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End of 2011, the Netherlands government has identified a set of nine “top sectors” which have the potential to stimulate the development of the Dutch economy. Amongst these top sectors, there is a cross-sectoral programme – a “top consortium” – which focuses on the bioeconomy (TKI BBE) and which also comprises a dedicated Biorenewables Business Platform. TKI BBE concentrates on the steps ranging from fundamental research to valorisation and pilot production in the subject matters of:
- Biobased materials
- BioEnergy & BioChemicals
- Integrated biorefinery
- Optimalisation of the cultivation and biomass production
- Recovering and reuse: water, nutrients and ground
- Economy, sustainability and policy
Industrial biotechnology can also find entry points in the top consortium “Institute for Sustainable Process Technology, Smart Polymeric Materials and New Chemical Innovations”. In addition to the funding of fundamental research, the TKI BBE provides various instruments to enable e.g. the funding of research and innovation for SMEs, demand-driven and industrially relevant applied research, shared pilot production facilities, seed funding and start-up funds.
Prior to the industrial policy preferences set out in the above-mentioned top sectors, the Dutch government had already shown its dedication to industrial biobased solutions by contributing in the set-up of BE-Basic. BE-Basic is a public private partnership which was launched in 2010 and is funded 50% by the Dutch government and 50% by participating parties. The aim of BE-Basic is to cover the research fields needed for the transition to a biobased economy with ten flagships:
- Carbon-based compounds
- Nitrogen-based specialties
- Sustainable Soil management and upstream processing
- Bioconstruction Materials
- Microbial production of Biofuels and Bioenewables
- Synthetic Biology
- High-throughput experimentation and (meta)genomic mining
- Environmental impact of chemical, bio-based molecules and processes
- Societal embedding of a biobased economy
- Genomics for Industrial Fermentation
- EBD Programme: Economy, Policy and Sustainability
- Iso-butanol Platform Rotterdam (IBPR)
On an ongoing basis, the Netherlands collaborate with the Flemish government within Bio Base Europe. It is an open innovation and education centre which also contains a multipurpose and flexible pilot plant to test and enable the scale up of production processes.
Who is there?
A recent estimation shows that in the Netherlands, approximately 40 companies are active in the industrial biotechnology field, accounting for approx. 4700 jobs.
- Technical University of Delft
- Wageningen University
- Technical University of Eindhoven, (bioprocess technologies and biocatalysis),
- Others: Twente University, Groningen University, University of Amsterdam.
Research & Technology Organisations:
- Fungal Biodiversity Centre (CBS-KNAW)
- Natuur en Milieu
- Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW)
- Platform Bio-Energie
- TNO (Netherlands Organisation Applied Scientific Research)
- Wageningen UR, Food & Biobased Research
- Amyris, Inc.
- BioDetection Systems B.V.
- Bioprocess Pilot Facility
- Corbion Purac
- CSK Food Enrichment
- Delft Advanced Biorenewables (DAB)
- Essent New Energy B.V.
- Friesland Campina
- Heineken Supply Chain
- MicCell Bioservices
- Microlife Solutions
- NIZO food research B.V.
- Procede Group
- Soil Cares Research
- Synthon B.V.
- ZIRK Technology
Networks and PPPs
- BE Basic
- Institute for Sustainable Process Technology (Bioproduction and biorefinery)
- Biobased Performance Materials – a network of 5 research institutes and 30 companies researching biopolymers. The more fundamental research in biopolymers is carried out by the Dutch Polymer Institute.
- CatchBio – a public private scheme which consists of ten research institutes and 11 companies focusing on biocatalysis
- Biobased Delta – green fuels in the biobased economy
- Biorizon – Shared Research Center focusing on aromatics
- Green Chemistry Campus (which is part of the Biobased Delta)
- BioBased Cluster at Maasvlakte 2
- Biotech Campus in Delft
- Bioeconomy Innovation Cluster Oost Nederland
HollandBIO – the Dutch association for bio-industries
Netherlands Association for Biotechnology (NVB) – association for professionals in biotechnology (part of Royal Netherlands Association for Chemistry)
Browse through the map for an overview of biobased initiatives and actors in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands have 18 commercial biorefineries and pilot plants. This includes for example the BioProcess Facility in Delft as a shared pilot production facility, part of BE-BASIC.
Funding for industrial biotechnology initiatives is mainly derived from the above mentioned top sectors policy framework and especially TKI BBE. The top consortium of TKI BBE combines public and private funding to support research, innovation and valorisation. This implies that NWO, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, allocates a part of its overall budget to top sector programmes. However, also TNO (RTO) is required to direct parts of its demand-directed funding to the top sector programmes. In addition, regional funding, private funding, company budgets etc. also add to the TKI BBE. The Dutch government supports the top sector programmes with a dedicated TKI allowance, the overall budget for all nine top sectors and 18 related TKIs is € 111 million for 2015.
The BE-BASIC programme, part of the above-mentioned BE BASIC Foundation has an annual budget of €45 million, with €8 million coming from the Dutch government.
The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) runs the TASC (Technology Areas for Sustainable Chemistry) programme which is embedded in the TKI New Chemical Innovations. €3-7 million can be allocated per TASC subprogramme.
The Technology Foundation STW is funding the Partnership Programme Volatile Fatty Acid Platform with a contribution of €0.5 million (2012-2018)
In addition to this, several other more broad funding programmes support research, innovation and valorisation in industrial biotechnology. The Dutch funding system for research and innovation increasingly moves from sector and technology specific towards more broad instruments. Subsequently, the funding amounts allocated to industrial biotechnology cannot be clearly defined.
- 19 of 25 large chemical companies have branches in the Netherlands
- DSM is major actor, active worldwide
- Strong science base in industrial biotechnology, chemistry, agriculture
- Tradition in public private partnerships
- Pilot production & demonstration facilities widely available
- Port of Rotterdam is main actor in worldwide distribution, logistics and storage of biomass
- Several biobased clusters active, including innovative industry park near Chemelot in Limburg
- Biobased economy is priority in national and regional research and innovation policies, also in relation to ‘Energy transition’ objectives
- Policy targets complete ‘value chain’ from basic research to applied research to innovation, valorisation, pilot production, start-up and seed funding.
- Good supply of sugar beets as promising biomass
- Dutch chemistry sector under pressure of competition from Asia and Middle-East
- Worldwide restructuring and relocation of industrial R&D
- Higher energy prices than in the USA and other parts of the World
- Large companies see more opportunities for growth in markets outside Europe
- Lack of funding for pilot production, upscaling of research results to pilot and demonstration phase
- Lack of risk capital for new, innovative companies
- Prices of some biomass materials too high (wood chips, pellets)
- Foundation TKI-BBE