Technological

Objective

The technological roadmap revolves around the setting of R&D priorities and identifying needs for research, pilot and demonstration plant activities. This is centred on obtaining a clear overview and insight into the R&D related hurdles for realizing Europe’s IB market potential. The analysis focuses on the identification of R&D bottlenecks and required breakthroughs across a broad range of technological domains and seeks to identify key areas of research to focus on, and to selectively highlight those areas that can be best aligned with current and foreseen end user market requirements, both in the shorter and longer term. The technology roadmap also seeks to identify the relative strength of research areas in different European countries and gathers evidence where it exists of duplication of resources.

Methodology

The prioritization is based on an extensive literature study, the stakeholder input gathered from eight regional workshops and more than 60 expert interviews. The regional workshops not only sought the validation of the hurdles found in the literature but also aimed at highlighting the most compelling ones to the professionals involved daily in IB.

Hurdles and proposed solutions

  • According to the workshop participants, the most important R&D related hurdles for IB are:
  • Process performance is currently poor: need to increase yield, productivity and robustness Lab scale results with enzyme systems are very difficult to scale up due to the interaction of these systems;
  • The costs for downstream processing can be very high in IB, since biocatalytic systems produce many impurities;
  • The uncertainty of feedstock availability;
  • The current raw material for IB competes with the food chain.

The current version of the technological roadmap comprises a series of actions to be developed to address the R&D hurdles for IB in Europe. The hurdles and corresponding actions are grouped according to the R&D topic they involve, and more specifically:

  • Feedstock supply, focusing on topics related to biomass cultivation, logistics and pre-treatment;
  • Bioconversion, focusing on topics related to biochemical conversion through biocatalysts and micro-organisms;
  • DSP, focusing on topics related to biotechnological process development e.g. product recovery, water management;
  • Products & markets, focusing on topics related to valorization, commercialization and the development of products;
  • R&D tools, focusing on topics related to the development of tools supporting R&D, e.g. the development of models and databases;
  • Knowledge infrastructure – hard, focusing on topics related to the installation of pilot facilities and connections to the existing physical infrastructure;
  • Knowledge infrastructure – soft, focusing on topics related to funding, entrepreneurial climate, the presence of knowledge sharing and open innovation models.

It was generally agreed that across all business cases, further research was needed for feedstock supply. On the other hand, as far as chemical building blocks and CO2 as a feedstock is concerned, bioconversion requires significant innovation.

 

If you are interested in finding out more about the issues raised and the proposed solutions for these hurdles, please click here.
Your input is important to us. Send your comments to the co-ordinator of the BIO-TIC project, Claire Gray, at bio-tic@europabio.org.