Last week, our Technical Development Manager, Johan Belfrage, was in Cologne for the 12th International conference on Biobased materials.

This was an excellent conference with a good range of speakers, over 170 participants, and presented an excellent opportunity to catch up on the latest news and developments in biobased materials across Europe.

Straight off the bat we’re going to flag a key take-away, courtesy of the Nova Institute: we need to stop talking about decarbonisation and start talking about renewable carbon. The problem with the term ‘decarbonisation’ is something IBioIC has talked about before.
Carbon is essential for pretty much every application or process, but the problem lies in where and how it is currently sourced. The Nova Institute has issued a position paper on the transition to renewable carbon which is available (at right) to download.

The conference also led to some interesting networking opportunities that will be useful for building strong consortias for the project proposals we are currently developing in relation to this years BBI-JU working programme and a talk by Hans Van Klink from Dutch Sustainable Development on ‘Prospects of Sustainable Feedstock Production for Advanced Building Blocks’ provided some useful insights and potential collaboration opportunities as we think about the development of a sugar beet biorefinery in Scotland.

Finally, the Novo-Nordisk Foundation Centre for Biosustainability offered this quote which reinforces our belief in the importance of rapid cycle times and affordable pilot operations for scale-up operations:
“While cost gets reduced dramatically at warp speed in the world of genetics through automation and DNA foundries and in-silica approaches. Scale-up and -down remains a tedious task – costly in time and money. Process simulation and modelling is only of limited value - especially of first of its kind scenarios. Faster cycle time and affordable pilot operations become a demanding aspect.”