Review: Realise-Bio Kick-Off Event on 25.04.2023 in Düsseldorf

After the internal Kick-Off of the Realise-Bio project in March, CLIB and the project partners were looking forward to the official Kick-Off event that was held on April 25th at the Lindner Congress Hotel in Düsseldorf. With around 70 registered guests from Germany and the Netherlands the interest in the event was high and both during the talks and the breaks, guests and speakers took the opportunity to network across borders. 

The Realise-Bio project is set in the German-Dutch region with the aim to connect actors from both sides of the border to work towards a circular economy in the program region. The key element of the project are up to eight model projects that German and Dutch partners are working on together and which are supported by Realise-Bio and its project partners. With this in mind, we set up the the Kick-Off event with emphasis on the model projects and innovative ideas worth supporting within Realise-Bio. Several SMEs were eager to pitch their ideas and meet interesting people and potential partners. 

The first networking opportunity was the networking lunch that started right after registration. Project partners and participants made use of the networking board by leaving their business cards and meeting up with possible partners. With everyone nourished, the official part of the event started. CLIB Cluster Manager Dennis Herzberg and Marcel Claus from the Gemeente Venray led through the program and introduced the Realise-Bio projects bilingually to the German and Dutch audience. The funding opportunities in the project were explained in detail and the news that the application process could start soon met with great interest among those present. 

To set the base line for the following pitch presentations we were happy to have Edwin Hamoen from Wageningen Food and Bio based Research as a keynote speaker. In his talk he highlighted the importance of technological and organisational solutions for the optimal use of biobased resources to enabling the transition to an economical viable, circular, biobased, and healthy society. He stated that the circular and biobased economy is not a small undertaking but is connected to large markets and a healthy transition process should always happen within the planetary boundaries. 

The first pitch was held by Sarvesh Poddar from Sustanix Materialtech BV. As the Head Lead of the company, he presented their products, biobased and biodegradable cellulose-based coatings. These coatings can be used in various industries such as packaging, textiles, agroformulation and HPC (Home & Personal Care). Sustanix Materialtech BV searches for partners, who struggle with sustainable coatings or surfactants in their products. 

The next project idea was presented by Pablo R. Outón from INDRESMAT BV who are working on bio-based polyurethane foams for insulation materials. These Materials can be used in the thermal envelope of buildings to improve the energy efficiency, recyclability, and sustainability of the constructions. For possible German partners INDRESMAT BV are looking for companies with experience in the production of biobased PU-Foams, and suppliers of renewable raw materials like plant oils. 

After two pitches the attendants could continue their networking activities over a cup of coffee. Many also used the opportunity to ask additional questions to the previous speakers and had a look on PU-foam samples provided by IDRESMAT BV. The last session then started, with Tom Bovee from Compas Agro as the first speaker. Compas Agro wants to investigate how fibre-rich plants can be used in peat-free substrates in crop production. In this context, validations of the technical feasibility, but also logistics chains and feasibilities in the cultivation-technical application are to be carried out. As a former Voucher partner of the Circular-Bio project, Compas Agro already has some potential partners at hand but is of course looking forward to new partnering opportunities. 

A quite exotic idea was presented by Zsofia Kollar, CEO of Human Material Loop, a materials innovation company that develops technologies, materials and products from keratin protein waste fibres to deliver high performance products for the textile industry. The material for this is produced locally in hairdressing salons all over the world. Human hair. Their aim is to produce without any negative impact on the environment and to give value to the waste streams from hair salons. Those who did not think this was possible could convince themselves by looking at and feeling the textile samples they had brought along. Human Material Loop are looking for partners in the area of waste collecting logistics and possibilities to scale up spinning and weaving processes. 

Next in line was My-Pro, a company that processes residues from the food and agriculture sector into high-quality protein that is suitable for use as animal feed. For them Ludo Poels presented their technology that feeds nitrogen rich wastewaters from exhaust air washers from livestock farming and various carbon rich feedstocks into an on-site fermentation unit. Within Realsie-Bio, My-Pro is looking for partners to scale up the fermentation process, as well as supply suitable carbon rich feedstocks.  

Last but not least Peter Witt from AgroGreen GmbH presented how to drastically reduce the amount of Liquid manure and digestate using a purely physical process. Through two osmosis-based steps 65 % of liquid manure can be turned in pure drinking water, leaving behind a liquid manure concentrate and solids that may be used in bio gas plants and facilitates storage. As a partner AgroGreen is looking for farmers interested in long time testing of the purification plant.  

At the end of the event, everyone took the opportunity to get together again and discuss the topics they had just heard. We would like to thank the participating guests and especially our speakers for an interesting and inspiring event and look forward to future cooperation in exciting model projects.