New Fermentation Lab in Foodvalley Region will accelerate the protein transition
To provide more organisations with the opportunity to experiment with fermentation, a new and innovative Fermentation Lab will be established at Smaakpark, a hub for sustainable food initiatives in Ede. Fermentation is essential for making plant-based products tastier, processing food waste streams and extending the shelf life of food products. This makes it an important part of the plans to accelerate the transition to plant-based proteins and a circular economy.
Fermentation Lab as part of the Foodvalley Regional Deal and Shared Facility Finder
The bulk of the Fermentation Lab’s funding is provided by the Foodvalley ‘Regional Deal’. The lab will be about 110 square metres, not counting a greenhouse complex and fishponds, and will participate in the Shared Facility Finder (SFF). This is a joint initiative of Foodvalley NL and Wageningen University & Research (WUR) that encourages businesses, entrepreneurs and institutions to use each other’s facilities. Interested parties can find the Fermentation Lab and book its facilities through the SSF.
“Research facilities are often not used for 100%,” says Petra Roubos of Foodvalley NL. “Sharing these facilities is a sustainable way to invest in the circular economy together. The best thing about it is that it brings people from different backgrounds together to share their knowledge, resulting in innovative and practical ideas.”
Initiator Smaakpark Ede attracting new participants
Smaakpark Ede is the initiator, owner and user of the Fermentation Lab and has been experimenting with fermentation for several years. “Foodvalley NL noticed our work and pointed us to a grant to develop the idea further,” says Christian Weij, director of Smaakpark. “With the help of the Shared Facilities funding provided by the Foodvalley Regional Deal, we can now build a completely new lab and provide more businesses and researchers with access to it.” Several organisations have already signed up to use the lab, including Aeres University of Applied Sciences and WUR.
The lab is a big step forward for the protein transition. By sharing the lab, the costs for entrepreneurs can be kept to realistic proportions, making it an ideal initiative for small and young businesses. They can use the lab to experiment and further develop products that will eventually find their way to consumers. This is one of the core activities of Foodvalley NL, says Roubos. “We want to keep expanding the sustainable food ecosystem. We know what is needed for a successful grant application and the users of the facilities know what innovations the market is looking for. We need to find and connect with each other to achieve the transition to sustainability, and the support provided by the Regional Deal has facilitated this.”
The Shared Facility Finder (SFF) is a platform where organisations can share research and innovation facilities. A map displays which facilities are currently available. The platform also provides support and funding to users who want to create new facilities or provide access to facilities that are currently not accessible to other users. Some 350 sites currently participate in the Shared Facility Finder.
Interested in using or sharing innovation facilities? More information
Download full press release (Dutch)
Why using a shared facility can be good for your business?
Take for example Dutch pilot run facility AlgaePARC. This facility works with SMEs to develop new technologies that can accelerate progress towards a green, circular economy. For the past ten years AlgaePARC located at Wageningen Campus has served as a shared facility of technology development for microalgae production and biorefinery. Two companies – FUMI and Algreen – have so far been founded based on research carried out at AlgaePARC. Three other SMEs are currently using AlgaePARC’s facilities.
The EU recognises the importance of microalgae in achieving a transition to a green and circular economy, and its REACT-EU programme recently awarded AlgaePARC funding which will enable SMEs to further develop their innovative technologies at this shared facility.
Maria Barbosa, director AlgaePARC explains: ‘AlgaePARC 2.0 will be able to offer access to new screening systems that can select algae strains more quickly, and the facility will also develop a biorefinery unit capable of isolating functional ingredients as well as biomass. Production and testing capacity will also be expanded at the laboratory, pilot and demonstration levels, and innovative sensors will be introduced to enhance product quality’.
The funding application process was supported by the Bioprocess Engineering chair group and Shared Facility Finder.
Sharing facilities, just look at AlgaePARC and the businesses that benefit from its use, is a proven method to make innovation facilities available and cost-effective for both users and facility providers.
