, The Netherlands and the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia into the global leader of bio-based innovation growth. The overarching goal is a comprehensive feedstock change with a focus on regionally available and sustainable raw materials, climate protection and the safeguarding of jobs in the megaregion. To establish the transition of our current fossil-based economy towards a more sustainable biobased economy, BIG-Cluster is, among others, focussing on the following Feedstock-To-Product Flagships: “Aromatics from woody biomass”, “C1 gases to chemicals”, “Aviation fuels from various feedstocks” and “Circular economy education”