The University of Tartu and Estonian Research Council held a networking seminar in Brussels, on sustainable bio-manufacturing solutions
Waldemar Kütt, who is in charge of leading the European Commission’s bioeconomy R&D Strategy, emphasized that transforming to a sustainable and circular biotechnology industry has become a unavoidable step to achieving the climate change mitigation goals set by the Paris Agreement and UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, but also important for jobs and global competiteveness. These principles are covered also in the renewed EU bioeconomy strategy and the next Horizon Europe.
The Bio-Based industries joint undertaking between the EC and Industry stakeholders has invested 1,6 billion euros into innovatve biotech solutons during the first 4 years, with 933 beneficiaries from 32 countries. Eleni Zika, Head of Programme for BBI, said that the EU can still do better in terms of mobilizing private investment and funding high-risk demonstration projects for novel production processes.
Mr Toomas Kevvai, deputy Secretary General at the Estnian Ministry of Education and Research, said that Member States are actively developing cross-sectoral bioeconomy strategies, and the biotech funding should be considered when setting Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) priorities. Estonia’s economic potential for bio-innovation lies mostly in wood valorization technologies and re-using as much as biomass as possible, including municipal and agricultural waste products.
Synthetic Biology is seen as one of the most promising biotechnology fields to engineer industrially relevant designer cells, cell factories, and biosensors. Professor Mart Loog, director at the Estonian Centre for Synthetic Biology, exemplified how Europe can gain a competitive advantage in bio-manufacturing by faster commerzialisation and more adaptive, custom-made designer cells, for example deriving substances for high value chemicals and pharmaceuticals.
Graanul Invest, which is Europes biggest producer of pellets, aims to become the continents leading producer of lignocellulosic biomass derived biochemical and biomaterials producer by 2030. Explaining this shift from energy to high-value bio-based products, Peep Pitk, the Estonian-based company’s R&D Manager, explained that both environmental boundaries, global competition and regulatory framework have beed the key drivers for this innovative approach. The company aims to manage the whole value-chain from land ownership, processing and delivery to energy production.
Additional information: Vallo Mulk, Senior Specialist of International R&D Cooperation, +372 5695 0955, vallo.mulk [ät] ut.ee