Utilisation of side streams – A chane for impactful innovations

In our CLIB webinar, Utilisation of side streams – A chance for impactful innovations, on 8 July, we once again addressed the important topic of how side streams can be successfully valorized, and which innovative business models can emerge from this.

We were delighted to welcome over 80 interested participants, who discussed best practice examples and important factors for the successful establishment of business models with us and the four speakers.

At the beginning of the webinar, we at CLIB took the opportunity to present the Interreg project Realise-Bio, in which 7 model projects are already working on their innovative ideas for the use of biogenic side streams. The diversity of topics in the model projects presented showed how wide the range of valorisation approaches for side streams can be and how much cross-border cooperation can achieve.

Next, further success factors for turning an invention into an innovation with impact were presented. In the MWIKE-funded Triple-S project, CLIB has compiled questions that can help innovators make a significant contribution to the transformation to a sustainable, circular bioeconomy. In addition to the Triple-S factors Smart, Sustainable and Scalable, non-technology-based criteria are also addressed and can be found summarised in our Innovator´s Compass. You can download the document from our project page.

This introduction was followed by excellent presentations by our four speakers, who addressed the topic of the webinar from different angles.

Vivian Peuker-Steinhäuser from the Chair of Entrepreneurship and Innovative Business Models at Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) presented the Horizon Europe project PRIMED. An EU-wide consortium of 12 partners has set itself the goal of integrating primary producers more closely into innovative bioeconomy business models. These approaches will be demonstrated in a co-operative approach in five Living Labs (Llabs). The first round of applications for participation in the Living Labs is now open.

Our second speaker, Jon Goruip from vcg.ai, presented the Value Chain Generator®, a way to integrate AI and big data into value chain planning. By effectively mapping available raw materials, technology providers, processing options for by-products and waste, as well as end customers for products, the vcg.ai system offers an opportunity to plan business models effectively and sustainably from the outset and find the right partners.

René Rozendal then presented Paques Biomaterials’ contribution to the global plastic waste problem. The technology developed utilises the microbial conversion of organic waste such as sewage sludge, industrial wastewater or solid organic waste into the biopolymer polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA). The resulting product Caleyda® is biodegradable under natural conditions and can be used as a sustainable alternative e.g. in coatings, adhesives and agricultural applications.

Our final speaker, Tim Paulke from the company NUNOS, presented a decentralised treatment unit for liquid manure and digestates, which is used to produce high-quality fertiliser for agriculture. The concept is a spin-off from the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and was originally developed for space travel applications. Within the compact system, microorganisms convert raw materials into plant-available nutrients in a continuous process. The resulting fertiliser is suitable for use in both conventional and organic cultivation.

In the concluding discussion, all participants once again took the opportunity to ask their questions and the speakers discussed important factors in the successful realisation of innovative business ideas. In addition to personal success stories, various hurdles that stand in the way of the sustainable use of side streams were also discussed. The issue of financing was emphasised in particular. Start-ups find it difficult to find investors for the often lengthy implementation of business models in biotechnology and the bioeconomy.

We would like to thank our speakers and all participants for enriching this webinar. We are already looking forward to the next CLIB event.