More than 80 people came to the Bioeconomy Showcase held to mark the launch of the new Akteursplattform Bioökonomie Baden-Württemberg. Participants enthusiastically sketched out ideas for the BMBF’s idea contest “New products for the Bioeconomy”.
The transformation of renewable raw materials and waste materials into industrial or intermediate products is one of the key objectives of the bioeconomy. Several things are required for all this to become reality – for example the right people, as the very minimum requirement. Creating networks, establishing small action groups, identifying synergy potentials are all required to bring this new economy concept, the bioeconomy, to life. The Akteursplattform Bioökonomie Baden-Württemberg seeks to help companies in Baden-Württemberg develop and place on the market products and services based on the use of renewable raw and waste materials. The platform held its first ever meeting at the “Bioeconomy Showcase” in Stuttgart in December 2015. The platform attracted upwards of 80 people, which is a clear sign that the bioeconomy is gaining in importance and is increasingly seen as a market opportunity.
Biobased products can be placed on the market to compete with existing solutions and products. However, they can also provide additional benefits. They may also have completely new properties. A major obstacle for biobased products is cost. However, cost becomes less of an issue when a product brings added value. When a biobased product has completely new properties, cost is likely to be a secondary issue. In terms of strategy, companies have to consider whether they want to replace, improve or create products and services. At the meeting, company representatives provided valuable insights into product development, marketing issues and the challenges of product placement. It became clear that all three strategies, i.e., replacing, improving and developing products and services, can actually work.
New ideas are needed to develop new products. Prior to the event, BIOPRO designed an idea form for participants to submit product ideas that would subsequently be further developed in small teams at the Bioeconomy Showcase. Eleven ideas were submitted of which eight were presented and discussed in detail. Those who came up with the ideas could then decide whether they wanted to use the results for preparing and submitting a proposal to the German Ministry of Education and Research's (BMBF) idea contest.
Five ideas are now being prepared for submission in February 2016. They will then be pre-evaluated by a team of experts from four companies and applicants will be given the opportunity to adjust their proposal before final submission to the project management organisation. Some of the ideas presented will be given more time to mature, but it is expected that they will be ready for submission in August 2016.
In 2016, further events will be organised as part of the Akteursplattform Bioökonomie Baden-Württemberg. Participants at the Bioeconomy Showcase will be able to contribute to identifying topics that will subsequently be discussed in special interest groups (SIGs). All companies interested in participating in the platform or in individual SIGs are encouraged to register with the Akteursplattform Bioökonomie Baden-Württemberg to receive information about future events and projects.