Winners of TU Delft student competition ‘Biorefinery for Sustainable Biofuels & Biochemicals’ announced at World Port Centre in Rotterdam

juli 05, 2016

6 July 2016, Delft – On 1st of July, the finals of the yearly LST MSc Design competition took place at World Port Centre in Rotterdam. Each year the student teams tackle a realistic business case to put science in the context of application. This year 5 student teams from TU Delft designed a biorefinery for sustainable biofuels and biochemicals starting with wood pellets and based on processes with high TRL (Technology Readiness Level). The competition was organized in cooperation with Port of Rotterdam, TU Delft and BE-Basic Foundation. The winning team (Carla Prat Llenas, Robert Stella, Berber Stevens, Ewout Knibbe, Lieke van den Eijnden) started their enthusiastic pitch setting the scene of global warming to emphasize the urgency to act. This team designed a cascading biorefinery producing succinic acid, lactic acid and farnesane from the lignin fraction. All teams faced the reality of high CAPEX and in some cases high OPEX and the winning team especially made a good analyses of how subsidy may be minimized while speeding up the innovation process. The winning team was awarded with a prize of €400.

Chairman of the jury Prof. dr. ir. Luuk van der Wielen (Distinguished prof. BBE TUD and BE-Basic) is content about the results: ‘The teams were all able to solve a complex real time case in less then 8 weeks. The winning team was able to creatively analyze how the use of subsidies may speed up the process of such a complex program keeping in mind a high TRL level. All other teams had very interesting concepts, unfortunately not all of them were profitable. I am proud of all of the teams and their team effort.

Other jury members were Jan van Breugel (former CTO Corbion), Prof dr. Isabel Arends (chairman of Department of Biotechnology, TU Delft), ir. Peter Flippo MBM (business development Bioprocess Pilot Facility), Rop Zoetemeijer (Biobased Delta). During the event, Wilco van der Lans also gave a presentation about the Bioport Port of Rotterdam and Jan van Breugel presented the concept of Redefinery. During the jury evaluation two start-ups, Philip Troost (Stadsgas Rotterdam) and Sierk de Jong (SkyNRG) presented their companies showing sustainable business can fly. 

The LST MSc Design competition is set up to develop the technical and economical design skills of the students as well as to develop creativity and innovation in finding solutions and last but certainly not least: work together in teams.