A study released at the European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology and the Bio-based Economy (EFIB) event in Amsterdam in October shows that Europe is well positioned to spearhead the development of a bio-based economy but must invest in demonstration activities to gain a competitive edge.
The “Biorefinery Feasibility Study” was launched by EuropaBio and nine partners, including DSM, Evonik, Genencor, Novozymes and Sud-Chemie, and undertaken by Dalberg Global Development Advisors. The study provides a blueprint for establishing integrated, demonstration scale biorefineries in the EU and recommends co-investments from public and private stakeholders to overcome the gap from research to market.
The “Integrated Biorefinery” concept was one of the original visionary projects described in SusChem’s Vision and Strategic Research Agenda. A cluster of FP7 projects are laying the knowledge-basis for such future bio-based facilities.
Nathalie Moll, Secretary General of EuropaBio said: “The results present a vision, value chains and required capital investments, funding options, governance and implementation paths for demonstration biorefineries in the EU. These facilities are essential if we are to translate the full potential of our excellence in industrial biotech into smart, sustainable, marketable bio-based products and processes.”
The study provides a fact base on options and funding needs for demonstration biorefineries. It focuses on biotechnological conversion of agricultural residue, hard wood and energy crops into chemicals, materials and energy.
According to the Dalberg study, diverse private sector interests mean competing sub-consortia of private and public stakeholders are likely to be most effective. The SPIRE PPP proposal that has been launched by the Resource and Energy Efficiency Partnership has included the topic of industrial biotechnology and biorefineries in their proposal and would provide excellent facilitation to access funding – including through Horizon 2020.
Other findings in the study include recommendations on the preferred location for biorefineries linked to synergies in co-location and feedstock availability. The study also outlines the need to focus on products with the highest added value, such as fuels and chemicals over heat and power, and to focus on funding for first-of-their-kind production plants and accessing funding to reduce risks to investors.
To find out more on the study and to access the full report contact EuropaBio either via Joanna Dupont-Inglis (Director, Industrial Biotechnology) or Rosalind Travers (Communications and Associations Liaison Officer).