A key challenge for the bio-economy is to bring newly developed molecules and techniques from the lab to the market. The main bottleneck in the innovation chain is the step from technology development to deployment. This step has to be performed first in a pilot plant and later in a demonstration plant where a production process can be tested and optimized in an industrial production setting. Pilot- and demo-plants are expensive, require specific expertise to run and most SMEs and also a lot of large companies have no direct access to such facilities. As a result, promising innovation processes can grind to a halt.
A solution to this problem are ‘open access pilot- and multipurpose demo-infrastructures’. These are infrastructures that are open to all companies and research institutes, and can thus be seen as shared investments in research infrastructure. However, these infrastructures are not well known in Europe. Potential user communities are often unaware of the nature and type of equipment and facilities available.
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. Pilots4U also wants to assess the current and future needs of the European bio-economy, and take the first steps to invest in equipment modules that are judged essential to catalyse the European bio-economy.
Pilots4U is a project funded by the European Commission. It has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program under Grant Agreement n°745667.