Bjarke Bak Christensen. Foto Mikal Schlosser

Danish strengths must be utilized in the green transition

Wednesday 16 Sep 20

Editorial for newsletter

DTU Bioengineering sends out a quarterly newsletter containing a selection of the latest research. The newsletter focuses on current themes and contains comments by Head of Department Bjarke Bak Christensen.

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Danish core competencies in bio- and food technology can lead to far better utilization of the earth's resources and can enable Denmark to become world supplier of novel green technologies.

A strengthened political focus on utilizing the Danish core competencies in bio- and food technology can lead to far better utilization of the earth's resources and can enable Denmark to become world supplier of novel green technologies. And we do have the prerequisites to do it.

The latest ATV report The world's leading tech regions - Denmark's strengths in a global perspective from the Academy of Technical Sciences, published in August, clearly shows that Danish research institutions and technology companies are well established, especially in wind technology, biotechnology, food and sound technology.

Denmark's strengths in biotechnology should be put even more into play in the green transition, but according to the ATV-report, one of the major challenges in putting action behind words is to focus.

There are many opportunities in the field of biotechnology - and there are clearly technologies that will have a greater effect on the green transition than others will. Therefore, priority should be given both to the technologies that will contribute to achieving the climate goals for 2030, but also to the long-term investments, which will only have an effect in perhaps 20-30 years.

The possibilities are innumerable. Companies and universities can contribute with solutions that can replace some of the products, which we today get from the petrochemical industry. At DTU Bioengineering, we work to utilize enzymes to produce new plastic materials - and to identify other enzymes that can later on biodegrade the products.

Biotechnology can also help make better use of bio-resources. This applies, to our research in the use of production side streams. The dairy industry, have been so good at utilizing the side stream, whey, from cheese production that whey today contributes to a whole range of different high-value products that can be widely used in food and feed and which today is one of the industry's main sources of income.

Similarly, we can see that there is a large and untapped potential for using microorganisms and enzymes to utilize side streams from other productions for the development of e.g. new ingredients.

Most recently, the Power-to-X concept has created entirely new possibilities. We are currently researching the ability of enzymes and microorganisms to not only bind CO2 from the air, but also to convert CO2 with the help of the electrons generated from e.g. wind turbines and turn it into bio-based chemicals, feed and maybe even food.

There is still a lot of work ahead of us. We need companies and universities to work even better together, and there is a need for companies to work better together both within and across industries, such as companies in biotechnology, food technology and wind energy. Finally, there is a need for political vision and action that enables us to take advantage of the Danish positions of strength and bring them into play globally in the efforts to reach the UN's climate goals in 2030.

Bjarke Bak Christensen, Head of Department Department

Faktaboks

Read the latest ATV report The world's leading tech regions - Denmark's strengths in a global perspective

 

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