Time ripe for synthetic biology, industrial biotechnology

Research and development in industrial biotechnology contributes to the growing European bioeconomy which according to the European Commission is worth around 614 billion euros and provides approximately 17.5 million jobs.

The leading industrial biotech event that represents this sector is the European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology and the Bioeconomy (EFIB) which opens in Vienna next week on Wednesday, 6 October until Thursday, 7 October.

The EFIB Forum will be held face-to-face which comes as a relief to many deprived of networking opportunities since the outbreak of the Corona virus pandemic in January 2020. Research , industry and SME from the Horizon 2020/BBI JU projects  SUSBIND and SUSFERT will be present at the event.

Both projects are hosted at the stand by communications partner RTDS. BBI JU Executive Director, Philippe Mengal, plans to visit the RTDS stand on Wednesday, where he will meet RTDS CEO, Stephen Webb, and project partners  project to discuss progress made, and challenges ahead in achieving a circular bioeconomy in Europe.

SUSBIND is a collaborative European research project in the field of bioeconomy that aims to replace conventional fossil-fuel binders currently used for wood-based panel boards in furniture with highly sustainable bio-based binders. By substituting fossil-based chemicals with those from renewable resources, carbon footprint of mass-produced furniture products will be reduced. A sustainable and economically viable binder will increase the marketability of bio-based furniture products.

Project partner Wood K plus, a leading research institute in the area wood and wood-related renewable resources developing the alternative bio-based adhesives based on carbohydrates together with EGGER have recently completed the pilot scale evaluation of a new bio-based binder system. “This is one of the most important project milestones, opening the way for increased production capacities” say Erik van Herwijnen, Team Leader “Advanced Bonding” at Wood K plus.

Scientific Coordinator, Massimo Bregola of Cargill is encouraged that this will lead to major breakthroughs. “The expertise brought together under the SUSBIND project will finally see development of a bio-based binder able to compete on an industrial scale. As we become increasingly demanding of green production methods in all areas, SUSBIND will provide Europe with a competitive advantage” he says.

Massimo Bregola- Global Technology Lead Coatings, Adhesives, Sealants & Elastomers – Cargill

Additionally, the SUSBIND partners will join BBI JU Executive Director, Philippe Mengal, and Sustainability and External Affairs Lead, Cargill Bioindustrial, Marty Muenzmaier, on the podium for EFIB’s final session OUTLOOK: The pathway to the future for industrial biotechnology. Both SUSBIND and SUSFERT are funded by the Biobased Industry Joint Undertaking (BBI-JU) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme.

SUSFERT is developing new biobased fertilisers to reduce dependency on unsustainable phosphorus imports into the EU. These fertilisers include novel controlled-release coatings from lignin as well as lignosulfonate-based soil improvers originating from wood pulp.  Waste sidestreams such as struvite is utilised to substitute imported phosphorus. The loss of nutrients from fertilisers in agriculture are being addressed by using probiotics to increase nutrient availability as the demand for food and feed rises.

Meet the SUSBIND and SUSFERT experts and discover the advances for the bioeconomy at Stand 5 during EFIB.