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Bioeconomy: How Renewable Resources Can Help the Future of Our Planet

Explore the sustainable technologies, strategies, and careers helping the world transition to a biobased economy.

1,667 enrolled on this course

Scientist in laboratory with tray of samples

Bioeconomy: How Renewable Resources Can Help the Future of Our Planet

1,667 enrolled on this course

  • 3 weeks

  • 4 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Open level

Find out more about how to join this course

Investigate how you can utilise renewable resources

With a predicted global population of nine billion people in 2050, a well-documented climate crisis, and a global food waste problem, the world needs to change.

On this course, you’ll look at the ways you can make the most of renewable, biological resources, including what you might think of as ‘waste’, and how the world can move away from a fossil-based economy to a bioeconomy.

Understand the basics of a bioeconomy and why it’s important

You’ll start this course by gaining an understanding of what a bioeconomy is and which sectors it includes.

With the climate crisis being of constant concern, you’ll assess why the move away from non-renewable resources is so important and identify the skills required to transition to a bio-based economy. This will also include the skills needed to pursue a career in the bioeconomy and the many career paths available.

Discover how natural resources can help transition away from fossil fuels

On this course, you’ll delve into natural resources, such as plants and microbes, and how they can be used to produce high-value chemicals for the personal care, food, drink, and pharma sectors.

You’ll also look at how food and agricultural waste can be used to make new products. This will cover the agricultural technologies that are helping sustainability, as well as methods like anaerobic digestion, which turns waste materials into renewable resources.

Learn from the experts at BioYorkshire

Supporting York and North Yorkshire’s ambitions to become one of the first in the UK to be carbon negative, BioYorkshire is uniquely positioned to help you understand the current state of the bioeconomy, where there are opportunities for innovation, and the emerging technologies within the sustainability industry.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds Fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas have been providing electricity, heat and transportation for us for the last 200 years. We also rely on them to make chemicals, plastics and many other materials. But this reliance has led to climate change and a host of other problems, such as plastic pollution. How can we make the things we need from the resources that won’t run out in a way that is better for the planet and create a sustainable environment for future generations? This is what the bioeconomy is all about. We can use living things, such as plants, animals and microbes

Skip to 0 minutes and 49 seconds to make not just food and feed, but also: energy, chemicals and materials.

Skip to 0 minutes and 55 seconds We can get more value from agri-tech and food wastes: for example, turning waste straw into biofuel or converting waste bread into antibiotics

Skip to 1 minute and 5 seconds We can use microbes to manage our waste: for example, using anaerobic digestion to produce biogas and biofertiliser. We can use plants and microbes to produce high value chemicals such as safer alternatives to toxic solvents and natural sources of flavours and fragrances. With the help of bioeconomy innovations such as these, we have plans to make York and North Yorkshire the nation’s first carbon negative region, transformed by profitable and sustainable technologies. Join us to learn all about the bioeconomy, the ideas and innovations that will shape the careers of the future and discuss the barriers that we need to be overcome in a transition from a fossil-based to a bio-based world.

What topics will you cover?

  • What do we mean by the ‘bioeconomy’ and why is transitioning towards a bioeconomy important?
  • Value from agricultural waste - how agricultural technologies are helping sustainability and agricultural residues can be used as a resource.
  • Anaerobic digestion - turning waste materials into renewable energy and nutrient-rich fertiliser.
  • Unavoidable food waste - how we can use it to make new products.
  • High value chemicals from plants and microbes - solutions for the personal care, food, drink and pharma sectors.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore what the bioeconomy is and which sectors it includes.
  • Debate why the move away from a fossil-fuel economy is important.
  • Identify some of the skills needed to pursue a career in the bioeconomy and some of the bioeconomy career paths available.
  • Explain how natural resources such as plants and microbes can be used to produce high value chemicals.
  • Assess how waste can be used as a resource to produce energy and products.

Who is the course for?

This course has been designed for anyone looking to learn about a more sustainable economy and solutions to climate change.

This will be of particular interest to students thinking about future study or a career in sustainability or the bioeconomy.

Who will you learn with?

Communications Manager for the BioVale Innovation Cluster, the Biorenewables Development Centre and the EU-funded Agrimax project - promoting the bioeconomy.

BioVale Cluster Operations Manager at the University of York/Project Manager at BioYorkshire. I help develop the circular bioeconomy through networking events, entrepreneurship support and outreach

Who developed the course?

University of York

The University of York combines the pursuit of academic excellence with a culture of inclusion, which encourages everyone – from a variety of backgrounds – to achieve their best.


As the world faces up to its challenges, one solution is to shift away from fossil fuels in favour of a greener economy which uses renewable, biological resources.

Growing a dynamic green economy across York and North Yorkshire, BioYorkshire brings together scientific expertise to develop sustainable solutions for some of the UK’s most pressing environmental challenges and deliver green economic growth.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$109/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 5 Jul 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

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