Highlights from the ECO-BIO conference (Dublin, Ireland)
The ECO-BIO 2018 conference has brought together representatives from both academia and industry and from all parts of the world presenting and discussing progress to make the bio-based economy a reality. I observed some new approaches:
New Bio-based Economy policy
Professor G. Pereira of Brazil presented the CBIOS. It is a “carbon coin” turned into a Brazilian law, December 2017, facilitating an economic level playing field for renewable energy and fossil energy.
New Biorefinery approach
R. Rinaldi, of Imperial College, London, presented a new biorefinery concept based on lignin extraction using propanol as a solvent and a hydrogenation catalyst to breakdown lignin into low molecular weight molecules for high value aromatics. This improves the bio refinery economics as the sum of all outputs now has a much higher value and the sum of inputs has a lower cost, as no chemicals are consumed.
New Innovation Scale-up approach
Rob van Leen, Chief Innovation Officer of DSM, presented collaborations between DSM and institutes and companies world-wide to obtain bio-based solutions for paints, plastics, biofuels, and proteins. H. Norman of DSM presented computation driven scale-down of fermenters. Rob van der Linden of BPF, Delft, presented their pilot plant superstructure in which a very large number of pilot plant technologies can be combined in many ways to convert all kinds of biomass types into valuable products. The total investment value of the pilot plant superstructure is about 150 M€. The pilot plant services and advice are available at a fee to any interested company.
It is very clear from the near 200 presentations that the atmosphere for the bio-based economy has changed world-wide from a nice-to-develop option into a must-have-soon reality for governments and companies. Researchers, developers, designers, and implementers radiate that they want to help to reach this new reality.