Petroleum is the lifeblood of the chemical industry. It is the raw material for basic chemicals and is used to produce a tremendous wealth of products. Growing demand and dwindling resources mean that the chemical industry is increasingly focusing on renewable resources. Lignin is a wood component that is proving to be a particularly promising resource. It is currently almost exclusively used for generating energy, although it could also be used for many other purposes. In Baden-Württemberg, a research consortium is specifically focused on exploring the potential of this wood component.
Realistic alternatives to animal testing are more in demand than ever, especially in the drug development field. One possible solution is 3D cell cultures that possess the characteristics of the tissue from which they originate. Such systems were already developed at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) many years ago. Due to the huge demand for such systems, Prof. Dr. Eric Gottwald and two of his colleagues founded a company called 300MICRONS GmbH, which develops and markets 3D cell culture systems for different applications. The company will soon be able to produce large quantities of such cell culture systems.
IHO GmbH from Mannheim offers a professional solution for the international exchange of information and services concerning the molecular diagnosis of leukaemia. This drives forward the harmonisation of these methods and brings therapy monitoring to a new global level.
Novel biomass materials suitable for various applications need to be developed in order to establish a biobased raw material platform within the bioeconomy. These biobased materials must be able to compete with conventional fossil fuel-based materials, both from a technological and economic point of view. Researchers at the University of Hohenheim are working on the development of conductive carbon materials from biomass with the long-term goal of making the substitution of fossil electrode materials in high-capacitance energy storage systems ready for market.
One billion people worldwide rely on forests as living spaces. Illegal and legal deforestation endangers people’s livelihoods as well as social and economic structures. It also has a detrimental effect on the global climate. Prof. Dr. Daniela Kleinschmit, Professor for Forest and Environmental Policy at the University of Freiburg, discusses the causes and consequences of deforestation. She is co-editor of an international report on illegal logging and timber trading which was written on the initiative of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO).