Document / search engine: Overcoming hurdles for innovation in industrial biotechnology in Europe Germany 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
Short name of the project:
Website link: http://industrialbiotech-europe.eu/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Germany-Workshop-Report.pdf
CORDIS link if relevant:
The seventh BIO-TIC regional workshop was held at the DECHEMA-Haus, Frankfurt am Main, Germany on 5th December 2013 and brought together 23 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 Germany.
The workshop attendees were very favourable to a global, pan-european approach for the day. Remarks were given with regards to IB in Europe and did not focus solely on the German case. Regarding the business cases for BIO-TIC, the absence of biolubricants and antibiotics was stressed as a shortcoming. However, the need to drive the project as rapidly as possible into solutions development was
particularly highlighted. This is due to the fact that IB is currently facing significant barriers in terms of policy, regulation and market entry.
The main technological issues hindering IB uptake are related to product properties. Biobased products should not be considered multi-purpose in terms of applications because their strength lies in their technological added value for niche markets. However, when looking at the whole conversion process from raw material to downstream processing, the costs are not competitive. Research for new compounds needs to be fostered because conversion processes for non-renewables remain less expensive. In addition, uncertainties in terms of the sustainability of feedstock supply and use need to be addressed through a global biomass certification scheme. According to the workshop attendees, significant technological improvements are required for bioconversion. Among the business cases the BIO-TIC project is focusing on, it is considered that the opportunity to use CO2 as a feedstock is still at an early stage and needs the development of breakthrough technologies. On the non-technological side, there is a compelling need to change public perception towards biobased products. Whilst the media convey negative messages on the subject, it is crucial to tackle the problem through public education and professional marketing strategies. Cooperation between various stakeholders and governments can be highly valuable in this context, especially since general focus needs to be shifted from biofuels to non-energy biobased products. In this context, the CEN/TC411 initiative is a valuable tool to promote the use of sustainable biomass and the production of sustainable biobased products. It is crucial to create a level playing field when assessing sustainability: the full range of feedstock and feedstock uses needs to be taken into account. European feedstock does not perform very well in terms of sustainability; this is why it is essential to invest in technological developments whilst taking a long term approach. By doing so, leaving behind fossil fuels and switching to renewable energy sources for every step of the production chain would subsequently be required.
Countries/regions described/represented: Germany