The bioeconomy

The world is moving from a dependence on fossil fuels towards a more sustainable biological-based economy – the bioeconomy. Science-based technologies can offer innovative solutions to generate wealth, jobs and environmental benefits from this global opportunity.

The bioeconomy encompasses:

  • the production of renewable biological resources, and
  • their conversion into food, feed, bio-based products and bioenergy via innovative and efficient technologies.

The bioeconomy offers great opportunities and solutions to a growing number of major societal, environmental and economic challenges, including climate change mitigation, energy and food security and resource efficiency.

Scion is engaged in research that enables New Zealand to move from a non-renewable petrochemical based economy to one using biological processes and renewable materials from planted forests. The biotechnologies we are developing are part of the growing global bioeconomy, and are an exciting prospect for the New Zealand forest industry.

Two of our research priorities over the next five years will be to:

  1. Expand opportunities in the wood fibre, pulp, biopolymer, packaging and biochemical industries and from their biomass side stream;
  2. Increase New Zealand’s energy security through the use of forest and waste biomass for bioenergy.

We focus on using biological approaches, such as enzyme-based or microbial fermentation, in industrial processes associated with biorefineries. Our speciality is transforming materials derived from forest resources. This expertise is based on our long history of research and development for the pulp and paper industry.

Like a petroleum refinery that produces multiple fuels and products from petroleum, a biorefinery is an industrial facility that converts biomass into fuels, power and value-added chemicals.

Biorefinery diagram

Read more about Scion’s capabilities in manufacturing and bioproducts [pdf]

Watch an introductory video about the bioeconomy produced by the European Union


Florian Graichen, General Manager, Forests to Biobased Products