Surfactants can be found in many products of everyday life, according to a Ceresana market study, worldwide sales in 2016 were 31 billion US dollars. The team of three students, Amira Oraby, Fredy-Wsbaldo Baron-Nunez and Thomas Galonska from the Fraunhofer IGB in Stuttgart, led by mentor Dr. Susanne Zibek, has developed the fermentative production of two biosurfactants from renewable raw materials that are not yet available on the European market. Their company EBS - Engineering Biosurfactants is to be founded next year and will offer surfactants that can be tailored to customer requirements. This idea convinced the jury of experienced investors and venture capitalists in the G-BiB final on 04 September and won the G-BiB Award.
They prevailed against the teams LignoPure from Hamburg and Innovived from Leuven. LignoPure extracts lignin from biomass under chemical-free conditions and thus produces a high-quality and multifunctional biopolymer with many possible applications. Innovived has developed the production of a sustainable 3D print filament from cigarette filter waste and thus contributes to the reduction of plastic waste in nature.The final award - consisting of a sparring day at High-Tech Gruenderfonds, one of Germany's leading pre-seed investors, and 7,500 euros in prize money sponsored by Henkel - is intended to help the young team pursue their idea further.
»All three teams deserved to be in the finals and presented great, innovative ideas, and I'm sure we'll hear a lot more from them«, said project assistant Annika Thamm. Katrin Kriebs added: »I am very happy for EBS that they can use the award to advance their idea and I would like to thank HTGF and Henkel for making the award possible.«
The expert jury members Prof. Dr. Detlev Riesner, European business angel and founder of Qiagen, Tobias Faupel, investment manager at the High-Tech Gruenderfonds, Achim Roth, leader of the 2nd Chemical Division, and Mustafa Oezbir, biofuels trader, both at Mitsui & CO Deutschland, challenged the teams with questions after their pitch and then discussed to decide, that LignoPure from Hamburg and EBS from Stuttgart will have the chance to win the final award during the international final.
LignoPure is extracting lignin from biomass under chemical free conditions and thus producing a high value, multifunctional biopolymer for multiple markets as food, cosmetics and materials. EBS – Engineering BioSurfactants will produce biosurfactants from sustainable feedstocks and is targeting the high value cosmetics market at first before expanding the larger surfactant markets. They will be competing with the Belgian team Innovived, producing a sustainable, biodegradable 3D-print filament from waste cigarette butts, on 04 September during the CLIB Networking Day held at the Henkel headquarters in Duesseldorf.
»All three German teams came up with very innovative ideas for bio-based products and gave excellent pitches during the semi finals. I am happy to see the entrepreneurial potential we find in our German universities and I am looking forward to the finals.« Katrin Kriebs, project coordinator of the G-BiB at CLIB
»The suggestions and feedback of the masterclass helped us a lot to continue writing our business plan. Not only the exchange with mentors, but also the exchange between the start-ups helps to advance our innovative idea in an entrepreneurial way.« Stefan Boersting, LignoPure.After the masterclasses have successfully taken place, the students will now further elaborate their business cases for a biobased product or process and write a full business plan which will be presented to expert juries in July. The best national teams will have the chance to attend the international finals held on September 4th during the CLIB Networking Day at the Henkel Headquarter in Duesseldorf, pitch their idea and win a final award.
„The BIG-Cluster initiative has started in 2013. Today, we look back on a success story as the 10 project pitches have impressively demonstrated. They build a sustainable base to expand the close collaboration of the three BIG-Cluster regions.” said Willem Sederel (Biobased Delta), as the chair of the day.
100 experts from large companies, SMEs, academic institutes and universities as well as networks, attended the matchmaking event and developed roadmaps on the BIG-Cluster value chains “Aromatics from woody biomass”, “C1 gases to chemicals”, and “Aviation fuels from various feedstocks” in parallel workshops.
Manfred Kircher (CLIB2021), moderator of the workshop “C1 gases to chemicals”: “The innovative power of the trinational cooperation is unique.”
According to Luuk van der Wielen (BE-Basic) “we do not have much time to develop the bio-based economy towards scale-up because of the rate of global warming and the scale of the transition.”, the participants agreed that all stakeholders need to work together and build new value chains supported by the government(s) to facilitate large investments.
Ludo Diels (VITO) emphasizes the three regions will benefit from the bio-based economy. Developments will speed up if we manage to make the borders vanish and create new value chains in Europe.
The meeting revealed starting points for new collaboration topics and cross-border research & innovation projects. The cross-border activities under the umbrella of the BIG-Cluster will be intensified in the future.
The next Stakeholders Meeting in 2018 will further foster biobased economy in the BIG-Cluster region.
Glaucia Souza from the BIOEN, FAPESP Program for Research on Bioenergy welcomed all the participants and briefly presented the role of BIOEN on R&D and innovation in Brazil. Patricia Osseweijer then presented BE-Basic organization and activities in the world, including actions towards innovation and the organization of the G-BiB competition. Next, each team pitched its idea in a meeting conducted by Patricia Osseweijer live at the USP site and Heitor Cantarella (from BIOEN) present at the UNICAMP site.
Each team has the final challenge of writing an innovative business plan, based on a project for the sustainable production of bio-renewable products such as biofuels and biomaterials, or solutions to support the development of these products. To close the meeting, a video was presented to introduce the team competitors on relevant issues to be considered when developing a solid business plan. The video was the same presentation that happened live during the European G-BiB kick-off, performed by Jeroen Veenenbos, from Erasmus Center Entrepreneurship, who gave a number of very interesting examples of business plans which were successful and others which failed.
In the next step of the competition, a master class will be offered to the teams, scheduled for May 9th for the Brazilian teams and on April 19th and 26th for the Dutch and German teams respectively, focusing on developing their final business plan to be submitted for the semi-finals. G-BiB competition will offer up to € 10.000 in prizes for the best business project. The overall final will be in São Paulo with the results announced in October at the next edition of the Brazilian Bioenergy Science & Technology Conference (BBEST 2017) in Campos do Jordão.
After a short welcome, Manfred Kircher (Chairman Advisory Board CLIB2021) inspired the teams to ‘think out of the box’ giving many examples of new feedstock and business opportunities. Kirsten Steinbusch (CEO DAB) presented Delft Advanced Biorenewables, that offers a patented scalable (bio)reactor technology and shared her views on developing her business. A great biotech business example for the students which resulted in many questions and tips.
During the kick-off all the teams pitched their idea and motivation under supervision of Patricia Osseweijer. Prior to the event all team were asked to fill in a Sustainable Entrepreneurship Scan, developed by Lisa Ploum (Wageningen University), who also presented the promising results: average score was higher than usual.
The final challenge for all the teams is to write an innovative business plan based on a design for sustainable production of biorenewable products such as biofuels and biomaterials or partial solutions that will support developing those products. To give the students an idea about a solid business plan, Jeroen Veenenbos from Erasmus Centre of Entrepreneurship, welcomed the students in the world of business giving them many examples of successful and failed business plans. This was an eye opener and a challenge for many students.
The teams will follow a master class in April focussing on developing their business case and by the end of May they will have to submit their business plans. At this moment a similar process is ongoing for the teams in Brazil.
The semi-finals for all the country’s will be held in June and the finals in October during the 3rd Brazilian BioEnergy Science and Technology (BBEST) in Campos do Jordão, Brazil. The final award of €10.000,- will be provided for by Corbion to further enrol the business plan.