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European SMEs pilot their innovative green technologies at the Biorenewables Development Centre

European SMEs pilot their innovative green technologies at the Biorenewables Development Centre

The Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) has provided two innovative European SMEs with access to its unique scale-up facilities and industrial biotechnology expertise through the KET4Clean Production project.

The Horizon 2020-funded KET4CleanProduction (KET4CP) project funds game-changing, market-creating innovations that support the growth of European bioeconomy. The project has awarded two SMEs funding to work with the BDC and other European technology centres to solve clean production challenges and de-risk commercialisation of biobased products and processes. Bluegene Technologies (UK) and ekolive s.r.o (Slovakia) were awarded 50,000 Euros each to work on research projects for a cleaner, greener and more efficient production in collaboration with: the BDC (UK), RISE (Sweden) and Bay Zoltán (Hungary).

Bluegene Technologies is a biotechnology start-up developing microbial strains and technologies for bioconversions of low-cost starting compounds to high-value chemicals and dyes. Bluegene pioneered a microbial process for production of the industrial bioindigo dye that avoids the use of petrochemicals and solvents, reduces energy usage, and prevents the formation of toxic side-products. The company has now developed a range of bio-produced dyes that represent sustainable, green, and much needed alternatives for the textile and cosmetics industries. Industrial scale production requires early-stage support for fermentation efficiency, scale-up studies and product testing. The BDC has partnered with Swedish research institute RISE to support the initial fermentation and scale-up of production of Bluegene’s latest dyes to enable testing by a multinational client.

Director of Bluegene Technologies, Dr Stan Theophilou said:

The studies funded by the KET4CP will bring our product closer to commercialisation and inform the design of a pilot-scale production process. The scale-up and supply of these materials to our industry partners and other stakeholders is essential for gaining industrial validation and becoming part of their supply chains.

ekolive s.r.o is a Slovakian start-up supported by the EIT RawMaterials that focuses on extracting and refining minerals and metals from primary and secondary raw materials using a new ecological way of industrial biotechnology process called bioleaching. The technology has already been tested on industrial sites in Slovenia and Slovakia and succeeded in providing a local source of high-quality raw materials for industrial application. The BDC and Bay Zoltán will optimise this technology and investigate the valorisation of by-products for use as biofertilizer or as an alternative to pesticides.

Dr Darina Štyriaková, the CEO of ekolive s.r.o, said:

This is a big opportunity for ekolive to test our by-products from the bioleaching process as a potential replacement for hazardous pesticides. We aim to evaluate its positive effect on plants in this cooperation with the BDC and to optimize the process with Bay Zoltán. Thanks to the KET4CP project and resulting collaboration we can proceed in delivering organic alternatives to the farmers for safe food production

Dr Joe Ross, Director at the Biorenewables Development Centre added:

"We are happy to be part of KET4CP project. It has given us a fantastic opportunity to make our expertise and facilities available to innovative SMEs across Europe. It has also brought us valuable partnerships with other European Technology Organisations and supported the development of sustainable new technologies."

The BDC receives funding from Research England and the European Regional Development Fund.

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Notes to editors:

About KET4Clean Production (KET4CP)

KET4CP project (CSA No 777441) is funded under H2020-INNOSUP-03-07-08-2017 Technology services to accelerate the uptake of advanced manufacturing technologies for clean production by manufacturing SMEs. The project goal is Pan-European access for manufacturing SME on technology services for clean production through a network of premier KET Technology Centres with one-stop-shop access incl. Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) and discourse with policy makers on regional innovation strategy (RIS3).

About the Biorenewables Development Centre

The Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) is an open-access R&D centre, based at the University of York, working at the interface between academia and industry to convert plants, microbes and biowastes into profitable biorenewable products. Their ambitious vision is to support the widespread use of biorenewables across the world, and they have already helped over 300 business explore bio-based opportunities by providing technical data and specialist advice. The BDC is part-funded by the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 The York, North Yorkshire and East Riding (YNYER) LEP awarded a grant of £1M to the BDC as part of the Local Growth Fund (LGF) support which funded the equipment used to carry out this project. For more information visit:

About RISE

RISE is Sweden’s research institute and innovation partner. In international collaboration with companies, academia and the public sector, we contribute to a competitive business life and a sustainable society. Our 2,800 employees drive and support all types of innovation processes. RISE is an independent, state-of-the-art research institute that offers unique expertise and around 100 test and demonstration environments for future-proof technologies, products and services.

About Bay Zoltán

Bay Zoltán Nonprofit Ltd. for Applied Research (BZN) is Hungary’s largest public institution for applied research. Its mission is to support the development of sustainable competitive advantage for Hungarian companies through innovation services and technology transfer, in close cooperation with the private sector. The Institute’s foremost objective is to provide state of the art solutions to its national and international partners.


Anna Alessi, tel: +44 1904 8052, email: