How can we optimally valorize the pectine in sugar beet pulp?

Challenge info

Dagen Uur Minuten

Deadline: 08 May 2020
Status: Deadline verlopen
Prijzen(geld): Pilot project + €10.000,- vouchers

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Pilot project + €10.000,- vouchers

deadline verlopen
In the near future, the scaling up of our plant will lead to the production of an increasing stream of pectin fragments derived from bio-refining sugar beet pulp, a by-product of sugar production. This biopolymer boasts a unique functionality and its physical properties are in many ways incomparable to those of citrus and apple pectins. So far, unique applications have been identified in the field of leather processing and dishwashing detergents. The price-performance ratio of this pectin stream is highly interesting and should open up unique markets. Cosun is looking for more of such applications in both food and non-food markets in order to valorise the total volume of bio-refined pectin and fully utilise our crop.

What are we looking for?
Cosun is looking for new product-market combinations for this pectin stream. Any new applications for the pectin stream should involve minimal processing for rapid market entry. 

We are looking for applications that meet the following preconditions:


Need to haves:

  • Value creation within 3 years (short route to market)
  • EBIT potential >EUR 5,000,000 


Nice to haves:

  • Competitive advantage
  • IP protection

What aren't we looking for?
Cosum can already use this pectin to produce galacturonic acid and galactaric acid and there are various ongoing projects within Cosun to modify these derivatives into unique bio-based products. Since these derivatives are already the subject of many research projects and have a long route to market, Cosun is not looking for this kind of initiatives. Rather, Cosun would prefer an application for the pectin stream as is with a shorter route to market. 

What's in it for you?
Driven by its new vision entitled ‘Plants Powering People’, Cosun seeks to work towards a sustainable future by establishing a cluster of bio-refineries. Innovation is key and Cosun will offer anyone taking this challenge the opportunity to make real progress together. After all, fitting solutions can be launched and sold relatively quickly in large volumes. Depending on the party taking this challenge, we will make appropriate arrangements to benefit both of us. Cosun does not have an outspoken preference as to what such a partnership would look like in the future and will assess this on a proposal-by-proposal basis, as it depends in part on the innovation’s distance from Cosun’s core business. 

Cosun will make its experts, laboratories, pilot plant and other ecosystems available to the party taking this challenge to as to develop a successful innovation together. Serious ideas can count on serious budgets. 

How can BioVoice benefit you?
An Innovation Contract. After concluding an innovation contract, you can get started with the development process. You'll have access to:
  • funding (€10,000 vouchers, to be spend in the regional ecosystem on, for example, lab- and demo-facilities, NDA or IP advice, etc.)
  • (international) markets
  • knowledge and partners
  • resources and research facilities
  • business and upscaling opportunities
  • and: a launching customer!

The BioVoice programme
BioVoice is an initiative of REWIN West-Brabant, Green Chemistry Campus, the joint Rabobanks of Southwest Netherlands and the province of Noord-Brabant. Together, we want to give innovative entrepreneurs and up-and-coming bio-based/circular talents the space and opportunities to develop and market their idea/product in order to realise our common goal: accelerating the transition to a sustainable economy

Conditions for participation
Anyone who can formulate an appropriate answer to this question is free to respond. 

Your pitch (max 6 pages / 18 slides)
We would like for your pitch to contain the following elements:
  • Potential product/market combinations
  • Facts, figures and trends of which this innovation will benefit
  • A proposal for form of cooperation
  • Expected challenges and hurdles in the innovation proces

There are no requirements regarding the type of pitch (presentation/slide deck, letter), but it must be uploaded as a PDF file (landscape or portrait A4) and the file size may not exceed 30 MB). Videos, draft websites, etc. can be included as links. 
Pitches in English are allowed.

Challenge timeline - changed because of corona - read more
  • 2nd March 2020: Challenge launches - open for entries
  • 8th May 2020 - 17.00 uur: Challenge deadline - entries must be submitted before 5 am
  • 15th May 2020 at the latest: Shortlist announcement - Announcement of which start-ups/scale-ups will be invited to introduce and explain their solution 
  • Week of 25th May or 1st of June: Digital introduction talks challengers/entrants + information sessions on IP and NDA's
  • September ‘20: Work sessions, during which challengers & entrants seek to conclude innovation contracts + voucher granting
  • End of September 2020: Closing event - celebrating the innovation contracts and partnerships resulting from the challenge + voucher hand-outs
  • June 2020: Start of development & partnership (pilot)

  • Questions regarding the content of this challenge can be asked via the discussion page.
  • More information on the BioVoice programme can be obtained through this pagina.

Background information on Dow
Royal Cosun is a modern, forward-looking cooperative that was founded in the Netherlands and operates worldwide. We work with thousands of growers, both members and suppliers. 

We are aware of the enormous potential of plants and know how to turn them into useful everyday solutions. We produce plant-based ingredients and foods for people and animals alike, as well as green, bio-based solutions and energy. 

The cooperative is made up of sugar beet growers and also owns several agri-food businesses, including Suiker Unie. 

