Austria’s Bioeconomy Strategy

Many everyday items are derived from oil.  The Austrian Bioeconomy Strategy deals with the question how these items could be produced without the use of oil or fossil resources in the future.

Pellets of wood fall into one hand
Pellets of wood, photo: BMLRT / Alexander Haiden

One of our biggest global challenges for the next decades in the field of environmental protection is the reduction of greenhouse gases. Austria is committed to the international climate goals and to a proactive climate protection and energy policy. The central objective is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. By 2030 Austria will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 36% compared to 2005. This requires a coordinated, climate and energy policy that ensure the balance between environmental sustainability, competitiveness and security of supply in the future as well. Therefore, it was decided to create an integrated Climate and Energy Strategy in order to take responsibility for a consistent decarbonisation path till 2050.

These goals can only be achieve if, in addition to the decarbonisation of the energy system, fossil raw materials are largely replaced in all everyday products. To ensure this, it Needs:

  • Increasing efficiency at all levels.
  • Rethinking of consumer behaviour and extending the lifetime of sustainable products
  • Exploitation of all renewable raw materials through the use of residues, by-products, waste and the production of new raw materials, such as algae.
  • Highlighting the opportunities from innovations for the transformation in business and society.

The Austrian Bioeconomy Strategy act as a framework for the reinforced use of renewable raw materials.

Bioeconomy aims to replace fossil resources (raw materials and energy) with bio-based raw materials in as many areas and applications as possible. It covers all industrial and economic sectors that produce, process, handle or use biological resources. Finally, bioeconomy is aiming to create economic value and prosperity as well as solutions for environmental issues throughout low carbon and renewable materials.

In order to this, the share of renewable raw materials in the total use of raw materials must be significantly increased by 2030. This can be done by strengthening existing sectors of the economy, supporting innovative technologies and services, promoting networking and knowledge transfer, raising awareness and creating public acceptance concerning bio-based products and services.

However, substituting all fossil materials with bio-based materials would require between 0.9 and 3.8 million hectares of land. Currently, about 7.3 million hectares are used for agricultural and silvicultural purposes in Austria. These figures show that a mere substitution of fossil raw materials with additional biomass production is not possible. This requires a large number of measures to provide the bio-based raw materials, while at the same time increasing the efficiency of the materials use.

Among Austrias strongest fields are for instance the paper and pulp industry, the wood-based sectors, the chemical industry such as fibres, plastics or biofuels as well as the use of bioenergy. One example of bio-based innovation is for instance the “HoHo Wien”, one of the world’s highest wooden based skyscraper. Innovation and research are the driving forces to make bioeconomy already happened today.

Bioeconomy – A Strategy for Austria (PDF, 2 MB)