Belgium’s Bio Base Europe starts work on Ghent pilot plant

07 May 2009 16:22  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--Bio Base Europe has started work on a pilot plant to explore the use of bio-based products in chemicals, it said on Thursday.

The organisation, which is a joint initiative of Netherlands-based Biopark Terneuzen and Belgium’s Ghent Bio-Energy Valley, has been working to expand the bio-based economy in the Flanders-Netherlands border region, it said.

The Ghent-based pilot plant will cost some €13m ($17.3m) and will go on line early next year, creating 35 new jobs, according to the organisation.

Prof Wim Soetaert, who is leading the pilot plant project, said: “The Bio Base Europe pilot plant will operate on the open innovation model and will focus on companies throughout Europe in a number of sectors, including chemicals, biotech and energy.”

The pilot plant will be used to determine how agricultural by-products such as wheat, wood chips, Jatropha and algal oil can be converted to biofuels, bioplastics and other bio-products, said Soetaert.

An investment of €8m is also being made in a training centre in Terneuzen, the Netherlands, which will go into operation in 2011.

Peter van den Kieboom, head of the Bio Base Europe training centre, said: “The idea is to turn out skilled operators and technical maintenance specialists for the bio-based economy.

“Like very other industrial sector, the bio-based economy is struggling to make up a short-fall of qualified technical personnel.”

($1 = €0.75)

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By: Elaine Burridge
+44 20 8652 3214



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