Unlocking the Potential for Industrial Biotechnology in Europe 

Industrial or white biotechnology uses enzymes and micro-organisms to make biobased products in a wide range of different sectors such as chemicals, food and feed, detergents, paper and pulp, textiles and bioenergy (such as biofuels or biogas). The use of industrial biotechnology can help develop a more sustainable and resource efficient Europe, and has been identified as a key enabling technology to drive European competitiveness in the coming decades. The industrial biotechnology sector in Europe was estimated at 28 BEUR in 2013; by 2030 it is estimated to increase to 52 BEUR.  

Nevertheless, major hurdles continue to hamper the full exploitation of IB in Europe. These include:

  • Securing enough biomass, at a competitive price and derived from sustainable resources
  • Limited access to public funding 
  • Poor public awareness of IB products and their advantages
  • Lack of incentives and policy drivers for IB products
  • Technological constraints including low yields of products and costs associated with scale up from bench to industrial scale.

Developing Solutions 

The massive potential for this key transformative technology in Europe can only be achieved by developing concrete actions to overcome these hurdles. The project focuses on five product groups which have significant potential for Europe and which have the potential to introduce cross-cutting technology ideas. Stakeholder engagement is crucial in ensuring that actions are developed which best fit the needs of this sector. A series of workshops will be held in late 2014 to examine what could be done to overcome hurdles in IB for each of these key product groups. 

These workshops will consider the key questions facing the IB sector in Europe, for example:

  • Should we focus on improving existing products or on developing new ones?
  • Where should the industry focus its outreach efforts to achieve maximum impact?
  • Do we need to introduce clear blending or mandates for biobased products or would taxation on fossil equivalents be more effective?
  • To what extent can funding help de-risk investments?
  • Can we reduce costs enough to allow customers to buy based on environmental benefits rather than costs? If so, how? 

More details on each of these workshops including registration links is provided at the appropriate tab on the left hand side of this page. 

Who Should Attend?

If you are an expert in markets, policy/regulation, technology development or research for either bio-based or traditionally produced products any of the sectors above, we would like to have your thoughts and opinions on how we can overcome the hurdles to IB in Europe so that a sound and actionable roadmap to overcome hurdles to IB in Europe is developed.

Introducing the BIO-TIC Project

BIO-TIC is a three year project, funded by the European Commission, aiming to identify the hurdles to Industrial Biotechnology and to develop solutions to overcome them. The BIO-TIC project comprises of three main pillars: 

  • An interactive and extensive roadmapping development process to comprehensively examine the innovation hurdles for IB across Europe and develop recommendations and tools to overcome these. Three in-depth bio-roadmaps focussing on market potential, R&D priorities and non-technological (regulatory and policy) hurdles to IB innovation are being developed. The actions developed in the workshops above will contribute to the development of these roadmaps. 
  • The development of a common framework and methodology to measure the impact of the developing bioeconomy. This includes socio-economic and environmental impacts and the availability and use of biomass for bio-based products in the European Union. 
  • The development a tool to overcome the fragmentation of knowledge which exists in the IB sector, thereby developing new strategic partnerships within the IB sector and boosting innovation. The BIO-TIC partnering platform aims become THE central platform for the European Bioeconomy, linking together the European IB sector, providing a showcase for experts and companies active in this area, funding opportunities, events and job opportunities. 
 
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