The production of sugar also results in large quantities of sugar beet pulp, which is traditionally used as animal feed. For some time now, Cosun has been using bio-refining methods to fractionate this pulp into various components, all of which are examined and processed separately, before being sold in unique markets. 
The cellulose fraction of sugar beet pulp is an excellent example, boasting many functionalities that can be used in home and personal care products, for example. It is already known that the pectin fraction can serve as a substitute for chemicals used for processing leather. See also this link

Jappe de de best 30-03-2020reageer
Deze vraag, maar ook de eerdere challenge 'Waar en hoe kunnen we inhoudstoffen uit suikerbietpulp, met name pectine(fragmenten), galacturonzuur en arabinose, verwaarden in non-food markten?' zijn mooie vragen om op te pakken in de minor / het semesterprogramma Biobased Technology & Business Development van Avans Hogeschool / CoE Biobased Economy. Is dit een mogelijkheid? Dit kan ook perfect worden gecombineerd met een start-up die inschrijft voor deze challenge

Cosun 02-04-2020reageer
Beste Jappe, Bedankt voor de reactie. Binnen biovoice zijn wij primair op zoek naar partijen (start-ups / mkb'ers / zzp'ers / experts) die met hun op de challenges aansluitende ideeën en (deel)oplossingen businesskansen kunnen realiseren. We zijn dus niet primair op zoek naar onderzoeksinstituten, kennisinstellingen en consultants. Uw aanbod is echter wel interesant, wellicht kunnen we buiten het Biovoice programma wat voor elkaar betekenen. Binnen Cosun hebben wij bijzonder veel cases op het gebied van biobased technology & business development waar door studenten aan gewerkt kan worden. Altijd leuk om eens over te praten, u kunt mij bereiken op 0639840693. Groeten, Peter Roosink

QUENTIN BROUET 03-04-2020reageer
Hello, We may have some interest in this project but would need a cost estimation for the pectin stream to evaluate if our technology is relevant or not in this case. Thank you and best regards,

Cosun 08-04-2020reageer
Hello, Can you clarify your ideas and technology briefly? At this point in time we are not able to share cost estimations. Kind regards, Peter Roosink

anoniem 06-04-2020reageer
Een van de mkb bedrijven in mijn netwerk heeft met name verdiepende vragen over de eigenschappen van pectine. Kan hier duidelijkheid over gegeven worden? Wat is de samenstelling van pectine (vaste stof, vloeibaar ed) en welke hoeveelheid is beschikbaar? Is het FDA proof?, m.a.w. is het een natuurlijke stof? Zijn er reacties bij een smerende werking te verwachten? Michel Carol - Dockwize

Cosun 16-04-2020reageer
Hallo Michel, Bedankt voor je reactie. De pectine is een water oplossing. We zijn momenteel testen aan het doen op de sproeidroger dus er is eventueel ook poeder beschikbaar. Het materiaal is inderdaad natuurlijk en kan aan verschillende standaarden voldoen. Beschikbare hoeveelheden zijn afhankelijk van de toepassingen die we vinden, dit bepaald volumes in geplande scale-up. Wat zijn de toepassingen waar je contact aan denkt bij smerende werking? Ik nodig hem graag uit om persoonlijk contact met ons op te nemen via voor verdiepende vragen. Met vriendelijke groeten, Peter Roosink

Martijn Stevens 08-04-2020reageer
Pectine wordt verdeeld in twee grote groepen op basis van hun veresteringsgraad. Over welke groep hebben we het hier?

Cosun 16-04-2020reageer
Hallo Martijn, Suiker biet pectine is laag veresterd. We zijn benieuwd naar de mogelijke toepassingen die je voor ogen hebt, kun je hier meer over vertellen? Voor eventuele verdiepende vragen kun je me persoonijk bereiken op Alvast bedankt.

QUENTIN BROUET 21-04-2020reageer
Hello, Thanks for you reply. We have developed a process to produced biosurfactant directly from biomass. Economic viability depends on composition of the biomass and its cost.

Cosun 30-04-2020reageer
Hello, Interesting, I can share information regarding the composition of our biomass. It are pectin fragments with a high distribution in molecular weight, we are able to modify/purify this in several manners. Please contact me at to share information. Hopefully this helps you to come to a pitch.

Gerbert de Voogd van der Straaten 24-04-2020reageer
Beste, Een van de mkb bedrijven in mijn netwerk heeft een vraag over de E-nummer(s) van deze pectine stroom. Momenteel gebruikt het mkb bedrijf E466 in zijn huidige product en ziet de pectine mogelijk als vervanging, mits de pectine het geschikte E-nummer heeft. Mvg, Gerbert de Voogd van der Straaten

Cosun 30-04-2020reageer
Beste Gerbert, Bedankt voor uw vraag. Onze pectine hoeft niet als E-nummer gedeclareerd te worden, 'pectine' of 'suikerbietpectine' volstaat ook. E-nummer is E440. Welke functie vervult E466 in het product van uw contact en wat is de motivatie voor vervanging? Wij hebben al aardig wat applicatie onderzoek gedaan dus kunnen samen snel zien om we hier van toegevoegde waarde zijn. Groeten, Peter Roosink

COVID-19 update

06 April 2020

NL: De coronacrisis raakt de maatschappij en economie hard. Dat laatste geldt in het bijzonder voor mkb’ers en start-ups. We begrijpen goed dat velen van jullie op dit moment vooral bezig zijn met het overeind houden van je business. Omdat we graag zoveel mogelijk ondernemers de kans geven om na te gaan of een van onze challenges voor hen wellicht een extra ijzer in het economische vuur kan betekenen, passen we deze BioVoice ronde aan, waaronder een verlenging van de aanmeldperiode tot naar vrijdag 8 mei 17.00u. Lees meer over de maatregelen die we nemen.

EN: The corona crisis has a major impact on society and the economy, and especially on SMEs and start-ups. We understand that for many of you, your main concern will be to keep your business afloat. Because we would like to give as many entrepreneurs as possible the chance to find out whether our challenges may be just the opportunity they need in today’s challenging times, we have made changes to the current edition of BioVoice, including an extension of the deadline to Friday May 8th. Read more about all the adjustments.

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