Scaling up for success
Scaling up technology has historically been a time-consuming and costly process. The later any problems appear in the design process, the more difficult it can be to fix. A new plant can mean a multi-million Euro investment, while the wrong decision can put years of work to waste. But what’s the solution?
Bringing a vision to life
A thorough technical and economic assessment holds promise for the biggest chance of success. We have found it to be the best indicator for successful pursuit of an opportunity. It involves forming a business case, where teams across a range of disciplines collect large data sets with valuable information, such as on market size and dynamics, cost-in-use and the prices of current market propositions, as well as detailed insight in raw material use, processing conditions and yields. This provides everything you need to make a well-informed decision on whether to continue with an innovation project or if it needs more work.
The next step towards industrialization is scaling up production. Once you are convinced of an innovation’s commercial viability, translating it to work in an industrial scale facility is crucial. Using a pilot approach to achieve this is well known across the industry, but building an entire demo plant is no mean feat. This is used to extract the process or product design data needed to build an industrial scale facility.
An engineering playground
Corbion’s pilot capabilities are unique for a company of its size – and we are well versed in fermentation and downstream processing. Having a stake in the Bioprocess Pilot facility in Delft means we have access to a diverse mix of equipment to mimic almost any process. Plus, it’s available for third parties to use.
That’s not all; we also work with other parties such as the Bio Base Europe pilot facility in Ghent, as well as our own plant in Spain. We used the latter in our scale-up work for Succinity?, our joint venture with BASF, in the production and commercialization of biobased succinic acid.
It’s not possible to change the world alone. Collaborating with like-minded facilitators across the industry and decreasing risks by using a step-by-step approach can help bring new, feasible ideas to market quicker and easier.
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