Michael Carus was born on 15 October 1956 in Cologne, Germany, as the oldest son. He grew up in Wuppertal, Germany, but his studies in physics and mathematics brought him back to his birthplace, where he received the degree “Diplom Physiker” in 1983. He was manager of the Ecology Department at the student administration (AStA) for several years.
For multiple years, Carus was university teacher for the tele-education at the University of Tübingen, in the topics of ecology, nuclear energy and radioactivity. At the same time, he worked as science journalist for well-known magazines like “Bild der Wissenschaft” and as scientist at the KATALYSE Environmental Institute with a focus on energy and ecology.
His search for the right thematic focus continued and brought him to the IT-Area (Tektronix GmbH) as system manager for six years and for 2 years to the solar industry (Flachglas Solartechnik), and in the end it brought him back to the Cologne KATALYSE Environmental Institute, now with more focus on energy, renewable resources and electric smog. In the beginning of 1993, Carus became department manager.
Having found the overall topic of resources as his specialty, 1994 became Carus’ fateful year: At the end of 1994, he and five other scientists founded the nova-Institut GmbH – nova-Institute for Ecology and Innovation. Ever since the beginning, Carus has been involved in the company as owner and one of two Managing Directors. From six employees back then, nova-Institute has grown to employing about 30 people by now.
Since then, the bio-based economy is the main area of Michael Carus’s work. The decision to focus completely on industrial material use of biomass was taken early. For energy purposes, Carus saw the superiority of solar and wind energy as well as electric mobility to biomass usage very early on. But to replace fossil carbon in the chemical and plastics industry, biomass is indispensable – even though there is a different alternative by now: The direct use of CO2 as renewable carbon source.
Carus has also served as Managing Director of the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) since its foundation in 2005 and in this function joined the Lead Market Initiative (LMI) „Ad-hoc Advisory Group for Bio-based Products“ (2010-2013). Also in this function, nova has acted as a contributing member of the Technical Committee, CEN/TC 411 “Bio-based products” (since 2011), member of the “Expert Group on Bio-based Products” of the European Commission (since 2013), member of the Thematic Working Groups “Biomass supply” and “Market making” of the “Bioeconomy Panel” of the European Commission (since 2013), as well as member of the SCAR Foresight experts group “Sustainable Bioresources for a Growing Bioeconomy” (since 2014).
On top of these activities, Carus is also active on international level as a member of the FAO “Hard fibre group” and the steering committee of the “International Year of Natural Fibre (IYNF) 2009” just as he is, until today, a member of the national working group “Reinforced Polymers” (AVK-TV) sub-group “Natural fibre reinforced polymers”. Additionally, Carus is active in the biotechnology networks CLIB2021 in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany and IBB in Bavaria, Germany.
Today, Michael Carus is recognised as one of the leading European experts, market researchers and policy advisers of the bio- and CO2-based economy. Carus is main author and co-author of many fundamental reports and policy papers concerning the bio-based economy; you can find a selection here www.bio-based.eu/nova-papers and www.bio-based.eu/policy.