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Congress ‘Eco Innovations from Biomass’

We would like to inform you about the congress “Eco Innovations from Biomass” in Papenburg, Germany, from 28 to 29 June 2017. As main topics of the congress, the prospects of bioeconomy and the relevance of biomass in the national and international context will be discussed. Furthermore, regional strategies for action, good practice bottom-up concepts and latest knowledge of research centers and industry concerning bio refining and Biobased products will be presented.

On the evening of 29 June, the 6th Lower Saxony Algae Round Table will take place. A separated registration is required.

The Programme can be found here.

We are looking forward to meeting you at the Eco Innovation Congress!

Exchange of knowledge

The aim of the congress is to provide an international platform for the exchange of knowledge about the bio-economy in the non-food sector and to discuss strategies for an efficient material utilization and energy recovery from biomass and residues according to the concept of a closed substance cycle. Presentations will be made on successful bottom-up concepts and current findings from research and practice concerning new green routes, biomaterials, biorefining, procedures for recovering nutrients and algae production as well as paludicultures. Companies will present »eco-innovative« product developments.

Companies, knowledge and research institutes are kindly invited to submit posters or to participate as exhibitors.

Essential role for biomass

In order to achieve the global and national climate protection targets by 2050 special efforts are required by all sectors of the economy. Sustainable and eco-friendly products and procedures on the basis of biomass and residues play an essential role in this context. The bio-economy in the non-food sector promotes these innovative developments since they provide remarkable opportunities for companies of different industries, such as new products and services but also new customers and markets. In addition to the presentations there will be poster exhibitions and opportunities for networking with different discussion forums.

Organised by…

The congress is organised by 3N Kompetenzzentrum Niedersachsen Netzwerk Nachwachsende Rohstoffe und Bioökonomie e.V. in cooperation with the Lower Saxony Chamber of Agriculture.


More info


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These raw materials will bring a new purpose for agricultural production

March 2015 has been an interesting month for agriculture. It seems that an increasing number of companies are currently looking into valorisation possibilities of agricultural waste streams (e.g. production of biobased chemicals and materials). Only in the last week, 4 different meetings with 4 different companies were held, all focusing on biobased production from agricultural waste materials. Interesting products were polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), methanol, hydrogen, butanol, polylactate (PLA), et cetera. It has been like this for the last month: every week, new projects are discussed and started. It is not only a trend at universities (we have seen that for a while now), but SME’s as well as larger companies come up with interesting developing plans. If I’m not mistaking, this will bring a whole new purpose for agricultural production. It might even be an opportunity for agriculture in developing countries to develop faster, as waste materials also gains more value.

Genetically engineered bacteria

In the first week of March, while our team received guests from Canada for more than a week (they were here for the market introduction of biobased, non-toxic and biodegradable lubricants and paint removers), a chemical giant BASF announced their commercial production of polytetrahydrofuran (polyTHF) derived entirely from biomass feedstocks. The process hinges on a microbial fermentation of sugars to produce 1,4-butanediol (BDO), which is purified and polymerized. The company uses genetically engineered bacteria to produce and excrete BDO in sufficient quantity and purity. [GMO? Really? Yes. The modified bacteria are separated from the liquid containing the chemical. After purification, no bacteria is present anymore in the product. This way of processing is used in the chemical industries for quite some time now].

Ski boots and skateboards made from agricultural waste?

PolyTHF is primarily used as a component in polyester and polyurethane materials. According to BASF, the bio-based PolyTHF is identical in quality to the petrochemical-based product. The product is mainly applied as a chemical building block for thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), which is used to make for example parts of ski boots and cable sheathing. Other applications include cast elastomers, which are used, for example, for the production of wheels for skateboards and inline skates. According to BASF, the opportunity to expand the range of products and applications made from renewable raw materials allows them and their partners to further explore the long-term market acceptance of this biobased technology.

Opportunity for renewable raw materials

In the second week of March, in the Dutch province of Limburg, Letters of Intent were signed between a number of SMEs that intent to collaborate with each other in terms of raw materials and waste products. Fermentation of agricultural and food processing waste was also recognized as a possibility for valorization of these streams or reduction of costs.

