Fossil raw materials are hydrocarbon compounds created from the remains of plant and animal life in Earth’s geological past. This includes petroleum, natural gas, coal and lignite. These fossil raw materials are used as an energy source, but also for making various products.
Fossil resources contain carbon that was captured by plants millions of years ago. At the time, the carbon was not released as CO2 (after the death of the plants) because it ended up under layers of earth. During the long time underground, the material fossilized and was no longer part of the carbon cycle. But because we now use it as a fuel, the carbon is released into the atmosphere as a good amount of extra CO2. Not good for our environment and at a certain point fossil raw materials will also run out.
In a biobased economy we replace fossil raw materials with natural renewable raw materials, namely biomass. Consider, for example, a table made of petroleum-based plastics. In a biobased economy we make these from bioplastic from starch or sugar cane.