EU launches public-private bio-based industries investment initiative

09 July 2014 13:02 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--A new European Commission initiative intended to catalyse development of bio-based businesses in the EU has launched, with €3.7bn of public and private sector capital earmarked for the venture, the organisers of the project said on Wednesday.

Known as the Bio Based Industries (BBI) Joint Technology Initiative, the venture will utilise €975m of European Commission funding and €2.7bn of private sector capital from the Bio-Industries Consortium (BIC), and will seek to finance research and innovation projects to help create a viable market for bio-based products in the EU.

The funding is to be invested between 2014 and 2024, with at least €250m to be invested by the European Commission by the end of 2015. Over 70 private sector companies are involved in the project, according to Novozymes, and are expected to invest more than three times the Commission’s contribution over the same period.

According to BBI, the initiative will seek to invest and create partnerships across in the chemicals, agriculture, agro-food, energy, technology, and pulp and paper sectors. The initiative was launched in Brussels on Wednesday.

The aim of BBI is to use Europe’s biomass and other wastes as feedstocks to make low-carbon products, with a strong emphasis on bio-based chemicals, materials and fuels, and seeks to counter-balance declining investments in the field in other parts of the world, according to Novozymes CEO Peder Holk Nielsen.

“The BBI is an unprecedented public-private commitment because of its focus on bringing bio-based solutions to the market. It is an opportunity to deliver sustainable growth in European regions and to reverse the investment trend currently going to other regions of the world,” the head of the Denmark-based enzymes producer said.

“Europe is not ahead of the curve when it comes to realising the immense potential around the creation of the biobased economy – the only viable alternative to our current oil-based society,” he added. The Novozymes chief is expected to speak at the BBI launch event in Brussels.

The launch includes a call for proposals worth €50m in Commission contributions and over €100m in expected industry investment. The call envisages 10 research and innovation projects with a total of €15m Commission investment, and six innovation projects – five demonstration projects and one flagship – to receive a total of €35m in Commission spending.

“At the heart of this initiative are advanced biorefineries and innovative technologies that use sustainable chemistry to convert renewable resources into sustainable chemicals, materials and fuels,” said Gernot Klotz, executive director of research at Cefic and SusChem board member.

SusChem is a sustainable chemicals research group established by trade groups Cefic and Europabio.


By Tom Brown