A total of nine alliance representatives and coordinators from Emschergenossenschaft took the questions from the expert panel. The group provided insights into the past three years of joint research efforts, while they also answered the experts’ questions on the plans for the second phase of the ZeroCarb programme and presented new partners.
By using biotechnology, the ZeroCarbFP alliance seeks to establish the industrial research, development and production of ‘functional biomass’ through the use of materials provided by carbonaceous waste streams. The alliance thus works in an area where breakthrough innovative ideas are pushed for by politicians as well as the economy and the society so that more arable land can be retained to grow food crops.
The past three years were used by researchers to focus on identifying enzymes / biocatalysts and microorganisms that help utilise and transform waste streams into sources of raw materials. So far, several processes have been evaluated on a laboratory scale and some first synergies became apparent in the shape of a bio-refinery project.
During the following two ZeroCarbFP stages, the development and pilot phases, the alliance partners will now work to bring the bio-procedures identified so far to market maturity, with the full value-added chain in mind. The first ZeroCarbFP phase saw the publication of four scientific papers, numerous lectures at symposia, six press releases as well as some patent applications for letters patent (two plus two in the pipeline), all of which highlight the extraordinary quality of what has been achieved so far in both the scientific and economic arenas.
First pre-production samples, which were generated and made available for application testing, round off the successful endeavours undertaken by the alliance. The results delivered in Phase 1 and the projects planned for Phase 2 were likewise appreciated by the expert panel. During Phase 2, researchers will now focus on the development of the required process parameters through translating initial Phase 1 processes into a pilot environment.
“Phase 1 results have exceeded our expectations in many respects. After such a short period of research and development it is really impressive to see how very promising some first products perform in application tests. I’d like to pay a big compliment to everybody involved in the alliance,” says Dr Jürgen Eck, CEO of BRAIN AG.
As the second phase commences, BRAIN AG takes over the role of alliance coordinator of from Emschergenossenschaft. This change was unanimously approved by all alliance partners.
“We are delighted all ZeroCarb alliance partners have chosen us to take over the role as coordinators from Emschergenossenschaft and we wish to thank everybody for the trust placed in us. Due to the planned shift in emphasis to process development, the alliance now includes a larger number of industrial partners specialising in process engineering and pilot testing. We expect them to strengthen the alliance in terms of process establishment and engineering and they will also help us gain better market access and will contribute their excellent marketing skills,“ states Dr Guido Meurer, Executive Vice President and head of the ZeroCarb coordination team at BRAIN.
With effect from 1 October 2016 and coinciding with the start of the second (or development) phase of ZeroCarbFP, the Phase 1 line-up including, among others, Bioeton Germany, BRAIN, Fuchs Schmierstoffe and Südzucker was complemented by EMERY Oleochemicals as new industrial partners and Cronimet Mining AG as associated industrial partners. Under the umbrella of ZeroCarbFP industrial companies work hand in glove with numerous partners from academia to advance the alliance’s R&D efforts.