The waste issue and the depletion of raw materials are issues we cannot ignore. Under the motto 'prevention is better than cure', biomaterials can be part of the solution: they are biodegradable and renewable.
However, these materials are still in the ascendant and could use a strong push. That is exactly why ReaGent, Ekoli, GLIMPS and Break it Down started the project BioFab Flanders.
With BioFab Flanders we want to develop the whole ecosystem around biofabrication, production using biological materials and additives, in Flanders. In order to achieve this, we are focusing on five points:
Partners Ekoli, Magma Nova, Break it Down
Biobased production is still very new and difficult to scale up at the moment. In order to link up with existing initiatives that aim to accelerate the transition to a bio-based future, in the coming years we will mainly focus on making the connection with circular bio-economy. By offering services on the valorisation of residual flows, to which, among other things, biofabrication technology can be applied, we want to introduce this innovative technology in Flanders.
In addition, we want to continue to focus on education. Among other things, to further spread knowledge on biofabrication, but also to provide guidance on impact entrepreneurship. In order to build up a future industry in Flanders around biofabrication, we want to help researchers active in this field translate their research into an industry, for example by helping them with the business side of their research.
A threshold that still needs to be worked on is intellectual property. The patent landscape is not very transparent. That closed mindset works against innovation and is even counterproductive for the ecosystem. That is why open innovation seems to us to be the future, at least in the innovation phase. Later, in the commercialisation phase, companies can still opt for a more closed approach.
Finally, applications in biofabrication remain relatively unknown and exotic to humans. Where some people find it an added value that a product is made from mycomaterial, others will sometimes experience it as something negative. It remains a challenge to find the right product market fit for this technology.