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Technology Academy Finland awards Finnish biotech company: Millennium Distinction Award goes to MetGen, producer of industrial enzymes

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Technology Academy Finland (TAF) has given the Millennium Distinction Award to MetGen Oy, a company specialising in directed evolution, also known as protein engineering.

TAF awards the Millennium Distinction Award on alternate years with the Millennium Technology Prize. The Distinction is awarded to a company or researcher operating in Finland whose work is connected with the research field of the preceding winner of the Millennium Technology Prize. The 2016 Millennium Technology Prize was awarded to Professor Frances Arnold from the United States for developing a new and efficient method for creating proteins in the laboratory. Engineered proteins can be used to replace expensive or fossil-fuel-based production in many areas of industry. 2017 Millennium Distinction Award recipient MetGen also employs the methods pioneered by Professor Arnold.

“The one-million-euro Millennium Technology Prize is an international award of recognition, whereas the Millennium Distinction Award is designed to reward and showcase cutting-edge commercial applications and research in the same field in Finland,” says Ari Ahonen, CEO of Technology Academy Finland. “With this year’s Millennium Distinction Award we support a Finnish enterprise that is fast gaining international recognition and also participates in several sustainable EU projects.”

MetGen provides cleantech solutions for industry

Founded in 2008 in Kaarina, Finland, MetGen Oy provides enzymes to the constantly growing biomass market. The mission of the cleantech company is to empower businesses in employing faster and more energy-efficient processes by providing them with enzymes, proteins that function as catalysts also in nature. The advantage of the genetically engineered enzymes developed by MetGen is that they can withstand challenging conditions in industrial production, such as extreme pH values and high temperatures.

MetGen develops new enzymes for three sectors of the industry: pulp and paper industry, biofuels, and industrial waste water processing. In pulp production, for instance, savings in energy, cost and time are significant when the chips can be partially broken down with enzymes prior to pulping. Enzymes can also be used to manufacture bioethanol fuel from pulp production waste.

MetGen has excelled in utilizing advanced methods of directed evolution and protein engineering for benefit of green chemistry by aiming to reduce pollutants and the use of non-renewables in various industries.

“The great challenge for the future is to utilise all fractions of the biomass feedstock to produce chemicals and materials,” says Alex Michine, CEO of MetGen. “We are planning to address the full value-chain in bioprocessing, targeting zero waste performance and lowering the carbon footprint.”

MetGen has previously won other awards, including the European John Sime Award for Most Innovative Technology of 2016. Moreover, in 2014 the Global Cleantech Cluster Association named MetGen one of the top 10 cleantech cluster companies in the world.

“It is an honour and a privilege to receive the Millennium Distinction Award. We see this award as a huge motivator to contribute even more to further growth of sustainable bioeconomy”, says CEO Alex Michine.

Technology Academy Finland TAF will present the Millennium Distinction Award in cooperation with the City of Turku, Turku Science Park, Turku University of Applied Sciences, University of Turku and Åbo Akademi on 2 November 2017 at 18.00 at Turku City Hall. Representatives of the media are welcome to attend.

The next Millennium Technology Prize will be awarded on 22 May 2018.

Enquiries:

Technology Academy Finland (TAF)
Ari Ahonen, CEO, ari.ahonen@taf.fi, tel. +358 40 061 8300
Media relations: Laura Manas, Communications Manager, laura.manas@taf.fi, tel. +358 500 989 286

JURY OF THE MILLENNIUM DISTINCTION AWARD 2017

Christine Hagström-Näsi, Senior Advisor, Click Innovation Oy
Mart Saarma, Professor, University of Helsinki
Jukka Seppälä, Professor, Aalto University

Sweetwater Energy Announces Licensing Agreement for MetGen’s Groundbreaking Lignin Fractionation Technology

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Sweetwater Energy, Inc., a Rochester NY-based renewable bio-products producer, has finalized a licensing and joint technology development agreement with the Finnish company MetGen Oy. Cooperation will allow the development of a full range of high value lignin-based products including resins and adhesives, foams and composites and bio-based chemicals and polymers to meet the growing needs of a fast changing world.

MetGen is a pioneer in lignocellulosic industrial enzymes and renewable chemicals. The license is for MetGen’s LIGNOTM technology platform which facilitates the enzymatic break down of Sweetwater’s ultra-clean lignin into its fundamental component parts. Sweetwater and MetGen will carry out the commercialization of both technology platforms at Sweetwater’s commercial facility in Rochester NY and will roll the technology out to facilities world-wide.

“By introducing highly profitable products produced from Sweetwater’s Ultra-ligninTM, we are advancing the global bioeconomy by economically competing directly with products from the petrochemical industry.  MetGen’s LIGNOTM technology will allow us to create high quality, low cost products that unlock the true value of the lignin.  The increased revenues from our high value lignin will also allow us to price wood-based cellulosic sugars at well below corn sugar for the first time in history. Cellulosic sugars can be used as renewable non-food resources for biochemical and biofuel industries” said Arunas Chesonis, Sweetwater’s Chairman and CEO.