The collaboration between the companies takes place in the context of the SILVER project, using a methodology that aims to accelerate innovation in the industry. SILVER stands for: Symbiosis in Limburg and Accelerating Realization. The process is in principle very simple: companies from all sectors are brought together in informal workshops with the aim of sharing as much information as possible about raw materials, waste, energy, services, knowledge and other innovative ideas. This provides new forms of cooperation between businesses and institutions.

5 million in savings

The basic idea is simple: to use raw materials and waste products/residual streams that are produced within a company as smart and responsible as possible (and working together on this issue with other entrepreneurs). This will not only contribute to a sustainable future, but also increases profits. Innovation is the foundation for growth: over the past year and a half, the SILVER partnerships already yielded over 5 million in savings. The project started in 2013 and already 70 companies have signed up. A recent workshop floor was good for a whopping 298 matches. Team members of are helping the participants to find solutions for the many hurdles they encounter.

Last week, I saw the same kind of opportunities during those 4 meetings. Locals are working with locals on efficient production of food, feed, chemicals, fuels, energy and biomaterials. This should result in more profitable production chains. I wonder how long it will take before the first benefits of more profitable production chains will start to show an increase of efficient food/energy production in the countries that really need it… don’t you?

Finalists of bio-based material award named

The six finalists of the Bio-based Material of the Year award, presented by the nova-Institute for Ecology and Innovation to those developing new applications and markets for bio-based products (those derived from living organisms), have been named.

The competition focuses on new developments in these areas, which have had (or will have) a market launch in 2014 or 2015.

Six candidates from companies in the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany have been chosen by a jury consisting of representatives of the nova-Institute, the advisory board, and sponsors and partners of the International Conference on Bio-based Materials (which will be held in Cologne between 13-15 April) from 24 submissions, and one winner and two runners up will go on to be awarded a certificate and receive a directory listing on the nova-Institute website.

The six nominated companies and products are:

Bayer MaterialScience ‘Desmodur eco N’

A bio-based polyurethane (made from polyisocyanate based on pentamethylene diisocyanate) cross-linker for high-performance automotive coatings. It enables the production of bio-based polyurethanes for the coating of cars, providing weather resistance, the ‘self-healing’ of superficial scratches and ‘great optical properties’.

EcoTechnilin ‘FibriRock’

A bio-sourced composite for aircraft applications. The lightweight, fast-curing composite is made from flax, basalt yarns, and sugar-based bioresin and is suitable for aircraft and rail applications and will go into production this year in a lightweight galley cart.

Evonik Industries

A bio-based polyamide 12 made from kernel oil 12 – This material can be used in high-performance products such as motor vehicles and large-volume pipes.

HIB Trip Part Solutions ‘Nature 50’

A hemp-based reinforced plastic. The granulate can be used in injection moulding for a range of applications, including those in the automotive sector.

Invista ‘Lycra T 162R Fibre’

A bio-derived spandex made using renewable butanediol. Approximately 70 per cent comes from the renewable resource meaning fabrics and garments can be made with reduced carbon and fossil fuel footprints.

twoBEars ‘bioFila’

A biodegradable polymer based on lignin. The biopolymer compound has optic and haptic properties and can be used for 3D printing.

Each of the six companies will now give a short presentation at the International Conference on Bio-based Materials, and the three winners will be decided by a vote of those attending the conference.


Biomass costs lower than fossil energy, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) says

Biomass costs would be lower than those of most fossil energy sources in most countries of the world. A recent IRENA report reveals how technologies are reaching grid parity.

The cost-competitiveness of renewable power generation technologies has reached historic levels. Biomass for power, hydropower, geothermal and onshore wind can all now provide electricity competitively compared to fossil fuel-fired power generation.

LCOEs (levelised cost of electricity) of the more mature renewable power generation technologies – biomass for power, geothermal and hydropower – have been broadly stable since 2010. However, where untapped, economic resources remain, these mature technologies can provide some of the cheapest electricity of any source.

Regional, weighted average costs of electricity from biomass for power, geothermal, hydropower and onshore wind are all now in the range, or even span a lower range, than estimated fossil fuel-fired electricity generation costs. Because of striking LCOE reductions, solar PV costs also increasingly fall within that range.