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Flanders’ biobased ecosystem

Find out more about the closely interconnected ecosystem of biobased business and expertise in Flanders.

In Flanders, expertise and knowledge go hand in hand with biobased operations through a local, high-potential, biobased ecosystem that interfaces biobased feedstock resources, business and research enablers, and market demand.

Feedstock

Flanders ensures cost-competitive biomass feedstock and an ideal business fit for your biobased company. The region offers great access to diverse feedstock resources, is home to four promising biomass value chains, and excels at generating second and even third-generation feedstocks.

Great access to feedstock

To give just a few examples, Flanders is home to:

  • a strongly developed agro-food sector – producing valuable resources, such as sugar beets and corn, for industrial biotechnology.
  • an interconnected fruit and vegetable agribusiness – ideal for the local valorization of side streams from food, feed or industrial products.
  • a pioneering green biotechnology – for the development of high-yielding crops as well as second and even third-generation feedstocks.
  • a world-leading recycling hub – translating into a vast amount of organic waste as feedstock for the biobased industry.

Promising biomass value chains

Through know-how in novel biomass generation processes – from gasification and fermentation to chemical conversion and biorefining – four promising biomass value chains stand out in Flanders:

  • the production of fine chemicals from sugars, starch, etc.;
  • the development of second-generation sugars;
  • the use of lignin-rich resources for the production of materials and chemicals with high added value;
  • the conversion of carbonaceous (waste) gases into chemicals.

Feedstock innovation

VITO, the Flemish Institute for Technological Research, is a major partner of the biobased industry through its focus on, among other things, the development of innovative, biobased molecules from biomass and other novel feedstocks – such as wood (lignin), algae, insects and CO2. What makes VITO unique in this domain is its integration of separation techniques into chemical, microbial, enzymatic and (bio)electrochemical processes.

Enablers

Know-how and research

  • VIB – Flanders’ research institute for biotechnology.
  • VITO – Institute for technological research in Flanders. Through its focus on, among other things, the development of innovative, biobased molecules from biomass and other novel feedstocks, VITO is a major partner of the biobased economy in Flanders.
  • Ceebio – Knowledge platform that gives an overview of the know-how, expertise and activities in Flanders’ biobased economy – from companies as well as researchers.
  • ILVO – Flanders’ institute for agricultural and fisheries research.
  • Inagro – Knowledge partner for the agro-food industry.

Infrastructure

  • Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant – Located at the Port of Ghent, Bio Base Europe (BBE) Pilot Plant is an independent, open innovation pilot and demonstration facility. It is your go-to partner for process development, scale-up and customer manufacturing of biobased products and processes – from lab to multi-tonne scale.
  • Food Pilot – Based in Melle, the Food Pilot is an application, demo and analysis center and enables biomass – including new crops relevant to the bioeconomy – to be converted into food and non-food products. It hosts technologies such as heat, mix, reduce, cool and dry devices on a semi-industrial scale. The machines are a combination of multifunctional, conventional and innovative technologies.
  • VITO Pilot When it comes to both chemical and bioprocesses, VITO has the expertise and infrastructure to set up pilot installations applying advanced, membrane-based separation technologies. Mobile setups are designed for standalone operation or integration into existing processes at the customer’s site.

Key organizations

  • FlandersBio – Dedicated networking organization for the life sciences sector in Flanders.
  • CINBIOS – Flanders-based organization that aims to provide a network for companies and knowledge centers active in industrial biotechnology.
  • i-Cleantech Flanders – Organization that stimulates the transition towards a sustainable economy through clean technologies.
  • FCA – Flanders Cleantech Association unites Flanders’ cleantech companies and supporting players in a cleantech cluster, pursuing maximum standing abroad in influential networks, new markets, potential investors and cleantech innovation projects.
  • Flanders’ FOOD – Innovation platform for a more innovative, competitive and sustainable agro-food industry in Flanders.
  • EWI Vlaanderen – Department of Economy, Science and Innovation of the Government of Flanders.

Clusters

  • Flanders Biobased Valley – A non-profit organization supporting the development of sustainable, biobased activities in Flanders. Some of its activities include the development of new value chains, the creation of new industrial clusters and the promotion of Flanders as a model region for the conversion of waste gases into chemicals.
  • FISCH – Short for “Flanders’ Innovation Hub for Sustainable Chemistry”, FISCH is the innovation cluster for sustainable chemistry in Flanders. It supports companies with the initiation and set-up of innovation projects, while promoting cooperation. Together, companies, research institutes and the government aim to accelerate the transition towards sustainability chemistry through open innovation in four main areas: renewable chemicals, process intensification, side-stream valorization and advanced sustainable products. 
  • Rodenhuizedok – Based in Ghent, Rodenhuizedok is Europe’s largest integrated bioenergy production complex. It hosts the production of bioethanol, biodiesel and bio-electricity, all under one roof.

Welcome team

Flanders life sciences welcome team – Created by FIT, VIB and FlandersBio, this welcome team is dedicated to supporting and guiding foreign biotechnology investors in Flanders. 

Market

Flanders boasts some major industrial assets, coupled with a large pool of SMEs that connect the region’s industry with biobased resources, applications and research. Consequently, you gain access to the biotech market potential of:

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