POWER4BIO cross-visit to Bavaria

Munich and Straubing, January 21 and 22

On January 21 and 22, the third POWER4BIO cross-visit to Bavaria took place in Munich and Straubing. Members of the POWER4BIO consortium and of the POWER4BIO Community of Interest participated in the visit as well as interested stakeholders from the State Ministry, the Bavarian Bioeconomy Council, industrial sector, bioeconomy research organisations and bioeconomy-related companies.

The cross-visit started with a workshop on Bavarian bioeconomy, hosted at the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs in Munich. Speakers from the Ministry, Dr. Ulrike Wolf and Dr. Tatjana Nabokin, gave an introduction to bioeconomy in Bavaria and the process of developing the Bavarian Bioeconomy Strategy. These speeches were followed by an introduction to POWER4BIO, given by Laura Kühn from the Chemie-Cluster Bayern, regional representative of Bavaria within POWER4BIO and organiser of this cross-visit. Claudia Leifert from EPC gGmbH presented the related bioeconomy Horizon 2020 project Enabling and several tools invented within this project, such as a Best Practice Atlas, Coaching Services and especially the recently launched BiomassTrade Platform. The EU-wide operating trading platform brings together biomass producers and biomass industry that want to trade currently unused biomass residues.

The afternoon was dedicated to a workshop session, where all participants discussed in two working groups about consumers’ needs to decide on bio-based products and how to ensure that bioeconomy is well-received by society. Both groups elaborated suggestions how to better integrate bioeconomy into society in the future. The day ended with a social event and a Bavarian dinner.

The second day of the cross-visit took place in Straubing at the KoNaRo – Centre of Excellence for Renewable Resources and started with the Bavarian Bioeconomy Forum. The Straubing region of renewable resources was introduced by Sabine Gmeinwieser from KoNaRo, Andrea Hain introduced the work of the Bavarian Bioeconomy Council, and Ann-Kathrin Kaufmann from the BioCampus Straubing presented the infrastructure for bio-based industry of the Straubing region.

The well-visited Bavarian Bioeconomy Forum ended with the pitches of two regional bio-based startups, LXP Group and Biofibre. Dr. Friedrich Streffer from LXP Group gave insights to the proprietary technology that cracks second generation biomass into sugar. Jörg Dörrstein introduced Biofibre, winner of the 2019 biopolymer innovation award. Biofibre produces bio-based and biodegradable bioplastic of different characteristics, according to customers’ demands.

On a field visit, the nearby Centre of Excellence for Renewable Resources was visited. The Centre provides a permanent exhibition “from plant to use” about bio-based products and bioenergy. Technologies and products made from renewable resources are presented and explained in a vivid and appealing way. The Centre of Excellence for Renewable Resources also accommodates green houses where a bio-based material is tested to avoid weed development in vineyard plantations. In a visit of the laboratories of the Centre, a presentation was given about the bioengineering of microorganisms that produce biochemicals.

At the end of the cross-visit, the Clariant Sunliquid demonstration plant was visited. In this plant, cellulosic ethanol is produced from agricultural residues with an annual capacity of up to 1,000 tons of ethanol. The visitors gained an insight into all the production steps of Clariant Sunliquid, pre-treatment, enzyme production, hydrolysis, fermentation and separation. Within the plant, the water generated is recirculated as well as the energy. Vinasse and press cake, by-products of ethanol production, are sold to the farmers to be used as fertilisers.