Growing a Renewable Bioeconomy

September 8, 2022
Cellugy's Newsletter: Leveraging the power of biocellulose

Society has fortunately moved past the days of sowing doubt on whether our climate crisis is human-caused or even a reality. The voices of climate-change deniers are increasingly being muffled by the sound of roaring wildfires, droughts, and continents worth of pollution in our oceans and soil. While we do have many of the required solutions to tackle the issues, political will is unfortunately still lacking behind the urgency of our challenges [1].

In Europe, one of the strategic policy frameworks to mitigate the climate crisis is the development of a future flourishing bioeconomy. The bioeconomy is defined as an economy where the basic building blocks for materials, chemicals and energy are derived from renewable biological resources [2].

It is estimated that 8,3% of Europeans are already working within the sector, and represents 4,7% of the EU’s total GDP [3]. This means that 17,42 million Europeans are adding €657 billion in value every year – and it is expected to grow rapidly as people develop new biobased innovations and methods to create responsible growth. Redirecting businesses towards circularity and renewable resources does not have to compromise the competitiveness of our businesses. On the contrary, a growth in legislation banning polluting materials and practices might make it an absolute necessity for businesses to proactively do so.

What are the EU Bioeconomy objectives?

The EU Updated Bioeconomy Strategy has five major goals, that align with the sustainable development goals:

1) Ensuring food and nutrition security,

2) managing natural resources sustainability,

3) reducing dependency on nonrenewable, unsustainable resources,

4) limiting and adapting to climate change,

5) strengthening EU competitiveness and creating jobs [3]

We believe that cellulose materials and ingredients have the potential to play a key role in realising these targets. Cellulose is the most abundant polymer found in nature, present in the cell walls of plants – where the cellulose fibres act as a natural polymer responsible for the stiffness of plants due to its mechanical strength and support.

You are likely already quite familiar with cellulose-derived products – they have been around for a long time. The purest cellulose you find in nature is cotton which consists of nearly 90% cellulose. Conventional methods for extracting cellulose typically rely on wood sources, where it is boiled, beaten, or shredded into tiny fibers. Finally, the cellulose from the remaining wood pulp is put through a chemical treatment sorting out the remaining non-cellulose components.

At Cellugy we have flipped the process on its head with our fermentation-derived cellulose, EcoFLEXY. One of the many benefits of this process is that we are not extracting it from wood, but rather growing it through a fermentation process that relies on sugar and bacteria capable of growing cellulose of very high purity. Different feedstocks, bacteria strains, combined with a modular process allows us to tune our material to create numerous applications, which can help our partners transition their products using renewable materials. Diversifying the feedstocks also helps create less strain on our forests, with the pulp and paper industry already being responsible for 33-40% of all industrial wood traded in the world[4]. High temperatures, changing ecosystems, and unsustainable sourcing operations mean that we must spread out our resource use when designing new materials and ingredients for a circular economy.

Growing our material from the ground up, also results in lower energy use throughout the process, as well as reducing its heavy reliance on chemicals. Scaling the availability of fermentation-derived cellulose materials and ingredients across industries remains Cellugy’s number one approach to having a sustainable impact. We believe that a future built on renewable and non-toxic building blocks is possible. We want to help enable this potential with our partners in the industries, where renewable alternatives are urgently needed. Together, we can unleash the renewable potential in today’s products.


[1] Kashdan, A. (2022). 8 Years, 6 Reports, and 1.1 Degrees: What We Learned From the IPCC’s Latest Report Cycle, and What’s Next For Climate Action. United Nations Foundation. Retrieved 03/09/2022 from

[2] Bioeconomy. (2020). ScienceDirect. Retrieved 02/09/2022 from

[3] European Commission. (2022). EU Bioeconomy Strategy Progress Report. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

[4]Pulp and Paper - Overview. (2021). World Wildlife Font. Retrieved 02/09/2022 from