‘Tyres made from dandelions’: Germany to invest billions in ‘bio-economy’

'Tyres made from dandelions': Germany to invest billions in 'bio-economy'
Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek (CDU, l) and Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU) show a shoe made of spider silk and a tire made of dandelion on Wednesday in Berlin. Photo: DPA
German ministers on Wednesday agreed an action plan for the "bio-economy" worth €3.6 billion to help sustainable resources replace material of fossil origin in everyday products.

Research and agriculture ministers Anja Karlizcek and Julia Klöckner will oversee the scheme that is set to back more than 1,000 projects and last until 2024.

Farming is to benefit from €2.5 billion of the total, while a little more than one billion euros is to be devoted to research.

“Renewables can be developed around the corner, in our meadows, fields and forests, whereas we have to import many fossil raw materials,” Klöckner told reporters.

READ ALSO: Trash to cash: Can Germany turn its biowaste in fuel?

The term bio-economy refers to the practice of using plants, microorganisms or fungi to develop chemical products, medications and other inputs for consumer goods, rather than deriving them from fossil deposits like gas or oil.

The ministers highlighted different examples of bio-economy products, including car tyres made from dandelions, a flax-based car door as an alternative to carbon fibre, spider-silk trainers and a lightweight wooden cycle helmet.

“Sustainable bioproducts will be economically competitive over the long term,” Karlizcek said, given the scheduled ratcheting up of prices for emitting carbon dioxide (CO2) in Berlin's latest climate protection plans.

Klöckner noted that “conflicts” must be avoided between the bio-economy and traditional farming, warning that “growing demand for renewable raw materials shouldn't endanger food security.”

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