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Many innovative ideas in final BISC-E

Make the world a bit more sustainable by developing a biobased product or process. With this assignment, the student competition BISC-E started this spring. Several Dutch and Danish student teams set to work. The result: a wide range of innovative ideas: from the extraction of valuable substances from residual flows from the food industry to the cultivation of artificial fertilizer substitutes, the production of self-destructive plastics and the extraction of valuable components from syngas.

BISC-E is a yearly competition for BSc and MSc students. The competition was created by TKI-BBE with the aim of bringing students into contact with the biobased work field. In the competition, each team develops a biobased product or process that is assessed during the final on sustainability and technical and economic feasibility. In the first edition five teams competed against each other.

Valuable substances from carrot residu

The team "More than just a carrot" from the University of Southern Denmark won the first prize (€ 1000) with the devaluation of sidestreams that occur during the processing of carrots. With a well-executed process, they want to produce antioxidants and nutritional supplements.

Capture nitrogen with Azolla

The second prize (€ 500) went to Utrecht University. The student team "Velvet" wants to grow the duckweed plant Azolla. Azolla captures nitrogen from the air and can offer an alternative to fertilizer or can serve as animal feed and thus replace soy. Because the current production method of nitrogen for artificial fertilizer is a very efficient process, the jury doubted whether an interesting business case could be made for the production of Azolla. However, they see opportunities to extract valuable proteins from the plant.

Pectin from citrus peel

The second Danish team of the University of Southern Denmark had developed a process that processes citrus peels into four valuable components, including D-lime oil and pectin. In order to make the process financially feasible, the team focused mainly on extracting pectin. The jury thought this was a sensible choice, partly because the production of D-limonene oil required so many demands that the higher kilo price of the oil would be offset by the production costs. Team won the third prize (€ 250).

Self-destructive plastic

The Maastricht student team came up with a surprising idea: why don't we build an enzyme in plastic that breaks down the plastic after use. This will put an end to plastic litter. Although the idea is good, the jury expects it to be difficult to justify the extra price in a good business case. However, the students are confident and will continue to develop their idea after the competition. Final presentation team Maastricht

Bacterial production of flavonoid

Having an African bacterium produce a flavonoid on syngas was the idea of the student team at Wageningen University. The flavonoid can be used in the pharmacy, the food industry and in the chemical industry. Although the idea is innovative and yields high-quality components, the yield calculations seemed too rosy. Here too, the team continued to believe in the idea and continue to develop the idea.

Enthusiasm important

The jury, led by Kees de Gooijer (TKI-BBE), was enthusiastic about the innovativeness of the ideas and the enthusiasm of the teams. De Gooijer: "All teams showed that they were able to combine creativity with technological insight. That there is not always a solid business case, is actually of less importance. In the end, the numbers must be correct, but you will not get anywhere without enthusiasm". In addition to De Gooijer, Luuk van der Wielen (Distinguished Professor for Biobased Economy, Delft University of Technology), Ed de Jong (Vice President of Development Avantium), Gadi Rothenberg (Chairholder Heterogeneous Catalysis & Sustainable Chemistry University of Amsterdam) and Freek Smedema (Senior Consultant Biobased Economy RVO.nl) were members of the jury.