Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant was initiated by the Dutch-Belgian organisation, Bio Base Europe. The aim of the project was to bring together industry, research, and private sector players from the bio-economy field, as well as making the Ghent-Terneuzen area Europe’s bio-economy hub.
The concept is to enable companies to develop new bio-products without the need to build the required infrastructure which is both extremely costly as well as inefficient in terms of both time and financial expenditure. The construction of such pilot infrastructures can take between two to three years and can run in costs of millions of euros. It is far more efficient to allow companies to work within open innovation infrastructures specialized in pilot testing.
The Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant is a flexible and diversified pilot plant for the development, scale-up and custom manufacturing of bio-based processes and products. It operates at a kilogram to multi-ton scale and aims to close the critical gap between scientific feasibility and industrial application of new bio-technological processes. It is a one-stop-shop through its ability to perform the full value chain of processes in a single plant, from the biomass green resource, up till the final bio-product.
The pilot plant is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to perform bio-mass pre-treatment, bio-catalysis, fermentation, up- and downstream processing, and green chemistry. It focuses on the conversion of biomass (i.e. agricultural crops and by-products, industrial side streams) into industrial enzymes, fine chemicals, food ingredients, biopolymers, nutraceuticals, bioplastics, biomaterials and biofuels.
Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant grew out of the INTERREG Flanders – Netherlands Cross Border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013, through cooperation by Biopark Terneuzen in the Netherlands and Ghent Bio-Energy Valley in Belgium. The project comprised two complementary entities; pilot facilities for bio products and bio processing, and a training centre, which mainly focuses on bringing together persons in the field of bio-economy. The project, and thus the plant, was realized with a total budget of 21,835,000 euros, including an EU contribution of 6,000,000 euros.
The Results and Benefits
Since 2011, the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant has hosted a range of companies seeking to create new products and / or processes able to transform agricultural products into sustainable bio-energies. As the only plant of its kind in Europe, it provides businesses with the opportunity to develop and launch market-ready products. Additionally, the Bio Base Training Centre is a fully-fledged learning and information centre; open to both European companies and the public. Its mission is to train qualified workers and provide information to the general public and schools.
The added value of the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant can be summarised in seven points:
- One-Stop-Shop: Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant performs the entire production chain in one single plant, from biomass feedstock up to final refined products. They combine technologies for advanced manufacturing of bio-based products utilizing a wide spectrum of modular unit operations.
- Scaling power: The unique set of equipment and infrastructure allows for bioprocesses at kilogram to multi-ton scale.
- Flexibility: They can flexibly build up process lines and design the project outline, from process development over scale-up to custom manufacturing.
- Independence: Bio Base Europe Piot Plant is an independent facility, they have no industrial shareholders and always operate in full confidentiality.
- Save time and money: Scale-up is the core business, their team of engineers, operators and technicians combine decades of experience and know-how to guarantee a fast and efficient scale-up.
- Transparency: Close communication throughout the project and the presence at the facilities during pilot trials ensure seamless technology transfer.
- Easy access: Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant is easily accessible as it is located in the heart of the Port of Ghent in Belgium.
Over the past 5 years, and with support of the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant, the Port of Ghent alone was successful in attracting over 600 million euros in investments from the biofuels sector.