The Global Perspective on Growing the Bioeconomy Session was one of the multiple unique sessions finishing off the 2014 BIO Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy. Moderated by Zainal Abu Kasim of the Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation, the panel consisted of Enrica Bargiacchi of the Consortium INSTM and Arno van de Kant, Bioprocess Pilot Facility B.V.
Much of Zainal Abu Kasim’s discussion was around the growing biotechnology sector in Malaysia. Specifically, he addressed the role that the Malaysian Biotechnology Corp has played in accelerating and enhancing the growth of a biobased economy in the country. Zainal Abu Kasim also addressed six additional growing industries in Malaysia – engineering, palm oil, automotive, oil & gas, electronics and timber & furniture. He commented that by 2010, Asia already had one of the largest shares in the global chemical market much which can be attributed to Malaysia. Zainal Abu Kasim concluded his remarks by discussing that even though Mayalsia houses a very very unique feedstock-palm trees-it may not be used to its full potential because there is limited for future plantation and expansion. Additionally, many in the biobased space have little experience working with this feedstock.
Enrica Bargiacchi, Consortium INSTM, spoke on her organizations’ creation of the Bio-man, located in the city of Mantova, site which specifically looks at feedstock procurement projects and finds ways to switch out the fossil based feedstocks to replace with multi-purpose green feedstocks. INSTM, the National Interuniversity Consortium of Materials Science and Technology, is the largest consortium of its kind in Italy, drawing on the expertise of around 46 universities – and all those that are active in Italy in researching advanced materials and technologies. Bargiacchi elaborated on the Bio-man project stating that it looks at the competitiveness of the traditional fossil fuel based energy in comparison to use of biomass based energy. She concluded by noting how this then transitioned into INSTM being able to prepare a sustainable biomass procurement plan for a new biorefinery in Mantova.
Arno van de Kant, Bioprocess Pilot Facility B.V, concluded the panel with a great discussion on how BPF helps companies who do work on a lab scale transition that work onto a commercial scale. BPF offers a modern up-to-date, state-of-the-art, versatile open access pilot plant facility which is capable of meeting the demand of the innovators in the biobased economy, enabling these innovators to become successful. Arno van de Kant explained that BPF reduces risk for the scale up process by taking a close look at the economics and feasibility of the project before beginning. He described how BPF can essentially called out the work of a commercial facility but as the size as a pilot scale facility. Arno van de Kant concluded his remarks by stressing the importance of collaboration.