Many commodity products such as medical products, cosmetics and plastics are presently derived from non-sustainable resources. The green shift engaged by a concert of nations towards a bio-based economy seeks greener energy, but also substitution of petroleum-based products by sustainable products based on renewable resources. Bacteria and other microbes can use waste, industrial side-streams and byproducts and convert them to commercially attractive proteins, fatty acids, polymers, enzymes and other chemicals using a fermentation process. Using bacteria to produce commercially relevant volumes of these high value compounds is a key pillar of a greener society. However, going from production of small quantities in research laboratories to large-scale, commercial business is a challenging task. The scale-up stage is crucial to research, development and innovation before introducing new products to the market.
The Norwegian National Bioprocessing & Fermentation Centre (NBioC) based in the Stavanger region, Norway, will become a new national hub and state of the art facility to develop, optimise and scale up these fermentation processes, for the use of a wide range of feedstocks including gas sources such as CO2, H2 and methane. In Phase 1, a unique research infrastructure and network will be established. The project is led by NORCE and is a collaboration between leading Norwegian institutes (NORCE, Sintef, NiBiO and Nofima) and Universities (Tromsø, Bergen and Stavanger), with the support from research and industrial stakeholders. It will be an open access Research and Development infrastructure and network, to efficiently support implementing Norway?s national strategy in the bio-economy area.
NBioC Phase 1 will establish the Norwegian National Bioprocessing & Fermentation Centre (NBioC): a unique national Research infrastructure and network for fermentation processes and scaling up. The project is led by NORCE and is a collaboration between leading Norwegian institutes (NORCE, SINTEF, NIBIO and Nofima) and Universities (Tromsø, Bergen and Stavanger), with the support from research and industrial stakeholders.
The potential of microorganisms to produce high-value products and biomass is tremendous. In this context, scaling up of fermentation processes is a crucial field of research, development and innovation (RDI) that requires access to a state-of-the-art infrastructure for conducting R&D from laboratory to pilot-scale. NBioC is a national partnership providing an integrated RDI environment on fermentation, linking up existing infrastructures and competence, on biomass treatment, enzyme discovery and biogas production. NBioC will support R&D on (1) sugar-based fermentation using low value biomass and nutrients from side streams as feedstock, and (2) gas-based fermentation using C1 gas from natural gas and biogas sources (CO2, CH4), as a source of carbon for the production of biomass or biochemicals. NBioC is a key-enabler for the emerging bioeconomic value-chain on bioprocessing and fermentation, ranging from basic research (TRL1) to pilot-scale demonstration (TRL5), hence supporting a fast-track to innovation. The infrastructures will enable the development, optimization, scaling-up and piloting for the production of enzymes, protein and/or fatty acids rich biomass, and a wide array of platform chemicals. Such an open access pilot plant would be a first of its kind in Norway and is required to prepare for industrial scale processes.
NBioC-Phase-1 will establish the core facilities of the infrastructure at the partner institutes with a strong focus on the Core Unit at Risavika, Stavanger, Norway.