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Bio-Economy – Interregional cooperation on innovative use of non-food Biomass

The innovative use of non-food biomass represents one of the most significant emerging industries at global level, as it can provide a significant contribution in tackling some of the most important contemporary challenges, e.g. climate change, increased sustainability, switch to renewable resources, re-industrialisation. Important initiatives and investments are quickly growing in this field but the market penetration of innovative bio-based products is still in its infancy and most resources are still allocated to face the challenges of scaling up production processes. The Bioeconomy Pilot in Vanguard aims at supporting the deployment of high TRL technologies, through the setting up of transregional vaue chains in an industry-driven process, where public support comes into play to help bidging the valley of death. The pilot aims at indentifying critical challenges beyond the capabilities of a single region to team up skills, energies and resources that can make a difference in market terms.

Seven demo cases are currently under development, with a wide spectrum of approaches and topics, from large scale investment to extended networking of smaller infrastructures. Following the matchmaking event of February 2016, all demo cases have been working in order either to shape their ideas into a Vanguard- compatible approach or to condense different approaches in a single, common project. A Memorandum of Understanding with the Biobased Industry Consortium, representing the private side of the Bio Based Industry JTI, has been signed to develop common activities and the pilot has been positioned in order to take full advantage of different EC initiatives via both the Industrial Modernization platform and the European Cluster Collaboration Platform.

The demo cases

  • Lignocellulose refinery
  • Bio-aromatics
  • Turning (waste)gas into value
  • Biogas Beyond Energy Production
  • Bio-Aviation Fuel
  • Food & Feed Ingredients from Agrofood Waste
  • Food & Feed Ingredients from Algae
Lignocellulose refinery

The long-term goal of the demo case is the establishment of a European value chain from lignocellulose to end products using biotechology to provide green building blocks to the chemical industry. The demo case aims to achieve a large scale conversion of lignocellulose into chemical building blocks and fuels. This will be realized through the conversion of woodpellets, agro residues and other lignocellulose sources to C5-C6 sugars and lignin.

The future steps for the coming year is the finalization of the pre-feasibility of the business case in the Biobased Delta (South-West of the Netherlands), called “REDEFINERY”, the development of a MoU between stakeholders for setting up the pre-treatment demo-plant in Scotland, building on existing infrastructure (an existing paper mill), and the development of a concrete roadmap for eventually realizing a commercial scale-plant (based on set-up and fed by results of pilot plants).

Leading region: Province of Zuid-Holland – Biobased Delta
Participating regions: Brandenburg (Germany), Flanders (Belgium), Wallonia (Belgium), Baden-Württenberg (Germany), Scotland (Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre - IBioIC), Upper Austria (Austria), Navarra (Spain,) Värmland (Sweden), Skåne (Sweden), Emilia Romagna (Italy)
Contact person for the demo case: Carolien Huisman (carolien.huisman [at]

The long term objective is to set up several value chains, starting at the feedstock side (lignocellulose refineries), moving via thermochemical biomass treatment, sugar conversion or lignin de-polymerization lines to drop in and innovative molecules (large attention to functionalities), and finally to new applications in the field of chemicals, materials and products. Applications are in the field of polymers, textile, resins, glues, coatings, surfactants, emulsifiers, anti-oxidants, dispersants, adhesives, panel boards/laminates, tires, cosmetics, paints/inks and with applications in aromas and fragrances, food and feed, pharma, fine chemicals, panel boards/laminates, tires, paints and inks, polymeres and finally composites.

The future steps for the coming year is to set up a business plan for new companies and new products, production of test samples with existing facilities in Europe for biobased aromatics, set up of an application lab, set up of pilots for production (5 tons/year), demonstration plants and commercialization

Leading regions: Flanders, South Netherlands, Nordrhein-Westfalia
Participating regions: Emilia Romagna, Scotland, Wallonia, Brandenburg, Värmland, Central Finland, Upper Austria, (Slovenia, and the Basque Country)
Contact person for the demo case: Ludo Diels (ludo.diels [at]
Turning (waste)gas into value

The general goal of the pilot is to showcase the potential of the use of industrial waste gases to produce chemicals via (syn)gas conversion with a particular focus on new technologies for the conversion of industry’s waste gases into synthetic chemicals with high added value.

The future steps for the coming year is to set up a network of key research infrastructure, gathering unique and highly specialized infrastructures and expertise related to gas fermentation to create a culture of cooperation and information/knowledge sharing, develop an action plan/strategy to build a consortium capable of setting up a pilot and/or demo facility for the conversion of industrial solid waste into chemicals via (syn)gas fermentation in the Flanders region, set up a new value chain to make the best out of the pilot system, and tokick-start the elaboration of an Innovation Deal.

Lead region: Flanders / Flanders Biobased Valley)
Participating regions: North Rhine-Westphalia / CLIB2021, NOVA;  Emilia Romagna / ASTER, LEAP; Baden-Württemberg / BIOPRO, University of Ulm; Navarra / CENER, ADItech, UPNA; Wallonia / Greenwin; Scotland / Ingenza; South-Netherlands / WUR; Norte / University of Minho; South Denmark / Danmarks Tekniske Universitet
Contact person for the demo case: Sofie Dobbelaere (sofie.dobbelaere [at]
Biogas Beyond Energy Production

The main goal of this demo case is to accelerate the development of the biogas industry towards less dependency on public incentives and a larger range of market products, including energy, fuels, chemicals and materials by developing and implementing projects which either focus on the improvement of the techno-economic performance of biogas production or the improvement of valorization routes for the digestate.

