There are a number of important conditions and trends driving bio-based development forward. Below, we have formulated some ideas that are particularly interesting regarding the areas of Chemicals & Energy, Materials, and Construction & Design. These create extensive opportunities for new collaboration, and new innovations.
I. KEY TECHNOLOGIES
The manufacturing of competitive products from biomass requires new and more cost-effective processes. The high production costs for existing technologies are hampering investment in bio-based alternatives, both by producers, and also by actors further down the value chain. Processes that ensure correct and stable product quality, despite variations in the quality of the biomass, are one important area. At the moment, many a good idea is dismissed with the argument that it is too expensive, too uncertain, or that the supply of raw materials is too limited for volume products. However, through the efficient utilisation of raw materials, and through circularity, great potential for a large selection of products and processes exists.
More inputs, providing a foundation for decisions about upscaling, are also needed. Ideas that have been validated in the laboratory, or on a small pilot scale, need to be verified in a context that companies consider to be relevant and reliable, if they are to proceed and implement. In this way the preconditions for new bio-based products on the market are created. New technologies and processes require capital-intensive investments with a long repayment period. The possibility of increased support for pilot plants, for risky demonstration projects, and for flagship projects – that is, full-scale first-of-a-kind investments – is an important boost to development.