Bioeconomy | New materials

In what way can new materials be developed that are just as good as existing ones, but can be sustainably produced and disposed of? The bioeconomy offers plenty of potential here. For example, researchers are working on reusable and compostable packaging and natural materials that could replace carbon fibers.


Natural materials replace carbon fibers

Carbon fibers reinforce plastics and thus provide lightweight components with the necessary stability. But they are also extremely expensive, and it takes a lot of energy and petroleum to produce them. In contrast, natural fibers can be manufactured much more sustainably and are more affordable when mass-produced.

Bio-based carbon fibers – high performance and sustainability for light-weight applications

Carbon fibers are made from fibrous polymer precursors. Petroleum-based polyacrylonitrile (PAN) is the precursor used for 95 percent of the carbon fibers on the world market. Innovative bio-based carbon fibers perform just as well.



Mushrooms as sound absorbers

As healthy and tasty as mushrooms happen to be, they are good for much more than just the dinner plate. Fraunhofer UMSICHT and Fraunhofer IBP are investigating mushroom-based materials that are suitable for eco-friendly sound absorption.

Sustainable food packaging

Biodegradable packaging has never been suitable for foods. An innovative coating could change all that.


From old jeans to a new dress

Until recently, recycling cotton was not possible for technical reasons. A team of researchers at Fraunhofer IAP was the first to produce a viscose filament yarn made of recycled cotton.


Synthetic rubber outperforms natural rubber

Natural rubber from rubber trees is a raw material with a limited supply. Synthetically produced rubber, on the other hand, has not yet been able to match the abrasion behavior of the natural product, rendering it unsuitable for truck tires. But now, for the first time, a new type of synthetic rubber has been developed that achieves 30 to 50 percent less abrasion than natural rubber.


Lighthouse project "MaNiTU"

Materials for sustainable tandem solar cells with extremely high conversion efficiency