The future steps for the coming year is to explore the opportunities for the development of one or several projects targeting the improvement of the techno-economic performance of biogas production, set up a network of companies, research centres, stakeholders and public authorities committed to the implementation of this strategy, based on a shared vision, explore the opportunities for the development of one or several projects targeting the improvement of valorization routes for the digestate.

Lead region: Lombardy / Lombardy Green Chemistry Association
Participating regions: Skåne / Region + Renewable Energy Technology International AB ; Lombardy / Università di Milano, Consorzio Italiano Biogas, Università Milano Bicocca, Regione Lombardia, Politecnico di Milano, Lombardy Energy Cluster ; Brandenburg / maxbiogas GmbH ; West Finland / Natural Resources Institute Finland ; Navarra / CENER - National Renewable Energy Centre, AIN - Asociación de la Industria de Navarra ; Asturias / Cluster of Energy, Environment and Climate Change ; Nordrhein-Westfalen / Clib2021 ; Malopolska         Energy / Solutions Sp. z o.o. ; Emilia Romagna / CRPA ; Baden-Württemberg / BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH ; Brandenburg / ; Wallonie / Valbiom, GreenWin ; Randstad Regio / Wageningen University ; Upper Austria / Wood Kplus
Contact person for the demo case: Ilaria Re ( [at]
Bio-Aviation Fuel

The future availability of bio based jet fuel in all European airports will be a challenge, involving the production of biomass, conversion and distribution. A gradual scale up of conversion capacity and biomass supplies over the coming decades will be required to meet the aviation requirements. Biomass production and supply capacity needs to be developed in balance with improved agricultural and forestry management to avoid conflicts with food supply and biodiversity. To meet the needs of the competitive aviation industry regional, existing facilities and strengths have to be utilized and new business models developed. The long-term goal of the pilot is to develop a European interregional value chain that focuses on promoting larger scale aviation biofuel production.

The ambition is to upscale the demo case (TRL 5/6), which requires different steps on both project and process level, as described in the OGSM table. For each step, the specific objectives for 2017 are defined as follows:

  • To assess the most promising routes for the production of bio-aviation fuels based on pilot results obtained so far.
  • To prepare for a demonstration plant based on the most promising bio-aviation fuel technologies.
  • To create a market for bio-aviation fuels and prepare for a commercial scale plant.

Lead region: Värmland / Paper Province

Participating regions: Region Skåne, North-Rhein-Westfalen, Vlaanderen, South Netherlands, Scotland
Contact person for the demo case: Markus Elmer (m.elmer [at]
Food & Feed Ingredients from Algae

Microalgae are amongst the most promising sustainable feedstocks that can be used as ingredients for a large range of sectors (e.g. food, feed, nutraceuticals, cosmetics, pharma, chemistry, energy), offering specific advantages with respect to their synthetic and traditional alternatives. Unfortunately production costs of microalgae bio products are still relatively high in comparison to chemical synthesis or extraction from plants as the main technical challenge lies in the scaling up of the whole production process. The demo case will focus on the production of food supplements/nutraceuticals and other pharma bioactive compounds, which have important markets worldwide for human and animal use The goal of this pilot is to set up a demonstration site for cultivation and scaling up of microalgae cultures in photobioreactors, using purified industrial CO2 as carbon source, in order to produce at large scale food (nutraceuticals), feed (protein) and pharma compounds (antibiotics).

The specific objective for 2017 is to set up the technical requirements for the Demo Case at the pilot level, identified the appropriate partners and search for funding resources to develop it in the coming years. Based on the demo case’s implementation in 2018 (based on a successful funding application), a scale-up is foreseen which will be prepared and implemented throughout 2019 and 2020.

Lead region: Asturias / University of Oviedo

Participating regions: Wallonia (CELABOR SCRL, Materia Nova, University of Liege); Navarra (Aditech), Lombardia(University of Milan, Parco Tecnologico Padano), Emilia Romagna (Bologna Alma Mater University, ASTER Consortium), Provence-Alpes- Côte d’Azur (Vertech Group), Flanders (Flanders Biobased Valley) Nord-Pas de Calais (Pôle Aquimer), Galicia, Scotland.

Contact person for the demo case: Julia Alvarez (alvarezjulia [at]





Leading regions  
Randstad Region (NL) Lombardy (IT)


Participating/interested regions  
East-Netherlands (NL) Emilia-Romagna (IT)
South-Netherlands (NL) Scotland (UK)
North-Netherlands (NL) Tampere (FI)
Flanders (BE) West Finland + Central Finland (FI)
Wallonia (BE) North Rhine-Westphalia  (DE)
Skåne (SE) Andalusia (ES)
Värmland (SE) Navarra (ES)
Brandenburg (DE) Basque Country (ES)
Baden-Württemberg (DE) Lodzkie (PL)
Asturias (ES) Malopolska (PL)
Basilicata (IT)  


Bart Verschoor bj.verschoor [at]
Ilaria Re [at]