MetGen’s CEO Alex Michine said “Over the past years MetGen has accumulated extensive experience on applying enzymes in industrial biorefineries. In this work, we have recognized how important it is to match the proper technologies throughout the value-chain. This is why we are excited about the pairing of Sweetwater’s Sunburst technology with our LIGNOTM platform.  Every processing step and every fraction of the raw material counts when creating renewable –and affordable – chemicals and materials out of lignocellulosic biomass.”

For more information, please contact:

Alex Michine, CEO, MetGen Oy
+358405433740
skype: alexmichine
www.metgen.com

About MetGen Oy

MetGen designs and markets novel enzymatic solutions for the most challenging of industrial conditions to address our customer’s specific challenges. MetGen was founded in 2008 and is based in Kaarina, Finland. MetGen’s enzymes – MetZyme® – are industrial, highly-active, natural catalysts that accelerate chemical reactions and company uses advances in genetic engineering and microbiology to adapt enzymes to harsh industrial conditions and to handle a variety of lignocellulosic substrates. MetGen aims to be a widely recognized supplier of industrial enzymes, significantly contributing to the economics and sustainability of process industries such as pulp & paper, biofuels and biochemicals. MetGen’s competitive advantage is in tailoring or adapting enzymes to meet customer’s specific needs.

About Sweetwater Energy Ltd.

Sweetwater Energy is a Rochester, NY-based company that has developed a unique and patented technology for producing low-cost sugars and clean lignin fiber from multiple non-food plant materials to help meet the modern world’s increasing demand for biochemicals, bioplastics and biofuels. Begun in 2009 in the Rochester Institute of Technology incubator, the company now has a comprehensive intellectual property portfolio of issued and pending patents around the modular approach to produce sugars and clean lignin that are both less expensive and substantially more favorable for the environment than competing products available today from petroleum and food crops.

The LIGNOTM field of application has been expanded to a wider pH range, with alkaliphilic enzymes that can effectively function at a pH up to 11.  This means that they function at a pH where lignin is fully soluble, with an added benefit of outstanding thermo-tolerance.  These advances allow the rapid production of smaller, more active and uniform aromatics. This fractionation of lignin suddenly enables drop-in solutions in coatings, plasticizers, polyurethanes, binders and fuels that have yet to be fully realized with existing crude lignin. 

MetGen finalist of the 2017 Pulp & Paper International Awards for Innovation in Cellulosic Applications

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The Pulp and Paper International Awards are the only global awards that are dedicated to recognizing the achievements of companies, mills, and individuals in the pulp and paper sector. It provides a platform that honors a multitude of different categories celebrating leadership, vision, innovation and strategic accomplishments within the industry.

MetGen has been selected for the new category rewarding Innovation in Cellulosic Applications. Judges were looking for evidence of applications and commercials development but also for advances in research or improved production techniques. Thus, MetGen is proud to be one of those 2017 PPI Awards finalists and to represent Finnish cleantech in such esteemed crowd.

It is time for biotechnology solutions to enhance the pulp and paper industry.

Read more about Pulp & Paper International Awards at https://events.risiinfo.com/ppi-awards/

METGEN INVENTS NOVEL
CHEMO-ENZYMATIC
ROUTE TO FDCA

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MetGen has invented a revolutionary chemo-enzymatic pathway that enables streamlined processes towards platform chemicals, for example FDCA.

MetGen’s ENZINE® Technology Platform allows the design and production of the necessary enzymes for full bioconversion of glucose. Required enzymatic solutions have not been commercially available – until now. The advantage of this enzymatic reaction stems from the complete conversion of the glucose. In the conventional fructose-based process the conversion between glucose and fructose reaches an equilibrium at less than 50% fructose, therefore requiring an additional and inefficient separation step. It is noteworthy in the case of MetGen’s approach that no additional chemicals or co-factors are needed in order to perform the bioconversion. 

Furthermore, MetGen has filed a patent on the chemical route to convert the resulting sugars to oxidized forms of 5-HMF. In that respect the dehydration of the MetGen’s bioconversion product is considered to be much more efficient than the dehydration of fructose: This form of sugar is known to have above 90% conversion yields, whereas fructose dehydration has only around 60% yield.

MetGen’s MetZyme® enzymatic solutions cover the entire bio-based value chain from feedstock to high-value chemicals and enable the use of cellulosic feedstocks as well as the creation of entirely new bio-based materials. In this context, MetGen’s latest innovation also applies to the conversion of all types of cellulosic sugars to more easily chemically convertible sugars. This is believed to represent a major boost to the cost-competitiveness of any biorefinery concept.

