Flying with jet fuel from used cooking oil? Using a water biofiltration system based on microbial electrochemistry technology to degrade organic waste and pollutants? Identifying new enzymes and bioactive compounds in extreme marine environments and using them in various industries like pharmaceuticals or food and agricultural feed products? These are the three top-ranked EU biotech initiatives recently announced by the EU-funded KETBIO project that aims to identify Europe’s most innovative biotechnology research results and accelerate their market uptake. As explained in a press release, the winning projects were announced at KETBIO’s Booster Conference on 17 June, with over 100 participants attending the online event. “The winners, who were ranked by industry experts as the TOP TEN EU BIOTECH, have been selected by an additional vote of cluster members as the TOP THREE.” Overall, over 300 projects were screened, 79 analysed in depth, and 10 elected by KETBIO’s experts and commercial committee. FlexJET was awarded the most innovative EU biotech project, reflecting its contribution to advancements in the sustainable aviation fuels sector. “flexJET works with used cooking oils for the kerosene refining to a jet fuel that is fully circular and that is set to support the decarbonization of the aviation sector. First full-scale demo plants have been set up,” as noted in the same press release.
Top three projects
According to KETBIO’s flagship booklet, the FlexJET plant will generate “1,200 tonnes of sustainable aviation fuel per year from food waste vegetable oil with dried organic waste used for the production of hydrogen utilized in the process. In total more than 4,000 tonnes of waste will be taken out of the environment. A subsequent scale-up first commercial plant is planned to be constructed immediately after the project completion to produce 25,000 tonnes per year of sustainable aviation fuel.” The iMETland project came in second with, as the press release notes, its “decentralised wetland system based on microbial electro chemistry technology. A start-up has been established to license and to support the market launch.” The KETBIO flagship booklet notes that iMETland “has validated a full-scale application of an eco-friendly device to treat urban wastewater at zero-energy operation cost in small communities.” In third place, the INMARE project “has discovered over 900 new enzymes and bioactive compounds in the deep sea that fit to industrial purposes. Four patents have been filed, a cancer drug has been discovered and a start-up has been founded,” according to the press release. The KETBIO flagship booklet explains: “The project has succeeded to screen and discover the functional protein diversity from the sea by providing robust enzymes with valuable properties (‘allrounders’) for industrial use, established innovative screening tools, sequence analysis and expression platforms.” The KETBIO press release states that the top winner will also receive “a coaching package that helps to fullfill the project’s mission of bringing biotech research results faster to the markets.” The KETBIO (KETBIO: A novel cluster model to bring KEY ENABLING BIOTECHNOLOGY research closer to markets and society) project ends in August 2020. It aims “to speed up the process of industrial exploitation and uptake of EU-funded KET [key enabling technology] Biotechnology project results by establishing a novel KET biotechnology cluster and delivering an innovative impact acceleration programme with and for the cluster,” as explained on the project website. For more information, please see: KETBIO project website
KETBIO, biotechnology, FlexJET, iMETland, INMARE