Anne Grete Holmsgaard, the BioRefining Alliance’s new director

05.12.2011, News

Former Danish MP Anne Grete Holmsgaard is spearheading the Danish BioRefining Alliance’s (formerly known as Renew Europe) effort to develop Denmark’s strengths when it comes to creating the global biobased society. The former climate- and energy politician starts her new job as director for the BioRefining Alliance on January 1. 2012.

- I really look forward to it. The perspectives are vast, and the challenges equally so. We need to cultivate our earth in a manner that ensures our ability to feed the world’s growing population whilst simultaneously ensuring biomass for energy and materials in the future.

This requires that we develop new technologies throughout the value chain, and that we do so sustainably and with respect for biodiversity. Denmark has a great starting position, with a strong industrial sector and research environments.

If we succeed in the development of even a few of the necessary solutions, we can both contribute to the solution of the world’s energy and resource problems and create business opportunities for the companies that choose to act as frontrunners in this green transformation’, Anne Grete Holmsgaard says.

The BioRefining Alliance is a new groundbreaking collaboration that will develop Denmark’s leading position within green bioproducts whilst creating new jobs and green growth.

Biotechnology makes it possible to transform society’s residue/waste products into the same products we get from oil. It is technically demanding, but on a global scale, Denmark already has a leading position within bioproducts.

Right now, the Alliance consists of three large corporations and a business organisation - DONG Energy, Novozymes, Haldor Topsøe and the Danish Agriculture and Food Council – but the intention is for the Alliance to grow much broader with time.

- It is all about taking the next step in refining and using biomass in a better way than we’re currently doing. Plants are little solar energy factories that we can get a lot more out of than we do today when we burn wood and other types of biomass to access energy.

We’re likely to still be burning biomass for years, but the larger perspective is that we will be moving away from burning it towards a more gifted way of using biomass. We really need to lift ourselves out of low- and into high technology, Anne Grete Holmsgaard says.

- Inbicon in the Danish city Kalundborg is an important first step in this development. Denmark already enjoys a great biorefinery position with the world’s first demonstrational facility for the production of second-generation ethanol cultivated from straw, and Danish motorists already use this fuel in their vehicles.

At the same time, we also get other products out of the process in Kalundborg. These other products can amongst other things be used for feed purposes that for instance can replace the import of soy and in time can be used as building blocks for the biomaterials that can replace plastic products. This is indeed innovation with huge perspectives, Anne Grete Holmsgaard says.


Anne Grete Holmsgaard was a member of the Danish Parliament from 1979 to 1987 and then again from 2001 to 2011. She was the director of Denmark’s Technical University from 1995 to 2002.

She headed the Sustainable Energy Council from 2001 to, and presently leads The Energy Foundation (Energifonden) and Gate 21, a public-private partnership focused on energy renovation, resources, strategic energy planning and traffic management in municipalities.