Alex Michine, MetGen CEO, states: “In this context, MetGen’s latest innovation on the chemo-enzymatic route to oxidized forms of 5-HMF, is a great example of our capacity to enable entire bio-based industries”.

MetGen’s new innovation therefore allows the possibility of dramatically improving the efficiency and economics of renewable chemicals production including, but not limited to, bioplastics. 

On the whole, MetGen’s new innovation therefore provides a possibility of dramatically increasing the efficiency and economics of renewable chemicals including, but not limited to, bioplastics. As such, it is therefore potentially a key accelerator of the displacement of fossil fuels as a feedstock by bio-based alternatives.

Matti Heikkilä, CTO of MetGen: A clear path ahead of the bioeconomy– Expert opinion in European Biotechnology Life Science and Industry Magazine, 2017

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A clear path ahead for the bioeconomy

There’s no way around it: renewables are the future, Matti Heikkilä believes. European Biotechnology talked to the CTO of Finnish bioeconomy company MetGen about what bio-based products need to bring to the table to usurp their fossil-based counterparts.

European Biotechnology 
Matti, you say we need to stop using fossil fuels. But right now there hardly seems to be a consensus on that – especially among politicians. Are you sure this is going to happen in our lifetimes?
Matti Heikkilä
It is hard to be sure about such things – there are sometimes political decisions that defy logic and reason. But I most certainly hope so! I think the key there is to stop wishing it will happen and work towards that goal, by making renewable fuels and chemicals and good alternatives a viable choice for the oil-based industry. In fact, I already see the transition happening. There are big industries, in pulp and paper and packaging, and they all, especially in Europe, seem to share the vision that the chemicals and the materials that are made of oil today can be replaced and, in some cases, even better materials can be found using renewable resources.

European Biotechnology 
Has Europe advanced further down the path towards a bioeconomy?
Heikkilä
There is a much greater political will going in this direction, especially when compared with what is happening in the US. There are more market-driven approaches on the other side of the Atlantic, but I think there are not as many political drivers to go towards green objectives. Another benefit that we have in Europe is the strong co-operation that stems from the programmes like Horizon 2020, which puts together the best experts from both academia and the industry working towards common goals. This is getting much better nowadays – it’s a much more open and cross-disciplinary collaboration than it was before. One reason for this is: it’s a much more market-driven approach. People are sharing their information with their own benefit in mind. If they make the whole value chain work, it enables their business.

European Biotechnology 
So it is all about the value chains?
Heikkilä
Absolutely. For example, at MetGen, we have created an enzyme that is very good at converting the sugars in wood even at lower purity levels, just to help the value chain. It does not take anything away from us that the pre-treatment company makes a good pre-treated wood slurry as the substrate for our enzymes; and if a chemical company can then turn the result into a plastic bottle, that is also good for our business. It is all about collaboration to fix these value chains. So can we replace petrol-based chemicals in our lifetime? I believe we can do it much faster. Most of the technology already exists, and it is just a matter of connecting the dots, and the right capabilities and people.

European Biotechnology
How does Finland compete within the European bioeconomy?
Heikkilä

Finland’s resources are almost all wood – similar to our Scandinavian neighbours, but different from many European countries. Even in the European-wide bioeconomy strategy, there are separate sections for different countries because the national capabilities and resources are so different. In Germany and the Netherlands, for example, the focus is heavily on biochemicals. The bioeconomy is driven by the industry that is strong locally. The same is true for Finland. Forestry and pulp and paper drives the bioeconomy relatively heavily here. At the same time, since we are up in the North, we do not have the same productivity when it comes to agriculture. We have the bioeconomy strategy implemented on the government level, and it also focusses on the wood-based biomasses. Our company, MetGen, also concentrates on those materials for the most part.

European Biotechnology 
Isn’t it risky to rely on one resource only?
Heikkilä
Actually, MetGen is not picky about the biomass. Wood is where our expertise really shines because that’s the harder substrate. As a rule of thumb, the more lignin you have, the harder it is to put it to economic use. However, the more we assess it, the more we realise that wood is actually a great resource. Wood is not really that expensive. It is also in year-round supply, while grass or straw need to be stored somehow, which then leads to practical issues that come with storing, like the risk of fire and the need for storage space. Also, wood has a lot of sugars to it. Eighty percent of it is sugar – you just need to know how to crack it. And not least, the supply chain is already there. Wood is already being utilised in large quantities. So to me, it is just about transitioning towards using bio­chemicals. MetGen aims to provide the new technologies for pulp and paper to do that.

European Biotechnology
How exactly do you do that?
Heikkilä
Let me give you an example. We were requested to come up with a laccase that could survive a pH of 10 to 11, or even be at an optimum in this range, so that it could be used in Kraft pulping to help the bleachability and de­lignification of that process. The company that requested this hardly thought it was possible, but we agreed to give it a try. And five months later, we had that molecule industrially produced. And while it was requested by a single company, it now benefits the entire industry.

