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The development of a thriving bio-economy is central in achieving a resource-efficient and sustainable economy, as well as a way of responding to increasing populations, depleting natural resources and global warming. One of the main challenges in the bio-economy innovation chain in Europe today is the step from technology creation in the lab to industrial deployment, which in most cases require access to pilot- and demo plants. These plants are, however, expensive industrial installations that most companies do not have a direct access to.
Pilots4U, the platform of open access pilot- and multipurpose demo-infrastructures is open to all companies and research institutes. Pilots4U creates a wide view of the availability, type of facility and equipment modules these infrastructures offer and helps actors to easy localise relevant facilities. So Pilots4U provides solutions that will support the faster and cheaper development of innovations into products.
Pilots4U aims to address this problem by grouping all European open access bio-economy pilot- and multipurpose demo facilities under one, very visible and easily accessible network
Initially in the network was built on six existing bio-economy pilot or multipurpose demo-infrastructure networks: Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant (SmartPilots), VTT (ERIFORE), Royal Institute of Technology KTH (BRISK2), Swansea University (Enalgae), Ghent University (Biorefine Cluster Europe) and NNFCC (as secretary of the BioPilotsUK initiative). The cluster organisation CLIC Innovation represented industry that contributed in cash to the project. The European Regions Research and Innovation Network with 125 member regions will attract interested European stakeholders (infrastructure owners and users) to get involved in the project, and NNFCC, the bio-economy consultant, is a professional, independent consultant who will lead the study.
Pilots4U Database maps all existing open access pilot and demo-infrastructures across Europe, creating one, very visible and easily accessible network for the European bio-economy. This is designed to help companies and research institutions operating in the bio-economy sector to gain easier access to testing facilities, in order to bring their ideas from development to market. To assure that the network meets the needs of the European bio-economy industry (SMEs, start-ups, Large enterprises), current European pilot and demo-capabilities are compared with the needs of the European bio-based industry. Business cases of investments in additional equipment, facilities or capabilities are evaluated, and steps are taken to attract financing. Different cooperation schemes for the open access pilot- and demo-network are considered.