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02 May 2013 03:05:49

Coupons worth €10,000 each to help SMEs unlock potential of bio-based technologies



Small and medium enterprises in North West Europe can apply for 'Innovation Coupons' worth up to €10,000 (£8,400) each to help them assess the feasibility of taking a bio-based idea or technology to industrial production.

The Innovation Coupons scheme is being launched by Bio Base NWE, a new €6.2 million project funded under the INTERREF IVB NWE framework programme to support the development of the bio-based economy in North West Europe.

The coupons can be used to access the state-of-the-art technology and expertise of the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant in Ghent, Belgium, and is open to any small and medium enterprise (SME) in North West Europe.

The pilot plant is a flexible and multi-purpose facility, which can be used for developing a range of bio-based products and processes. Technologies being tested at the plant include biorefining, biomass pre-treatment, biocatalysis, fermentation, downstream processing and green chemistry.

"The UK has excellent process development and scale-up facilities, helping companies move bio-based research concepts towards commercial reality. But now through the Bio Base NWE project we're increasing the options open to UK companies by providing access to Europe's best facilities and networks," said Dr Adrian Higson, head of biorefining at NNFCC and UK representative for the project.

"The coupon scheme is great way to support companies looking to undertake short feasibility studies before undertaking large-scale trials," he added.

The aim of the scheme is to bridge the innovation gap of bio-based innovations, helping companies turn a promising idea from the lab into a marketable product. The scheme can be regarded as a type of ‘seed capital’ to test the feasibility of an idea, so that a business plan can be written.

There are fifty coupons available, each with a value of up to €10,000, to conduct feasibility analysis, lab work and pilot tests. The call is now open and will close on 31st March 2015.


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