European Biotechnology
What role does the consumer play? Can bio-based products only succeed if there is a demand for environmentally friendly alternatives?
Heikkilä
Not at all! The funny thing is: the Polyethylene Furanoate, or PEF for short, is not actually biodegradable. But it is a better alternative to PET. It is a better packaging material; it has better barrier properties than oil-based alternatives; it makes the beverage have a better shelf-life – the oxygen stays out and the carbonation stays in. So in a first step, it might not replace PET-bottles, but it is replacing aluminium cans and glass bottles. Because it has the same superior properties as those. Later, it will overtake the other plastic packaging. So the green alternative is actually better than we can get out of oil. And that’s the thing: For a bio-based alternative to succeed, it has to be as good as the petrol-based product but cheaper, or the same price but better.

European Biotechnology
So what is needed for the bioeconomy to come out on top?
Heikkilä
What is needed for that to happen is us in Europe starting to put down money and investment on piloting and market demonstration of technologies. We use a lot of resources and money on research, but then we fail to finance the commercialisation of those technologies. The same is not true of the Chinese or the Americans. We use roughly 90 percent of our resources on research and the remaining ten on development. The same numbers in the US are roughly fifty-fifty, and in China, they use more money on the development and scale-up and commercialisation of things than research. So, what happens in a globalised world is that we use taxpayer money here in Europe to create good products, and then we end up selling them to other continents. My second point is the brain leak if you will. We have to make sure we have incentives for experts globally to come to Europe and help us solve these value chain-wide challenges I mentioned. Europe cannot be the place where we start building walls. Every expert that we get, no matter from what country, will create more work around themselves. So we should not be afraid of losing our jobs if foreign experts come over. Rather, we should be giving them incentives to come. Right now, people are moving away from Finland, and from Europe, to other places where there are more incentives for the brightest and the best of us to succeed. We really need them here.

Matti Heikkilä is Chief Technology Officer of Finnish bioeconomy company MetGen Oy, which develops enzymatic solutions for processing lignocellulosic biomass. Last year, MetGen won the John Sime Award for Most Innovative New Technology at the European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology and the Bioeconomy (EFIB). Heikkilä has more than a decade of experience in European industrial biotechnology.

Finnish MetGen wins the John Sime Award for biotechnology

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Finnish enzyme producer MetGen won the John Sime Award for Most Innovative New Technology at the European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology and the Bioeconomy (EFIB). Along with several other enterprises in its industry, MetGen – already a leading Finnish bioeconomy company – is now pursuing strong international growth.

MetGen, which produces customised industrial enzymes particularly for the processes of the pulp and paper industry, has won the John Sime Award for Most Innovative New Technology at the European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology and the Bioeconomy (EFIB). The winner was selected by the Forum’s participants, comprised of biotechnology professionals, investors and decision-makers, among others.

“Small companies like us in the biotechnology sector do accept even great challenges and, thereby, risks, in their quest to change the world. We are also taking the industrial sector in a more sustainable direction and pointing the way for large-scale operators. It is important for us to be open to cooperation and find skillful partners. Our open-minded approach and our team’s consummate competence appealed to the Forum’s audience, and we are genuinely flattered by the award. I believe that the award will help us to find partners,” says MetGen’s Chief Technology Officer Matti Heikkilä.

The enzymes tailored by MetGen speed up processes in the pulp and paper industry, generating considerable savings in energy and raw materials. According to Heikkilä, the company is now aiming at strong international growth.

“We have just launched sales in our main market and will now aim to scale this into larger growth. Finpro’s help and knowledge on networking and entering new export markets has been very important for us. Finland possesses a vast amount of first-rate biotechnology know-how, but no-one is going to come over here and carry us away. Rather, we have to be bold, enter the international arena together and make ourselves known,” says Heikkilä.

Opening up the bottlenecks in the growth of bioeconomy companies

Thanks to large-scale operators in the pulp and paper industry, the bioeconomy has a long tradition in Finland. New technologies and increasingly strict regulations have opened up plenty of new bioeconomy opportunities, which are being seized particularly eagerly by innovative small and medium-sized enterprises. Pia Qvintus, who heads Finpro’s Innovative Bioproducts Growth Program as a Program Manager, is indeed of the opinion that Finland also has a number of other small companies that represent innovative, first-rate competence and now find themselves in a similar situation to MetGen.

“Companies in the bioeconomy industry have developed new ways to create value-added products as well as energy and resource-efficient processes and technologies for their customers. These companies are in a growth phase and share challenges involving the start-up of production, for example, as well as financing and international growth. The companies’ own resources are largely tied up in product development and production, due to which they are not necessarily able to build international partnerships and sales on their own in several markets in the long term. Finpro’s programme aims to help companies overcome such challenges and to introduce new solutions created by the Finnish bioeconomy abroad,” outlines Pia Qvintus.

