Overcoming hurdles for innovation in industrial biotechnology in Europe BENELUX Workshop Report

Overcoming hurdles for innovation in industrial biotechnology in Europe BENELUX Workshop Report

Main topic: Regional profiles
Document / search engine: Overcoming hurdles for innovation in industrial biotechnology in Europe BENELUX Workshop Report
Framework project: The Industrial Biotech Research and Innovation Platforms Centre - towards Technological Innovation and solid foundations for a growing industrial biotech sector in Europe
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Website link: http://industrialbiotech-europe.eu/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/BENELUX-Workshop-Report.pdf
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The first BIO-TIC regional workshop was held at the Green Chemistry Campus, Bergen op Zoom, Netherlands on 27th June 2013 and brought together 15 participants to discuss the potential for IB, to identify hurdles and enablers, and to suggest novel mechanisms by which IB uptake could be facilitated in the Benelux region. While the Benelux has great potential for innovation in, and the deployment of IB, there are many hurdles, both technological and non-technological, which need to be overcome to reach this potential. The most significant hurdles to the IB industry in the region according to the workshop were related to feedstock supply and price. Other hurdles ranged from technical issues including the prohibitory price of enzymes, poor yields (of both biomass and conversion processes), the need to scale up from batch to continuous processing modes to more market-based issues such as a lack of investment to promote R&D, pilot and demonstration activities and the costs associated with IP protection, especially for SME’s. Complicated regulations over the use of some materials, for example wastes and new technologies are perceived to a hurdle to innovation in IB. A wide range of mechanisms by which IB could be promoted in the Benelux region were suggested and discussed. These included introducing financial supports for farmers, decreasing tariffs for imported biomass and introducing tax exemptions for bio based products. Others suggested that bio based productions should be included within the Renewable Energy Directive alongside fuels to create a level playing field regarding incentives. More widely, it was suggested that biomass yields should be improved, waste regulations should be simplified for use in bio based products and the principal of cascading use of biomass should be more widely adopted. Increasing the visibility of IB through exchange of best practice, promoting cooperation, developing networks and demonstrating viable business opportunities were identified as key routes to help develop the IB industry in Benelux. Improving the visibility of IB will also help raise funds for R&D; pilot and demo activities whilst new business models, where the return on investment can be 5 years or more, would help support the industry.


Countries/regions described/represented: Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands
Year: 2014