John Zhang, Co-founder of GS Biotech (China), on the current development of the renewable carbon economy

Interview with Michael Carus, CEO of the nova-Institute

Michael Carus: How has the environment for the Renewable Carbon Economy evolved during the Corona pandemic, climate change and GreenDeal, and the Ukraine war? (in terms of demand and investment)

John Zhang
John Zhang (GS Biotech) © nova-Institute

John Zhang: It has become an inevitable trend to promote the green transition of various countries during the corona pandemic, climate change and GreenDeal. And at the same time the green transition will lead to changes in many aspects, including climate, digital and social changes, and these changes will determine the overall strategy of the EU and the world’s major economies in the coming years.

While the coronavirus crisis has posed enormous challenges to economies and societies around the world, the established climate goal of limiting global warming to <2° will not change. On the contrary, the crisis provides an opportunity to align public policy more closely with climate goals, it can also reduce the risk of green transformation of carbon-intensive enterprises. Taking into account the implementation of national security strategies and various energy policies, more countries and regions have begun to encourage the development of green economy by increasing various favorable investment policies. Zhongke Guosheng (GS Biotech) was built up under such a big background. With bio-based platform compounds as the core, GS Biotech builds a new industrial chain from upstream biomass raw materials to many downstream derivative products to help to promote the country’s Carbon Peak and Carbon Neutral Strategy.

Michael Carus: Are there market preferences for any of the three sources of renewable carbon? Biomass first and second generation, biogenic waste, utilisation of CO2 from biogenic and fossil sources and direct air capture or mechanical and chemical recycling?

John Zhang: Renewable carbon comes from a wide range of sources, and the technologies used are also different, but the general judgment criteria are: high efficiency, cleanliness, low carbon, and environmentally friendly. Internationally, the full life cycle of a renewable energy is usually used to judge its comprehensive ability.

In the context of mitigating climate change, renewable energy sources with a smaller carbon footprint are the preferred choice. At present, the cost of carbon capture technology is relatively high, and there are still many uncertain factors in the promotion process, and also its impact on the environment cannot be ignored. After capturing, storage faces a series of problems such as space, leakage, safety, and cost.

From the definition of “carbon footprint”, the advantages of using biomass as raw material to prepare chemicals are very obvious. GS Biotech takes the front-end raw materials’ renew-ability, and the carbon emission of the whole life cycle from the source to the final product into consideration. By using biomass raw materials, the dependence on petroleum and fossil resources is reduced, and the added value of its derivatives is further studied based on market demand to improve the economy of products. In the long run, replacing petroleum-based materials with bio-based materials can not only make up for the deficiencies of traditional petrochemical platform products, but also achieve a revolution in the field of materials, which should be seen as an important step towards the post-petroleum era.

Michael Carus (nova-Institute)
Michael Carus (nova-Institute) © nova-Institute

Michael Carus: What would be the most important measures and policy instruments to accelerate the transformation from fossil to renewable carbon?

John Zhang: Establish relevant laws and regulations, combine economy and market, encourage innovation and increase investment in innovation as well as education to ensure that China can keep pace with its global counterparts. China’s perspective does align with the international standards of reducing carbon emissions through focusing on supporting the three key industries of carbon emission reduction, such as clean energy, energy conservation and environmental protection as well as carbon emission reduction technologies. At the same time we have to develop and transform the industrial structures of raw materials, petrochemical industry, financial industries and reduce the intake of carbon sources from these raw materials. In addition, we need to increase investments in the green economy, including related stimulus packages and direct investments in industries and technologies that can accelerate the green transition.

Michael Carus: Thank you so much for the interview.

GS Biotech is Gold Sponsor of the Renewable Materials Conference 10 – 12 May 2022, Cologne, Germany (hybrid event)!

More information:


nova-Institute, press release, 2022-05-09.


nova-Institut GmbH


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