Finpro’s Innovative Bioproducts Growth Program includes 17 other companies in addition to MetGen. One of these is Paptic, which has developed a recyclable, bio-based and biodegradable, wood fibre-based material. The first commercial application of this material involves a replacement for plastic bags. Demand for Paptic’s product has increased as a result of the bans and restrictions on plastic bags that are becoming increasingly widespread in various countries.

For further information, please contact:
Pia Qvintus, Program Manager for the Innovative Bioproducts Growth Program, Finpro +358 50 563 4129, pia.qvintus@finpro.fi

Matti Heikkilä, Chief Technology Officer, MetGen Oy, +358403540701, matti@metgen.com

Hetta Huittinen, Communications Manager, Finpro, +358 40 033 9597, hetta.huittinen@finpro.fi

Finpro helps Finnish SMEs go international, encourages foreign direct investment in Finland and promotes tourism. Finpro comprises Export Finland, Visit Finland and Invest in Finland. Finpro is a public sector operator with 240 experts serving in 37 export centres in 31 countries and 6 regional offices in Finland. www.finpro.fi
Finpro – Growth for Finland

As a partner of Team Finland, Finpro manages nearly 40 significant growth programmes, such as Cleantech Finland, Food from Finland and FinlandCare. These growth programmes allow Team Finland to help hundreds of Finnish companies go international and attract foreign investments in Finland. www.teamfinland.fi

 

3Fbio and MetGen revealed as Bio-based Winners at #EFIB2016, Glasgow, Scotland, UK

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3F Bio and MetGen were both acknowledged by their peers as Industrial Biotech leaders at this year’s European Forum on Industrial Biotechnology and the Bioeconomy, #EFIB2016.

3F Bio, a technology spin-out company from University of Strathclyde, was voted strongest proposal for funding by a panel of venture capitalists, including BASF VC, S’InvesTec LLC, Sofinnova Partners, Emerald Technology Ventures and Capricorn Venture Partners, at EFIB’s first ever ‘pitchfest’.   3FBio won the pitch for their potential to transform the production economics of mycoprotein (commonly known by the brand name Quorn™) through integrated production within existing large scale biorefineries.  Their process delivers both conversion cost efficiencies through a zero-waste process alongside the current production of bioethanol and high protein livestock feed, and unlocks capital efficiency by simplifying fermentation technology.  Commenting on the win, CEO Jim Laird said: “3f’s innovative approach for zero waste integrated fermentation provides a strong solution to the challenge of meeting the protein requirements for an ever growing global population.  This area is receiving global market interest, and with an aim to halve the conversion cost of mycoprotein, 3f’s approach provides a global food solution with exception sustainability benefits, demonstrating the merits of industrial biotech.  We are delighted to have participated in pitchfest, excited by the range of interest and quality of new contacts from EFIB, and enthused by the reaction from both potential investors and partners.”)

MetGen received the coveted John Sime Award for best innovation presentation for their progress in designing enzymatic processes to unlocking the potential of wood and forestry residues as a future feedstocks for bio-based products.  CEO Alex Michine, who was presented with his Award by Roger Kilburn, CEO of IBioIC and Joanna Dupont-Inglis, Director of Industrial Biotech at EuropaBio said ‘We believe it is a necessity for industries move towards renewable feed stocks. It is a massive change that will create an enormous new market, in which the existing supply-chains of renewable feed stock – such as pulp and paper industry – will have a lot of common interests with chemical, energy, and other manufacturing industries. MetGen addresses challenges in all of these areas while maintaining a laser-focus on technical side. Companies like ours are needed function as the catalyst of this change. Apart from our capabilities in enabling new and better end-products, I think it was this message that resonated with the audience. We like to collaborate in order to have impact on larger scale of things, and this award is an excellent reminder that there are plenty of potential partners who are well motivated to work towards the same objectives. We find this encouraging and it motivates us to keep the pace.’

EuropaBio’s Industrial Biotech Council Chair and Managing Board Member of Royal DSM concluded, ‘EFIB is now well known as the ‘must attend’ EU event showcasing cutting edge innovation in industrial biotechnology.  Companies like 3FBio and MetGen are working hard towards providing renewable, bio-based solutions to the challenges of feeding, fuelling and providing materials for a growing population, tackling climate change and using resources more efficiently.  We are proud to honour them with these awards in recognition of the societal, environmental and economic benefits that they will bring for people and for the environment.