Petra Roubos, Manager of Shared Research Facilities at Wageningen and Research and Lead Shared Facilities at Foodvalley NL says: ‘Demand for these facilities is growing, so AlgaePARC needs to make new investments and increase its capacity to host SMEs and start-ups. Roubos emphasises that these organisations are able to accelerate the roll-out of their innovations due to the additional space to test and develop new technologies for microalgae production, biorefinery and product development’.
Roubos continues: ‘Investing large sums into the development phase is a high-risk activity and it is difficult for individual businesses to secure that kind of funding, by sharing facilities businesses get support they need’.
Shared Facility Finder helps businesses and institutes to find the best research equipment, scale up and production, development and testing facilities. When it comes to a new facility Shared Facility Finder advises funding options to help purchase a new facility. Shared Facility Finder is an initiative by Foodvalley NL and Wageningen University and Research. Together we encourage businesses and institutes to use or share facilities.
Shared Facility Finder for free advice
We are happy to help you to:
- find the best facility for your need
- include your facility in our range of shared facilities
- explore the funding options and/or find potential partners to jointly invest in new facility?
Please contact us via email@example.com or visit Shared Facility Finder.
Free shared facility advice
Please contact us via +31 317 48 79 91 or via email:
New shared facility for faster and more efficient protein selection: the Robolector
There is a high demand for alternative proteins due to the protein transition. The Robolector, a new type of fermenter, enables companies and institutes to accelerate the protein selection more efficient and faster. In cooperation with Foodvalley NL and with a subsidy from the Regio Deal Foodvalley, this equipment was purchased by Wageningen University and Research. The device is located at GINKGO Bioworks in Utrecht in the Netherlands.
This technology can be used to develop proteins from fungi and is available for shared use by other companies and institutions. With Robolector with samples can be taken automatically, even at night, which means an enormous increase in efficiency during research projects. Normally, the process of selecting the best strains takes up to twenty weeks; with the help of the Robolector, we can see more quickly which strain is the best and which process conditions work best’, says Martijn Bekker, researcher at Wageningen Food & Biobased Research.
More possible through shared use
The device is set up at GINKGO Bioworks in Utrecht in the Netherlands. Pascal van Alphen, head of the fermentation research department at GINKGO Bioworks Netherlands explains: ‘To make proteins using fungi, especially for the food industry, GINKGO Bioworks was in dire need of purchasing the Robolector. However, as an organisation we did not have the means to purchase the device on our own. Foodvalley NL and WUR helped us bring together various interested parties. Through shared use of this technology and with financial support from the Regio Deal Foodvalley, the Robolector could be purchased. The aim of this Regio Deal is to stimulate cooperation and activity in the field of sustainability. And so, the various interests came together perfectly.’
Chance of success significantly higher
Martijn Bekker says: ‘This device will enable us to better develop fundamental knowledge, which will allow us to participate at a higher level in academic EU projects. We can also start a process faster for public-private research. So, we will soon have more to offer, also to companies. The process can then be fully outsourced to us. As an example, he mentions the WUR project Plentitude, in which fungal protein is being developed. This can now be quickly optimised with the Robolector.
In research, and therefore also in cooperation with companies, there is always a risk that no results will be achieved. Cornelis Mijnders, who focuses on business development at GINKGO Bioworks, says that the Robolector increases the chances of success. ‘I think that is the most important thing about this purchase. Whether it is used for a customer or for a research project: it is easier to convince that you are going to be successful through the more effective selection process.’
Cooperation and knowledge exchange
All parties involved are open to mutual sharing of knowledge and experience; GINKGO Bioworks, Wageningen University & Research, Foodvalley NL and the Biology Department of Utrecht University (UU). The exchange of knowledge can also be continued with future users. That is the great advantage of the agreements made on shared use. Of course, the most sensitive matters cannot be shared, but the knowledge about the device can. The common driving force is the realisation of the protein transition.
