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MFP breathes European Air

MFP Net
15.11.2023

Sowing the seeds of Europe’s bio-based revolution & Europe‘ Green Capital 2023

What could be more fitting for us, embedded in the structural change region of the Rhenish mining area, than ‘Sowing the seeds of Europe’s bio-based revolution’. This exclamation was the title of the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC). Here, I had the pleasure of attending and representing MFP. Supported by the decision of our shareholders, MFP has been an associate member within BIC since June 2023. As a partner of the European Commission, BIC has been making an important contribution to the development of a circular bio-based industry along the value chain for 10 years and thus to a sustainable and competitive future in Europe.

The wide-ranging program with a few retrospectives and much more outlooks into the future was very helpful to get a feeling for the “modus operandi” of BIC, the link to the European Commission and the access to European funding (e.g. CBE JU).
The significant increase in industry members, associate members and scientific institutes and universities within BIC was very impressive. We are happy to bring the perspective of sustainable paper production within BIC and thus help shaping the circular bio-based future and realizing the feedback to the paper industry.
Is that realistic? – YES, because the principle of ‘economy of scale’ seems to be taking hold here and, according to initial estimates, will continue to grow the more partners are on board. More than 10 showcase plants have already been developed, scaled up and transferred to industry on a pilot or industrial scale through EU network work and EU project funding.

I was able to visit Fibenol’s flagship plants in Imavere (Estonia) on site after making contact in Brussels (BIC). The private tour of the biorefinery was not only inspiring in terms of technology, but also the mindset behind it: “Rethink the use of wood” (Fibenol) fits entirely the disruptive mindset “Rethink the process of papermaking” at MFP.

  • Rethink the material use of wood (waste) by converting 90% of the biomass into products (value creation). And as (energy) efficiently as possible through the driver of innovation and the leverage of interdisciplinary cooperation.
  • A showcase that demonstrates for us that scaling up (laboratory, pilot, production) works.
  • Opportunities to test Fibenol products in our research agenda – bio-based & with a minimal ecological footprint.

 

However, the main reason for the trip to Estonia was to take part in the European Cleantech Forum. In Tallinn, Europe’s Green Capital 2023, start-ups, scale-ups, investors, and multinational companies from all over the world were at the start.
The motivation for our participation was to gain concrete impulses, inspiration, and contacts from the innovation & technology sectors to support our R&D and to gain insights into the global cleantech financing environment.
The entire event was very efficiently organized with lots of short pitches, a dedicated app for arranging appointments and plenty of time for networking. Local partners, 100% vegetarian food and short distances completed the holistic approach of the organizer (Cleantech Group). In addition to many new insights, contacts, and ideas, I would like to highlight our top 3 learnings:

  • Company valuation by venture capital investors via Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
  • Workshop/hands-on session on institutional funding instruments (e.g. European Investment Bank) and classification according to Technology Readiness Level (TRL)
  • Presentation of serious mistakes made by startups & entrepreneurs in the eponymous “F$%@ Up Night”. These were not specific, but rather general in nature and therefore gave a broad hint so that we don’t make them at MFP.

 

Author: Dr. Dominic Laaf

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Feel free to contact us if you would like to find out more about Modellfabrik Papier, our tasks and our projects.

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