Brussels 28 October 2016 

 

Media contact

Cosmin Popa, EuropaBio Communications and National Associations Manager

Email: c.popa@europabio.org / Telephone: +32 2 739 11 73 / Mobile: +32 499 906 129

 

About EuropaBio

EuropaBio, the European Association for Bioindustries, promotes an innovative and dynamic European biotechnology industry. EuropaBio and its members are committed to the socially responsible use of biotechnology to improve quality of life, to prevent, diagnose, treat and cure diseases, to improve the quality and quantity of food and feedstuffs and to move towards a bio-based and zero-waste economy. EuropaBio represents 77 corporate and associate members and bio regions, and 16 national biotechnology associations in turn representing over 1800 biotech SMEs.

Read more about our work at www.europabio.org.

 

About EFIB’s John Sime Award

Each year EFIB dedicates an award to John Sime who played a pivotal role in the early development of the congress and to recognise his commitment both to the event and to the bioeconomy.  John Sime’s own background as an R&D director for an SME ensured he was a keen advocate of new science and technology. To reflect this, an award is presented in his memory for the most innovative idea responding to societal and environmental challenges

Kaarinalainen MetGen voitti bioteknologian John Sime -palkinnon

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Finpron johtaman Innovatiiviset biotuotteet –kasvuohjelman jäsen MetGen on voittanut bioteknologian ja biotalouden EFIB-konferenssissa John Sime -palkinnon innovatiivisimmasta teknologiasta. Suomalaisten biotalousyritysten kärkeen kuuluva MetGen hakee useiden muiden alan yritysten tavoin voimakasta kansainvälistä kasvua.

Räätälöityjä teollisia entsyymejä erityisesti puu- ja paperiteollisuuden prosesseihin valmistava MetGen on voittanut eurooppalaisessa bioteknologian ja biotalouden EFIB-konferenssissa innovatiivisimmasta teknologiasta myönnettävän John Sime -palkinnon. Palkinnon valitsivat konferenssin osallistujat, jotka koostuvat muun muassa bioteknologian ammattilaisista, sijoittajista ja päättäjistä.

  • Bioteknologian alalla kaltaisemme pienet yritykset ottavat vastaan suuriakin haasteita ja sitä kautta riskejä, ja pyrkivät näin muuttamaan maailmaa. Myös me muutamme teollisuutta kestävämpään suuntaan ja näytämme suuntaa suurille toimijoille. Meille on tärkeää olla avoimia yhteistyölle ja löytää osaavia kumppaneita. Avoin asenteemme ja tiimimme piinkova osaaminen vetosi konferenssissa yleisöön ja olemme todella otettuja palkinnosta-. Uskon, että palkinto auttaa meitä edelleen kumppaneiden etsinnässä, sanoo MetGenin Chief Technology Officer Matti Heikkilä.

MetGenin räätälöimien entsyymien avulla puu- ja paperiteollisuuden prosessit nopeutuvat, josta syntyy merkittäviä säästöjä energiassa ja raaka-aineissa. Heikkilän mukaan yritys tähtää nyt kovaan kansainväliseen kasvuun.

  • Olemme juuri saaneet päämarkkinamme eli puu- ja paperiteollisuuden myynnin käyntiin ja nyt pyrimme skaalaamaan tätä laajemmaksi kasvuksi. Meille on ollut tärkeää Finpron apu ja osaaminen uusien vientimarkkinoiden avaamisessa ja verkostoitumisessa. Suomessa on valtavasti korkealaatuista bioteknologian osaamista, mutta kukaan ei tule meitä täältä hakemaan, vaan meidän täytyy yhdessä mennä rohkeasti kansainvälisille areenoille ja tehdä itsemme tunnetuksi, Heikkilä sanoo.

Finpron biotalouden toimialajohtaja Risto Huhta-Koivisto näkee panostukset innovatiivisten biotuoteyritysten kansainvälistymiseen merkittävänä mahdollisuutena koko Suomelle.

  • Biotalouden merkitys on Suomelle suuri ja toimiala tulee kasvamaan voimakkaasti myös tulevaisuudessa. Tällä hetkellä biotalous vastaa 29% Suomen BKT:sta. Suomi on laatinut kansallisen biotalousstrategian, jossa toimialalle on asetettu kunnianhimoiset tavoitteet. Jotta Suomi saavuttaa asettamansa tavoitteet, kannattaa arvoketjun alkupään ohella satsata nykyistä voimakkaammin myös korkean jalostusasteen tuotteisiin ja palveluihin. Huippuosaamiseen perustuva liiketoiminta luo vahvan talouskehityksen pohjan. Innovatiiviset biotuotteet kasvuohjelman yrityksillä on potentiaalia yli 100 M€ liikevaihtoon 3-5 vuodessa. Investointien toteutuessa työllistämisvaikutus on huomattava. On hyvin mahdollista, että muutamasta kasvuohjelman yrityksestä tulee globaalin luokan menestystarinoita, vahvistaa Huhta-Koivisto.


Biotalosyritysten kasvun pullonkauloja avataan

Biotaloudella on Suomessa suurten puu- ja paperitoimijoiden kautta pitkät perinteet. Uusien teknologioiden ja kiristyvän sääntelyn myötä biotaloudessa on avautunut paljon uusia mahdollisuuksia, joihin varsinkin innovatiiviset pk-yritykset ovat tarttuneet. Finpron Innovatiiviset biotuotteet -kasvuohjelman ohjelmapäällikkö Pia Qvintus näkeekin, että MetGenin kanssa vastaavassa tilanteessa olevia pieniä, innovatiivista huippuosaamista edustavia yrityksiä on Suomessa useita muitakin.

  • Biotalousalan yritykset ovat kehittäneet uusia tapoja luoda lisäarvoisia tuotteita sekä energia- ja resurssitehokkaita prosesseja tai teknologioita asiakkaille. Yritykset ovat kasvuvaiheessa ja niitä yhdistävät haasteet esimerkiksi tuotannon käynnistämisessä, rahoituksessa ja kansainvälisessä kasvussa. Yritysten omat resurssit on sidottu pitkälti tuotekehitykseen ja tuotantoon, eikä kansainvälisiä kumppanuuksia ja myyntiä välttämättä pystytä rakentamaan omin voimin pitkäjänteisesti useilla markkinoilla. Ohjelman tavoitteena on auttaa näissä haasteissa ja viedä suomalaisen biotalouden uusia ratkaisuja ulkomaille, kertoo Innovatiiviset biotuotteet -ohjelmapäällikkö Pia Qvintus.

Finpron Innovatiiviset biotuotteet -ohjelma auttaa suomalaisia biotalousalan yrityksiä löytämään uusia, kasvavia markkinoita erityisesti maista, joissa on oma biotalousstrategia, kuten Pohjoismaista, saksankielisestä Euroopasta, Ranskasta, Belgiasta ja muutamasta Aasian maasta. MetGenin lisäksi ohjelmassa on mukana 17 yritystä, muun muassa Paptic, joka on kehittänyt kierrätettävän, biopohjaisen ja -hajoavan sekä puukuitupohjaisen materiaalin. Tämän materiaalin ensimmäisenä kaupallisena sovelluksena on muovikassien korvaaminen. Papticin tuotteen kysyntää siivittävät jatkuvasti eri maissa yleistyvät muovikassikiellot ja -rajoitukset.

Innovatiiviset biotuotteet -ohjelma on Finpron johtama ja työ- ja elinkeinoministeriön rahoittama. Biotuotteet kuuluvat hallituksen kärkihankkeisiin.

Lisätietoja

Risto Huhta-Koivisto, toimialajohtaja, biotalous, Finpro, +358 40 343 3347, risto.huhta-koivisto@finpro.fi

Matti Heikkilä, Chief Technology Officer, MetGen Oy, +358403540701, matti@metgen.com

Pia Qvintus, Finpro, Innovatiiviset biotuotteet -ohjelmapäällikkö, Finpro +358 50 563 4129, pia.qvintus@finpro.fi

Hetta Huittinen, viestintäpäällikkö, Finpro, p. 040 033 9597, hetta.huittinen@finpro.fi

Finpro auttaa suomalaisia pk-yrityksiä kansainvälistymään, hankkii Suomeen lisää ulkomaisia investointeja ja kasvattaa ulkomaisten matkailijoiden virtaa Suomeen. Finpron muodostavat Export Finland, Visit Finland ja Invest in Finland. Finpro on julkinen toimija, jonka 240 asiantuntijaa toimii 37 vientikeskuksessa 31 maassa ja 6 aluetoimistossa Suomessa. www.finpro.fi
Finpro – kasvua Suomeen

Team Finland -kumppanina Finpro hallinnoi lähes 40 merkittävää kasvuohjelmaa, kuten puhtaan teknologian Cleantech Finland, Food from Finland ja FinlandCare. Kasvuohjelmilla Team Finland auttaa satoja suomalaisyrityksiä kansainvälisille markkinoille ja houkuttelee investointeja maailmalta Suomeen. www.teamfinland.fi

BIOrescue – Press Release on New EU Project

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BIOrescue: Valorising mushroom compost to create innovative bio-based products

Pamplona, 29 September 2016 – Creating added value products from mushroom compost is the objective of the BIOrescue project which has been successfully launched today.

Mushroom production generates five million tonnes of compost each year in the European Union. This compost is currently landfilled or used for landscaping purposes even though it contains valuable organic components. In view of transforming this compost into a new income stream for mushroom producers, the BIOrescue project will develop innovative conversion processes to create bio-based products from mushroom compost.

“The technology development inherent in BIOrescue will offer great opportunities to create value from by-products from mushroom processing. This will generate significant incomes for the sector while supporting the move towards a circular economy” says Philippe Mengal, Executive Director of the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking in Brussels.

