Biobased SMEs in north Europe backed to tune of €70m

1 Dec 2015

An EU programme called Bio Base NWE, which aims to encourage hundreds of SMEs in biobased technologies into market, has just finished up after ploughing €71m into 27 separate companies.

A three-year plan, Bio Base NWE saw 27 SMEs backed financially so they could conduct feasability studies and scale-up trials. This resulted in that €71m worth of investment, with up to 320 jobs set to be created in the near future – 43 have already come on stream.

Part of a larger EU plan to encourage member states to put in place policies to further biobased industries, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands and the UK were each represented in the process.

Initially up to €30,000 per company was up for grabs to work out the viability of their business plans, with the resulting 27 shortlisted SMEs backed to a much higher standard.

Furthermore, the project partners discussed policy recommendations with their local and EU policy makers aimed at removing the hurdles SME’s encounter during their journey to bring lab scale innovations to the market.

Some of the successful companies include Celtic Renewables (which aims at producing biobutanol from byproducts in the whiskey industry), Pectcof (extracts pectin from coffee pulp) and Millvision (which optimises new pulping technology).

In the programme’s Ireland report, it is noted that we currently have “no overarching bioeconomy strategy”, yet plans are there to create one. The bunch of national initiatives are commended, as is a favourable excise tax incentive for use of gaseous transport fuels.

Biofuel processing image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic