York, 18th October 2017: The Pilots4U project was recently launched,
when the eight project partners came together in Ghent to discuss future action.
Pilots4U is a European project funded by the Bio Based Industries Joint
Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation
programme. The purposes of the project is to map open access pilot and demonstration
infrastructures across Europe, to help companies and research institutions
operating in the bioeconomy gain easier access to testing facilities to bring
their ideas from development to market.
European bioeconomy sector is growing rapidly, as the knowledge of converting biological resources into value added products, such as biochemicals, bioplastics,
biodetergents, food, feed medicines, pulp- and paper products, and bioenergy is
gaining ground. The European Commission also sees the development of a thriving
bioeconomy as central to achieving a resource-efficient and sustainable economy, as well
as a way of responding to increasing
populations, depleting natural resources
and climate change.
To reach its full potential, companies and institutions operating in the
bioeconomy sector need support to develop their innovations into marketable
products, which involves access to state-of-the-art-testing facilities that can
scale-up their innovative processes from laboratory to industrial scale. Early collaboration with such
a facility offering access to a wide range of process equipment and experienced
personal can substantially reduce costs, risks and development time and will enhance
the chance to successful market entry.
of the main barriers in the development of the sector is that many companies
and R&D performing organisations are not aware of or assume they do not
have access to these state-of-the-art industrial pilot and demonstration plants.
Hence, the Pilots4U project sets out to map all existing open access bio-economy pilot- and multipurpose demonstration
facilities, including data on available equipment and personnel competences,
with the aim of creating one easily
accessible database for all actors operating in the European bioeconomy. In
parallel, Pilots4U will survey potential users of open access facilities to
understand their needs for equipment and expertise. Comparing the available
assets with the needs expressed by industry will clarify the areas in which
investment in infrastructure for innovation is required. By improving the
overview and thereby, access to pilot and demonstration facilities, Pilots4U
will promote innovation in the sector by assisting industry and R&D organisations
in getting their innovations closer to market.
Project Coordinator, Lieve Hoflack, welcomed
the establishment of the project saying: “Pilots4U aims
to help SMEs, start-ups, and also large enterprises and research institutes to easily
find an open access pilot facility that can bring their innovation to
industrial scale. Pilot facilities play a vital role in bringing innovations to
the market and open access facilities substantially lower the risk associated
with taking this step mainly for SMEs and start-ups. We expect Pilots4U to result in the
empowerment of SMEs to commercialize their innovation themselves thus
generation local jobs in Europe.”