The project will bring together a multidisciplinary team of eleven partners comprising one large company, several SMEs, as well as two universities and two research institutions. Together, the project partners will develop a new biorefinery process that will allow the conversion of mushroom compost into innovative bio-based products such as bio-pesticides, bio-degradable nanocarriers for drug or fertilizer encapsulation and bio-based horticultural fertilizers.

By delivering innovative solutions to increase the efficiency of biomass conversion and reduce water and energy consumption, the experts involved in the project will ensure the sustainability of the novel process. To strengthen the competitiveness of the newly developed bioproducts in relation to their fossil-fuel based alternatives, project partners will assess the economic and environmental impact of the whole process.


BIOrescue is coordinated by CENER (Spanish National Renewable Energy Centre) and will be run in cooperation with 10 European partners: Monaghan Mushrooms Ireland, Universita degli studi di Napoli Frederico II, MetGen Oy, Clea Technologies, Zabala Innovation Consulting, Max-Plank Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften, Celignis Ltd., Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine, C-Tech Innovation and Greenovate! Europe. This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 720708.

Press and media enquiries can be directed to benedicte.julliard@greenovate.eu +32 (0)2 00 10 07.

Näyttökuva 2016-10-12 kello 14.45.21

Bioforever Press Release | Demonstration project for the conversion of woody biomass to value adding chemical building blocks

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By a consortium of 14 European companies using EU funding under the Horizon 2020 program

Brussels, September 1st   BIOFOREVER (BIO-based products from FORestry via Economically Viable European Routes) – a consortium of 14 European companies – today announced the start of a demonstration project for the conversion of woody biomass to value adding chemical building blocks.

In December 2015 the consortium applied for European funding under the Horizon 2020 program and in April 2016 the proposal was positively evaluated by Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), a public/private partnership between the European Union and the Bio Based Industry.

BIOFOREVER intends to demonstrate the feasibility of various new value chains from lignocellulosic feedstocks to chemical building blocks like butanol, ethanol, 2, 5 – furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) on an industrial scale.

Matti Heikkilä, Chief Technical Officer, MetGen Oy:

“MetGen has always been enthusiastic about building new industrial value-chains through collaboration. We are certain that it is already possible to be competitive against petroleum-based chemicals and the food-based sugars utilizing existing technologies – more than that, we can make better products than is possible through conventional processes. To be successful in such a task requires connecting the capabilities and expertise of several companies and research organizations to create complementary and complete processes. BIOFOREVER brings together the most potential technologies in Europe and unifies professionals behind them to tackle an ambitious goal of enabling next generation bio-refining industry.”    

A number of pre-treatment and subsequent conversion technologies will be demonstrated, including delivering commercialisation routes for the most promising value chains.

Nadège Laborde, president of Novasep’s Industrial Biotech Business Unit:

BIOFOREVER is supporting the development of a sustainable economy and is part of the European 2020 Strategy. This industrial project must demonstrate we can reach economically viable production of bio-sourced products from a range of woody biomass. Novasep is thrilled to be part of this ambitious project, which is poised to succeed.”

The demonstration project starts in September 2016 and will run for 3 years. The overall budget is € 16.2 million with a € 9.9 million contribution from BBI JU. Woody biomass, including waste wood will be converted to lignin, (nano-) cellulose and (hemi-) cellulosic sugars, and further converted to lignin derivatives and chemicals like butanol, ethanol and FDCA on industrial scale, where feedstocks will be benchmarked with crop residues and energy crops.

Typically, such bio-refineries will be projected in logistic hubs such as the Port of Rotterdam and other European ports.

Tim Davies, Chief Technical Officer, Green Biologics Ltd.:

“Green Biologics relishes the opportunity to work towards the aims of BIOFOREVER, which, through combining a strong consortium of industrial biotechnology, chemical and manufacturing companies and the best available technologies, will drive toward the commercialisation of renewable technology and the development of a world leading bio-refining industry.”

This demonstration project will provide ample space for commercialisation of industrial scale bio-refineries serving new value chains.

BIOFOREVER consortium partners:

·      API Europe, Greece

·      Avantium Chemicals BV, Netherlands

·      Bioprocess Pilot Facility BV, Netherlands

·      Borregaard AS, Norway

·      Bio Refinery Development BV, Netherlands

·      DSM, Netherlands

·      Elkem Carbon AS, Norway

 

·      Green Biologics Ltd, UK

·      MetGen Oy, Finland

·      Nova Institute, Germany

·      Novasep Process SAS, France

·      Phytowelt, Green Technologies GmbH, Germany

·      Port of Rotterdam, Netherlands

·      SUEZ Groupe, France

 

For further information contact anton.robek@brdbv.com +31620016964 or visit our website www.bioxxxforever.com or BBI JU’s website www.xxxx.com