Biotechnology in Northern Europe – the ScanBalt BioRegion – is an upcoming asset in science and industry. From the various areas of modern biotechnologies the so called industrial or white biotechnology has already biggest impact in economy, based on internationally outstanding expertise in science and industry and small and medium sized companies clustered in Northern Europe. This is an outcome of a workshop held in Tallinn, Sep 23th at the 9th ScanBalt Forum, organised by BioCon Valley. Upcoming products and services will have a strong impact in reducing CO2 burden by an optimal use of biomass for food, feed, fine chemicals.
Industrial biotechnology or white biotechnology is the application of biotechnology for industrial purposes, including manufacturing, alternative energy (or "bioenergy"), and biomaterials. A number of successful products are on the market since years, like enzymes in washing powder, amino acids and vitamins for food and feed industry, and fine chemicals. Global markets are about 58 Billion € per year and estimated to grow 10-30% per year. In Northern Europe based on strong and international leading research in academic centers in Copenhagen, Vilnius, Greifswald and Hamburg, globally leading industry has grown up, like Novozymes and Danisco in Denmark, Fermentas from Lithuania and Stern Enzymes and Enzymicals in Northern Germany. Examples from these companies and research centers presented their results and innovations which will come into reality in next future. Dr Ralf Grote, manager of the leading German Cluster BIOCATALYSIS2021 stated: “Our scientific competence in Northern Germany allowed us to assemble the top experts from Germany to boost the development of innovative products and services. And in addition this produces new jobs and companies like the young Enzymicals AG in Greifswald”. Dr. Lutz Popper, head of R&D from Stern Enzymes in Ahrensburg, confirmed the statement and stated “the clustering of expertise is more than a club – it boosts our innovation circle. We now come up with new enzymes for the food and feed industry.” Prof Lene Lange, Dean of Research, AAU, member of the Scanbalt Academy and former R&D director in Novozymes, opened the broad scope of applications of industrial biotechnologies already on the market. “Industrial Biotechnology is already a leading market of the biotech sector. And upcoming applications will revolutionise the chemical material industry leading to a better and sustainable use of biomass.” As an example for a successful project neoplas GmbH presented results of the cooperation between this SME and the University Greifswald group of Prof. Uwe Bornscheuer Institut for Biochemistry, department of Enzyme engineering and catalysis. For Ulrich Kettling, Global Director Biotechnology & Biorefinery Süd-Chemie AG, industrial biotechnology is an underestimated technology to meet global challenges like climate change and sustainable development. “We are now building up a biorefinary to replace petrochemical sources by biomass from the farms as a source to synthesize modern chemicals. And we are convinced of our commercial and environmental benefit”. Industrial Biotechnology – the hidden champion based on globally leading expertise in science and industry in Northern Europe, the ScanBalt BioRegion.