Structural change as an opportunity for sustainable
regional development

A region on the way to a bio-based economy

© Forschungszentrum Jülich/BioökonomieREVIER

The Rhenish mining area, one of the largest lignite regions in Europe, is particularly affected by the advancing climate change and the resulting climate targets of the Federal Republic. Economy and society are also facing further changes. Innovation and sustainability are particularly in demand in the areas of environmental protection and mobility.

As part of the German government's immediate program to phase out lignite, the Rhenish mining area is to become a model region for sustainable bioeconomy and a role model for resource-efficient and sustainable economic activity.

The BioökonomieREVIER Rheinland coordination office is located at the Research Center in Jülich and is developing a regional strategy together with local stakeholders. The first ideas for promising bio-based value creation concepts are already being put into economic practice.

Regional municipality
Bioeconomy profiles

Together with you, we create a profile of the Bioeconomy activities of your municipality - as a basis for further development.

more (german)
© Forschungszentrum Jülich/Sascha Kreklau

Bioeconomy perspective
Recommendations for the region

The development of an exemplary bioeconomy region is a challenge for society as a whole. It can only be organised and designed in such a way that economic innovations will be addressed as well as ecological and social issues.

To this end, the BioökonomieREVIER coordination office is drawing up a regional strategy for the Rhenish mining area, which will be presented in summer 2021, based on feedback from regional stakeholder groups.

Location concept
Profile locations in the region

Competences that are already available among partners from science, industry and agriculture in the region are to be located in the region in a precisely fitting manner. This means that existing focal points are strengthened and expanded locally.

Profile locations are being created in the region. These will be strengthened, interconnected and linked with the surrounding conurbations.


An interview with plant researcher Ulrich Schurr on the possible role of the bioeconomy in structural change

From lignite to the bioeconomy

Fossil raw materials have been the fuel that has brought progress and prosperity to the major industrial nations. However, the ecological consequences of their use are becoming increasingly threatening. So threatening, in fact, that people in this country are currently preparing to phase out coal production. The first power plant units in the Rhenish mining area are to be taken off the grid as early as 2022.

What does this mean for a region that has traditionally defined itself strongly by the energy source "lignite", but at the same time is one of Europe's favourable regions for sustainable and productive agriculture and home to a very strong food industry and is surrounded by markets that need food but also sustainable raw materials for the chemical industry?

to the Interview (german)


Dr. Christian Klar


Koordinierungsstelle BioökonomieREVIER

02461-61 4230

Katrin Spoth

Region, Kommunen, Internationales

Koordinierungsstelle BioökonomieREVIER

02461-61 85530

© Forschungszentrum Jülich/Sascha Kreklau

Data & Facts

The bioeconomy in the Rhenish region is a key

approx. 54,900 jobs in agriculture and the food industry
approx. 36,300 industrial jobs
with a turnover of approx. 34.4 billion €.

Quellen: prognos AG (2018) und nova Institut (2014-2018)


National Bioeconomy Strategy

A sustainable way of life and economy protects the climate and the environment, but also guarantees future prosperity. That is why Germany is focusing on the expansion of the bioeconomy. To this end, the Federal Cabinet has adopted the National Bioeconomy Strategy.
In it, the Federal Government bundles its bioeconomy activities to date and sets the course for further development. The Federal Ministry of Research and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture are in charge.