Tuesday, 23 June 2015

BIO-TIC’s 10 Recommendations to enable € 50 billion EU Bioeconomy

Today (23 June), the BIO-TIC project has launched its final roadmap report for tackling barriers to realising the full potential of industrial biotechnology in Europe. The report is entitled ‘The bioeconomy enabled - A roadmap to a thriving industrial biotechnology sector in Europe’ and was introduced at the project’s high level policy conference “From bugs to business: Unlocking the Bioeconomy in Europe” that took at the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts in Brussels. The conference brought together industry, academia, policy makers, innovation agencies and other bioeconomy stakeholders to discuss the actions needed to stimulate the development of industrial biotechnology in Europe. 

The BIO-TIC report highlights that the EU market for industrial biotechnology-derived products is expected to increase from € 28 billion in 2013 to € 50 billion in 2030. This growth will be largely driven by replacement of fossil carbon materials, reflecting Europe’s desire to develop more sustainable and resource-efficient products and processes.

However, in spite of this market growth, significant hurdles remain and hamper the full development of industrial biotechnology in Europe. For example, the principal barrier to fully exploiting industrial biotechnology opportunities in Europe relates to product cost-competitiveness, both compared to fossil alternatives and to equivalent products sourced from elsewhere in the world.

To tackle this and other hurdles, and to ensure that most of this potential is realised in Europe, the BIO-TIC roadmap outlines ten pragmatic recommendations for action. Presenting the main findings of the report Antoine Peeters of EuropaBio (below) said that: "The projected market of up to € 50 billion meant that there were many opportunities for competitive European positions - it was now up to you [the European bioeconomy stakeholders] to make it happen!"

The ten main recommendations in the report are to:

  • Improve opportunities for feedstock producers within the bioeconomy; 
  • Investigate the scope for using novel biomass; 
  • Develop a workforce which can maintain Europe’s competitiveness in industrial biotechnology; 
  • Introduce a long-term, stable and transparent policy and incentive framework to promote the bioeconomy; 
  • Improve public perception and awareness of industrial biotechnology and biobased products; 
  • Identify, leverage and build upon EU capabilities for pilot and demonstration facilities; 
  • Promote the use of co-products; 
  • Improve the bioconversion and downstream processing steps; 
  • Improve access to financing for large scale biorefinery projects; 
  • Develop stronger relationships between conventional and non-conventional players in the value chain. 

Nathalie Moll, Secretary General of EuropaBio, which coordinated the project, said: “We are thrilled to see BIO-TIC come to fruition. The roadmap represents a comprehensive summary of expertise and insight from across the Member States. In 10 recommendations, it highlights ways of capturing the huge potential for environmental, societal and economic solutions that this cutting-edge technology offers in the development of a more competitive, circular EU bioeconomy.”

The roadmap
The Bioeconomy Enabled: A Roadmap to a Thriving Industrial Biotechnology Sector in Europe’ roadmap is a key deliverable of the EU funded BIO-TIC project. The results are based on an extensive literature review, complemented with over 80 expert interviews and 13 stakeholder workshops organised across Europe in 2013 and 2014. It is based on three detailed reports covering market potential, research and development and regulatory/policy issues, available separately as appendices to the main document. All BIO-TIC roadmaps can be downloaded from the BIO-TIC web portal.

The ‘From bugs to business: Unlocking the Bioeconomy in Europe’ conference was chaired by Professor Patricia Osseweijer of TU Delft and featured keynote speeches by BioAmber, Biobased Delta, Energochemica and Ecover to illustrate the issues and potential of industrial biotechnology in Europe.

Panel debates covered project financing for industrial biotechnology projects and issues around biomass availability. The conference concluded with contributions from MEP Lambert van Nistelrooij and Waldemar Kütt, ‎Head of Unit for BioBased products and Processes at DG Research and Innovation, giving their views from Parliament and the Commission respectively on industrial biotechnology.

Lambert van Nistelrooij highlighted the need to “introduce a long-term, stable and transparent policy and incentive framework to promote the bioeconomy” while Waldemar Kütt said that: “Industrial biotechnology can make a change to enable a future bioeconomy and a future circular economy. BIO-TIC’s ten recommendations will be very valuable making progress in this area.”

The event included an exhibition of industrial biotechnology-related tools (including 3D printing machines) and a range of biobased products (above). Conference delegates were also invited to visit the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant on the morning of 24 June.

The Industrial Biotech Research and Innovation Platforms Centre towards Technological Innovation and Solid Foundations for a Growing Industrial Biotech Sector in Europe (BIO-TIC) project was launched in September 2012 with the vision to establish an overview of the hurdles to biotech innovation and find solutions to accelerate the uptake of industrial biotechnology in Europe. BIO-TIC was a three-year project funded by the FP7 Programme of the European Commission and is operated by 12 partners. These are EuropaBio, Cefic, PNO Consultants, TNO, Dechema, nova Institut, Clever Consult, KTN, IAR, Poyry Management Consulting Oy, Ciaotech and PNO Innovation. The consortium is led by EuropaBio.

More information
For more information, contact Claire Gray Project Co-ordinator for BIO-TIC at EuropaBio or visit the BIO-TIC website.

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