A biobased economy does not use fossil resources to produce materials and chemicals, but renewable resources from agriculture and forestry and increasingly also side streams from these sectors or industry. Flanders is very ambitious as far as biobased economy is concerned: it aims to be among the most competitive regions in Europe by 2030. Flanders Biobased Valley wants to take a leading role in this and be the point of contact for all biobased economy related matters…
Anno 2016, Flanders Biobased Valley (FBBV) has been on the map for over 10 years, and has since developed into a leading cluster organization, supporting and promoting the development of the biobased economy in Flanders.
It was founded in 2005 as Ghent Bio-Energy Valley to fulfill the request of the government to produce biofuels in Belgium and eventually led to the realization of the Rodenhuize biorefinery cluster, one of Europe’s largest integrated bio-energy production sites in Europe. Today, the Ghent region is responsible for 90% of the total Flemish biofuel production.
After the start-up of biofuel production, Ghent Bio-Energy Valley soon expanded its field of activity to all biobased economy domains, amongst which biodetergents, biomaterials, biosolvents, biolubricants and bioplastics. A first name change to Ghent Bio-Economy Valley in 2013 reflected the broadening of its field of activity to the entire biobased economy. The establishment of Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant in the port of Ghent, a flexible and polyvalent pilot facility to scale up biobased processes, highlights this focus on innovation.
Today, about ten per cent of Flemish industry production is already biobased and this share is only expected to increase in the future. A biobased economy is able to provide a response to today’s major social challenges like global warming, increasing population growth and increasing resource scarcity, by directing all efforts to sustainable processes based on renewable resources. Moreover, it offers perspectives for the further economic development through innovative processes and products, with increased sustainability and improved functionalities and characteristics.
Over the years, Flanders Biobased Valley has gained extensive expertise in the biobased economy through a wide range of activities, amongst which creating synergy between partners, building new value chains, the start-up of collaborative projects in research and development, the advocation of structural and policy measures and communication towards the general public. Flanders Biobased Valley wants to focus on the creation of new industrial clusters, following the example of the biorefinery cluster in the Rodenhuizedok. Currently, a gas fermentation cluster, where waste gas is microbially converted into fuels or sustainable chemicals using micro-organisms, is under development.
Moreover, Flanders Biobased Valley wants to implement a number of potential production routes which were presented as valuable for Flanders in the roadmap Industrial Biotechnology, such as the conversion of sugars, fibrous feedstocks or waste gases into biobased products and chemicals. SMEs can get specific support to bring these innovations closer to the market through our EU funded projects SuperBIO and BioBase4SME.
Building on earlier realizations in Ghent, its aim is to further develop into a Flemish-wide cluster, in order to become the reference for all biobased economy related matters in Flanders and thus also become the point of contact for the Flemish biobased economy abroad.
Flanders Biobased Valley
Tel. +32 (0)9 264 59 05
Source: Flanders Biobased Valley, press release, 2016-10-18.
Author: Stefan Ruyters