$8m Project Drives Bio-Based Economy

Bio Base NWE

by | May 6, 2013

Bio Base NWESmall and medium businesses in northwest Europe can apply for Innovation Coupons worth up to €10,000 ($13,109) each to help them assess the feasibility of taking a bio-based idea or technology to industrial production.

The €6.2 million ($8.13 million) European Commission project will work with companies to help facilitate business development in bio-based technologies. Bio Base NWE will also provide training and education to help tackle the shortage of skilled professionals in northwest Europe’s bio-based industries.

Small and medium business (SMEs) will play a major role in growing Europe’s bio-based industries, projected to be worth more then €2 trillion ($2.62 trillion) by 2020, says Dr. Lieve Hoflack, manager of the Bio Base NWE project. Bio-based products are a growing area of interest for SMEs in the chemical, agribusiness, plastics, fuels, food, textile and pharma industires, Hoflack says.

But many of these companies find it difficult to take their bio-based ideas and research to the commercial market. This is where the Bio Base NWE network comes in, advising SMEs from across northwest Europe on how to develop new ideas into marketable products.

SME’s can use the coupons to get financial support to demonstrate innovative bio-based technologies at an independent demonstration facility in Ghent, Belgium. This pilot plant will selectively invest in equipment for promising technologies to promote further growth. Technologies being tested at the plant include biorefining, biomass pre-treatment, biocatalysis, fermentation, downstream processing and green chemistry.

There are fifty coupons available to conduct feasibility analysis, lab work and pilot tests. Companies can apply until March 31, 2015.

Last month, Rennovia said it has developed a process to make a bio-based nylon material that will cost 20 to 25 percent less to produce and halve greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional petroleum-derived chemicals.

Also in April, the US Biotechnology Industry Organization announced that Coca-Cola Co., LanzaTech, Lignol Energy, Plum Creek, American Science and Technology, Calysta Energy and Neol Biosolutions joined the group. The industry organization represents companies developing innovative industrial biotechnology products and processes.

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