Aarhus University contributes to positioning Denmark as a bioeconomic growth centre

Researchers from Aarhus University have been appointed by the Minister of Environment and Food of Denmark Esben Lunde Larsen to sit on the National Bioeconomy Panel.

2017.08.12 | Janne Hansen

Insects and their larvae can be an alternative source of protein for food and feed instead of imported protein. Photo: Colourbox

Denmark must be a bioeconomic growth centre and produce new biomass for sustainable products. To support development in this direction, the Minister of Environment and Food of Denmark Esben Lunde Larsen to has renewed the National Bioeconomy Panel. The new panel consists of representatives from companies, universities and organisations.

Two researchers from Aarhus University have been appointed a seat on the 15-person strong panel: leader of Aarhus University’s Centre for Circular Bioeconomy (CBIO) senior researcher Uffe Jørgensen from the Department of Agroecology, and leader of the Center for Biorefinery Technologies, Associate Professor Ib Johannsen, Department of Engineering. Also included in the panel is CEO for Agro Business Park Lars Visbech Sørensen, who collaborates closely with Aarhus University. 

Focus on bioeconomy continues

The task for the new panel will be to maintain focus on bioeconomy and contribute to pointing out where there is potential for growth and export with regard to addressing environmental and climate challenges. The National Bioeconomy Panel was established in 2013 and evaluated in 2016. It is now being re-started with a stronger business focus. 

- It is a good thing that there is a continuing national focus on developing the bioeconomy. There is a lot of potential in the bioeconomy for solving various environmental problems and creating more secure, local and sustainable resource supplies, including protein, says senior researcher Uffe Jørgensen from the Department of Agroecology, Aarhus University.

- I hope that our work in the panel can contribute to greater use of CBIO’s unique pilot scale research platforms, says Uffe Jørgensen. These include the world’s largest research biogas plant, a protein extraction plant, extensive aquatic and land based research areas with biomass production, models for life cycle analyses and economics, as well as biorefinery plants.

Aarhus University’s other participant in the panel, Associate Professor Ib Johannsen from the Department of Engineering, is strongly involved in the design and management of the biorefinery plants. 

- The bioeconomy of the future must be technically and financially feasible for it to succeed. By having a seat in the panel I can contribute with the engineering angle and technological solutions, he says.  

Protein in new ways

The panel’s proposals to the government will strengthen growth and employment and benefit the environment and climate. They will provide concrete recommendations as to how Denmark can produce biomass and get more sustainable products from its raw materials. 

Protein and new protein value chains comprise the first theme that the National  Bioeconomy Panel will focus on. An area of interest could, for example, be how seaweed, mussels, grass and insects can replace some of the proteins that Denmark presently uses for food and feed. It could also be looking at new ways of using proteins for various products, such as food ingredients. 

- Europe has a huge deficit of protein. There is great potential for Denmark in becoming better at producing protein for animal feed and food ingredients. For example, we import large amounts of soya in order to maintain our food production. It would be interesting financially and environmentally if we could develop new value chains for protein, says the Minister of Environment and Food of Denmark, Esben Lunde Larsen.

Panel members

  • Asbjørn Børsting, CEO, DAKOFO (chairman)
  • Uffe Jørgensen, Senior Researcher, Leader of Centre for Circular Bioeconomy, Aarhus University
  • Ib Johannsen, Associate Professor, Department of Engineering, Aarhus University
  • Lars Visbech Sørensen, CEO, Agro Business Park
  • Bo Jellesmark Thorsen, Head of Department, IFRO, University of Copenhagen
  • Anne Maria Hansen, Innovation Director, Technological Institute
  • Henrik Wenzel, Professor, University of Southern Denmark
  • Trine Aabo Andersen, Head of Bioeconomy, CAPNOVA
  • Charlotte Thy, Senior Sustainability Manager, Danish Crown
  • Michael Persson, Secretariat Leader, DI Bioenergi
  • Claus Crone Fuglsang, Senior Vice-President, Novozymes
  • Stine Leth Rasmussen, Department Head, Dansk Energi
  • Lene Lange, Professor, Technical University of Denmark
  • Niels Henriksen, Senior Advisor, DONG Energy
  • Kathrine Richardson, Professor, University of Copenhagen

Facts about bioeconomy

  • Bioeconomy is about using sustainable biomass better and more intelligently, including for completely new high value products.
  • With the aid of biorefining, biomass can be converted to biological components that can be built up again and again and used for several purposes. Biorefining results in substances such as sugar, lignin, methane, fat and protein, which can be included in the production of medicine, food, feed, materials and energy.
  • Once the technology is in place, products made with sustainable biomass can replace products based on coal, oil and gas. 

For more information please contact

Senior Researcher Uffe Jørgensen, Department of Agroecology, email: uffe.jorgensen@agro.au.dk, telephone: +45 8715 7729, mobile: +45 2133 7831

Associate Professor Ib Johannsen, Department of Engineering, email:
, telephone: +45 2135 6050