The potentials of bio solutions

Climate and sustainability potentials, barriers to growth, and Danish strongholds

Biotechnological climate solutions, or bio solutions, are important enablers for the decarbonisation of processes in industries that are otherwise difficult to decarbonise.

Certain bio solutions can be used to increase the yield of agriculture, reduce land use, provide alternative sources of protein for food, lower demand for plastic and pesticides, prevent food waste, and improve biodiversity, food supply, and food security.

However, the deployment of these bio solutions is being held back by a wide range of barriers. The absence of CO2 pricing and an outdated regulatory system are inhibiting several mature technologies ready for large-scale deployment.

The Alliance for Bio Solutions under the Danish Chamber of Commerce has commissioned Copenhagen Economics to analyse how bio solutions can help industries and households in their decarbonisation. An important part is not only to assess the impact of bio solutions on greenhouse gas emissions or the substitution of materials, but also the cost of these bio solutions relative to their alternatives and the framework conditions required to secure the uptake of these solutions.

Concretely, we were asked to analyse:

1. The global potentials of bio solutions.

2. Barriers that bio solutions face and policy recommendations for improved framework conditions.

3. The future market opportunities for the Danish bio solutions industry.

The main conclusions of our study are:

Bio solutions have a strong potential to deliver on climate goals

Towards 2030, we find the global achievable emission reduction potential of mature, ready-to-deploy technologies to be around 4,300 million tons of CO2 equivalents in 2030, corresponding to around eight per cent of current emissions globally, and this is expected to increase past 2030.

Addressing key deployment barriers needed to attain full potential

While bio solutions hold large potential to enable decarbonisation in other industries, they face barriers that hinder their operationalisation and placement in the market. To deliver on the nearer-term potential towards 2030, it is essential to address a number of regulatory barriers and market barriers that prevent the mass deployment of mature products that have costs on par with or above traditional solutions.