The success of the
bioeconomy lies in the ability to innovate, to turn sustainable renewable raw
materials into added value products using low carbon processes. As someone once
said, ‘it’s not easy being green’ and neither is successful innovation. To
realise Europe’s bioeconomy vision we need to support innovation and
particularly provide mechanisms that allow entrepreneurial SME’s to investigate
new processes, products, markets and business models; creating investable
For over 13 years
NNFCC has been guiding organisations through the bioeconomy and supporting
companies through market insight and value chain development. We also
understand the value of collaboration and the need to work with the experts offering
specialist knowledge and competence.
We are currently
working on two European innovation support schemes, SuperBIO and BioBase4SME. Bound
by a vision of a flourishing European bioeconomy, we have joined with a network
of professional companies who have come together to offer their business expertise
to SMEs at cost rates, through projects co-funded by the European Commission.
One year into these schemes,
we are delighted to have attracted a significant t number of successful
applications from SMEs based in the UK. Indeed over 50% of successful
applications to the SuperBIO scheme originate from the UK.
We are keen to
sustain the number of UK applications; so how do the schemes deliver value to
SMEs? And which questions can be answered through the innovation support
services offered by the SuperBIO and BioBase4SME? Below is a snapshot of the
work done so far on four value chains championed by four UK-based SMEs in the
sector of IB and AD.
Firstly, a company
developing a mixed sugar stream from a waste stream produced by the
dissolving pulp industry was able to contract a co-funded market research under
the BioBase4SME innovation support scheme. A three-month piece of work was carried
out to identify product developers who possess or will possess the technology
to produce bio-based molecules from C5/mixed sugars within two years. The work
included an independent review of the markets linked to the list of molecules
identified by the company (application, price, potential volumes) as well as a
description of the technology landscape of bio-based chemicals currently accessible,
including developers close to commercial realisation.
Another SME developing an additive for anaerobic digestion (AD) for the treatment of non-food feedstocks used the SuperBIO innovation scheme to
verify whether financial incentives would still apply to AD plants using its additive. As part of this one-month piece of work, the EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED) and recasts post-2020 were reviewed. This included the FIT/RHI in the UK or the Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz legislation in Germany, where the UK-based SME aims to first commercialise its additive. The company has also benefited from an IP audit following which, it filed a patent with the UK patent attorneys Gill Jennings & Every, a partner on the SuperBIO project.
A third company
focusing on the valorisation of pot ale in Scotland has successfully applied
for a business-case evaluation. The objective of the work is to provide the
company with an appraisal of its business model to commercialise the technology
it has developed. The SME aims to use pot ale for the production of ethanol and
short chain fatty acids. To do so, the current landscape of pot ale generation,
treatment and disposal will be reviewed against the assumptions made by the
Scottish SME regarding the economics of current treatment options for pot ale.
This project brings us to one of the latest UK application
to have been validated on the BioBase4SME scheme. A Scottish company
successfully applied to the scheme to carry-out scale-up work on their improved
butanol production process. Together with the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant in
Ghent, the SME will trial its bacterial strain with a more cost-efficient
feedstock combination at a scale of 5,000 litres.
All the work highlighted above was done through the
innovation support services offered via the SuperBIO and BioBase4SME project. Through those two programs, SMEs in Europe can access
pre-funded projects of up to:
- € 100,000 (with a co-funding
share of max. 50% from the SME) via BioBase4SME and
- € 60,000 (with a co-funding
share of max. 25% from the SME) via SuperBIO.
The value of the innovation voucher is to be spent on innovation
support services (i.e. market research, LCA, policy analysis, scale-up,
business plan development) which are delivered by specific consortium members
across Europe. The application form is a couple
of pages long in each case. We aim for a turnaround of a month for BioBase4SME and three months for SuperBIO.
Get in touch with Lucy F R Montgomery (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Lucie A Pfaltzgraff (email@example.com) to discuss your technology’s eligibility for either or both
For more information:
SuperBIO supports the development of promising industrial value chains in the
biobased economy and
supports SMEs by providing 10 different professional innovation services 75% funded
by SuperBIO. The SuperBIO consortium includes
four industrial cluster organisations (from Belgium, France, Spain and Poland),
and six service providers (from the UK, Germany and Belgium).
The BioBase4SME network, representing leading bio-based economy experts,
support SMEs and start-ups across North-West Europe on how to develop new ideas
into marketable products. The BioBase4SME expert network organises workshops on
specific topics, diverse training events and an innovation bio-camp.
Furthermore, SMEs and start-ups can
apply for bio-innovation
coupons with a value up to €100.000 when looking for
technical (process development, scale-up…) and non-technical support (LCA,
application testing, market research, business plan coaching, social