Structural change provides an opportunity for sustainable regional development

A region heading towards bioeconomy

© Forschungszentrum Jülich/BioökonomieREVIER

The Rhenish miningregion is one of the largest lignite regions in Europe. It is particularly affected by the advancing climate change and the resulting climate targets and lignite phase-out of the German government. Businesses and society are confronted with additional necessities for transformation. Innovation and sustainability approaches are particularly crucial in environmental protection and mobility.

As part of the German government’s emergency program for the lignite phase-out, the Rhenish mining region is totransforminto a model region for sustainable and circular bioeconomyshowcasing resource-efficient and sustainable business practices.

The coordination office BioökonomieREVIER is located at ForschungszentrumJülich and is developing a regional strategy together with local stakeholders. First innovative approaches for bio-based value chains are already implemented in practice. 

Report series: Potentials of a bioeconomy model region

Which regional strengths and potentials can be exploited to build a bio-based economy in the Rhenish mining region? The BioökonomieREVIER report series provides answers. 

Foci: agriculture and food, industry and exploitation as well as knowledge and education.

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Municipal bioeconomy profiles in the core mining region

Bioeconomy potential study: Key indicators related to the regional Bioeconomy for 20 municipalities.

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Creating new jobs in the bioeconomy

Find out from Timothy Fitschen, Head of Structural Change at the Employment Agency in Brühl, which occupational profiles and qualifications will be particularly demanded in the future. 

more (in German)

Niklas explains BioökonomieREVIER (in German)

Toys made from potato peel, clothes made from wood and paper made from grass? - Exciting examples of ways to transform the economic system of an entire region through bioeconomy. 

© Youtube/ Forschungszentrum Jülich

© Forschungszentrum Jülich/Sascha Kreklau

Transformation potential through bioeconomy
Recommendations for the region

Transforming into a model region for bioeconomy is a challenge for society as a whole. It requires economic, ecological and social targets to be aligned with each other.

For this purpose, the coordination office BioökonomieREVIER compiles recommendations on best-practices based on cooperations and exchanges with practitioners and regional stakeholder groups.


Plant researcher Ulrich Schurr addresses the potential role of bioeconomy for structural change and regional development 

Transitioning from lignite mining to a bioeconomy 

The use of fossil-based raw materials were a driver for progress and prosperity in large industrialized economies. However, the use of these raw materials was accompanied with tremendous ecological consequences and are becoming more and more threatening. Consequently, Germany has been preparing the phase out of lignite mining. In 2022, it is planned to shut down the first power plant units in the Rhenish mining region. 

How does the phase-out affect a region? What does this mean for a region that has traditionally been characterized by the energy source "lignite"? The Rhenish mining region is at the same time one of Europe's favorable regions for sustainable and productive agriculture, characterized by a very strong food industry, surrounded by markets requiring food and sustainable raw materials for the chemical industry. 

Go to interview (in German)


Dr. Christian Klar


Coordination Office BioökonomieREVIER

+49 (0) 2461 61-4230