Renewable raw materials

Blooming rape field
Photo: BMLRT / LFZ/Buchgraber

Primary areas of application are their use as a raw material and/or energy source, in packaging material, new composite materials, textile fabrics or paint and detergents.

Unlike fossil resources, renewable raw materials have the advantage that they grow back in reasonably short time periods and thus keep renewing themselves.

In terms of Austria's energy supplies, considerable efforts are currently being made to promote renewable energy sources in domestic agriculture and forestry.

The benefits of using renewables

Renewables contribute to ensuring sustainable energy and raw material production in a variety of ways. The biggest benefits of using renewables are:

  • less dependence on fossil fuels
  • sparing use of renewable resources
  • biological degradability
  • climate-friendliness
  • reduction of environmental footprint and waste production
  • contribution to securing employment in rural regions
  • value creation in the country
  • contribution to the conservation of a sustainable, well-managed cultural landscape

Sustainably produced bioenergy

As opposed to fossil fuels, the use of raw materials from agriculture and forestry for energy production is a key when aiming to reduce greenhouse gases.

According to the Directive on the promotion of use of energy from renewable sources, raw materials from agriculture and forestry used to produce biofuels and liquid biofuels must originate from sustainable production.

They must not be derived from areas of high environmental importance. In other words, the rules ban the use of areas with high biodiversity levels (e.g. primary forests, nature reserve areas, grassland with high biodiversity) and of areas with high carbon stocks (wet areas, converted forest areas) for the production of raw materials. Conformity with the EU's cross-compliance provisions is likewise a condition precedent. These sustainability criteria apply to biofuels and their raw materials produced either in the EU or imported from abroad; they are counted towards the national targets.

Food production clearly takes precedence over bioenergy production. The production of high-quality food takes priority, followed by feed production. Only the remaining areas are used for bioenergy.

When using wood, the aim is to ensure cascading use. This means, the various wood varieties should always be used where the greatest value-adding potential can be achieved.

Further Information