CND 2022 – Building new connections between CLIB members

2019 a new tradition was established in the CLIB event calendar- the CLIB Networking Day. A day fully dedicated to the CLIB members and their connection to each other. On 17 October the fourth CND was hosted by our founding member Evonik in their headquarters in Essen. The event was opened by our chairman Karl-Heinz Maurer together with Sarah Refai, Senior project manager at CLIB and Silko Grimm, Head of Political Networks & Innovation at Evonik and new member of the CLIB extended board.

Christoph Kobler, Vice President Research & Development Animal Nutrition and Biotechnology at Evonik Operations gave a keynote presentation on Evonik’s ambition to increase the biotech share in its product portfolio. He portrayed how the Evonik Nutrition and Care strategy is changing from a product-centred to a system-centred focus with a newly established biotech hub to bundle competencies. He also stressed the importance of collaboration and partnering for Evonik.

The  keynote presentation was followed by presentations from 10 new members, who joined the cluster last year. All presented in crisp 8-minute pitches what they are doing, what they can offer in a collaboration and what they are looking for. The company AmphiStar is a spin-off of the Ghent University and the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant. Sophie Roelants presented how they develop and scale biosurfactants. Martin Langer presented BRAIN Biotech, a German-based company working to make products and processes more sustainable. Erik de Vries presented for Enzymicals how they are building the world’s largest inventory of plastic converting enzymes in the project PolyPali. Flanders Investment & Trade was presented by Pieter De Maeght. He pointed out the unique properties of the Flemish ecosystem for industrial biotech players and how companies can benefit from these. Ginkgo Bioworks joined the cluster with their Dutch entity. Abeer Hossain presented how Ginkgo works to make biology easier to engineer. Tobias Bunke pitched for Leiber, a company refining brewers’ spent yeasts since 1954 with expertise in many different markets. The G-BiB 2022 winning team, The Oater, was presented by Sarah Nesti. The Oater produces oat milk as a service with a bench-sized machine to produce fermented oat milk. Pectcof is unlocking the potential of coffee pulp biomass. Daniela Ribezzo showcased dutchgum, a coffee side-stream based functional ingredient to be used as emulsifiers and stabilisers. Stahl Holdings was presented by Tim Kidd. Stahl creates speciality chemistry for coatings, processing, and treatments for several materials focussing on leather. Last, but not least, Vapora Bioenergie was presented by Jürgen Adamik. Vapora uses slurry and sewage sludge to not only manufacture products like fertilisers or methanol, but also destilled water.

The pitching sessions were punctuated by long networking breaks allowing the participants to meet-up with old friends, meet new ones, and talk about collaborations. The newly-established “search and find” pinboard helped find the right partner to talk to.

CLIB thanks all participants, members, speakers and supporters for making the day such a great success. The team is now looking forward to the next big CLIB event – the CIC 2023 from 14 to 15 February.