Mijnders sees many opportunities in the cooperation. ‘Thanks to the Robolector we meet each other. I see possibilities, such as applying for subsidies for (EU) projects. And for us it is good if we can use the expertise of the universities, so that we can be more effective towards our customers.’ Mijnders also believes it is important for students to gain experience in a company. ‘We also see a responsibility for ourselves in this: to bring young people to the market well prepared from the outset.’
Shared Facility Finder
With Shared Facility Finder you have a wide range of top-class innovation facilities available at your fingertips. Find and share research equipment, facilities and technologies. Connect with partners and co-investors and explore available funding. Maximize productivity by sharing and using facilities and research and test your innovations before launching them on the market. Shared Facility Finder, an initiative of Foodvalley NL and Wageningen University and Research.
- Using the Robolector for a faster and more efficient protein selection? Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Funding opportunities to purchase an innovation facility? Please see the current available subsidies. Need advice? Please feel free to contact us via email@example.com
- Sharing your innovation facility or find other facilities? Please visit our website.
Subsidy for shared advanced research equipment
The subsidy scheme stimulates companies and institutes to realise research equipment in the Dutch provinces of Gelderland and Utrecht.
Equipment for fundamental research is often expensive, yet it is hardly ever used to its full capacity. To address this challenge, the Regio Deal Foodvalley subsidy scheme provides companies and institutes the possibility to invest in shared advanced research equipment (Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) 1-3). Sharing facilities is a proven method to make advanced research equipment available and cost-effective for organisations (working in the field of healthy food and living environments), which enables them to maximise productivity and accelerate innovation.
Conditions Shared Advanced Research Equipment Scheme
- The application concerns an investment in innovative advanced research equipment in the protein transition, food & health and/or circular agrifood domains and is shared via open access.
- The scheme concerns TRL 1-3: fundamental research from observing basic principles, formulating the technology concept and experimental proof of concept.
- The investment benefits organisations in the Dutch provinces of Gelderland and Utrecht and will be realised in collaboration with Wageningen University & Research.
- The investment enables organisations to shorten time to market and optimise efficiency during the innovation process.
- The facility will also be made accessible to other organisations at a market price.
- Open call till the end 2024.
For more information, please see the conditions.
Apply for Shared Advanced Research Equipment subsidy
If you require more information or if you intend to apply for a subsidy, please contact us below.
The subsidy applications are processed by Foodvalley NL and the province of Gelderland on behalf of Regio Deal Foodvalley. Organisations can also contact Foodvalley NL for advice on other subsidies and financial schemes specifically for shared facilities. More information about sharing facilities? Please visit the Shared Facility Finder.
Questions? Get in touch
+31 (0)626 58 73 34
Shared Facility Finder
With Shared Facility Finder you have over 350 facilities available at your fingertips to speed up innovation and maximise productivity. Foodvalley NL and Wageningen University and Research are partners in Shared Facility Finder. Together we encourage companies and institutes to use or share facilities.
We help you find the best innovation facility or recommend you potential partners and funding options to help you purchase a new facility.
Sharing facilities is a proven method to make innovation facilities available and cost-effective for companies and institutes in the field of healthy food and living environment. Learn more:
Find or share a facility
Over 350 facilities for research, testing, demonstration, scale-up or industrial-scale production available. Explore all the facilities and investment opportunities here:
Currently, the following funding options are available:
Subsidy Shared Facility | Call open till 15 June 2022
Subsidy Research equipment | Call open till end 2024
- to find the best facility for your needs?
- to share your facility via Foodleap.com?
- to explore the funding options and/or find potential partners for a new facility?
We are happy to help you.
Please e-mail or call us +31 317 48 79 91.
Growing demand for shared facilities (in Dutch)
State-of-the-art innovation facilities are fundamental to successful innovation and the transition towards a sustainable food system. But research equipment, development, demonstration, upscaling and production facilities are expensive and capacity is not always fully used.
Shared Facility Finder enables companies and institutions to make use of already more than 350 shared facilities. Sharing facilities is a proven method for companies and institutions to maximise productivity and accelerate innovation by sharing facilities, simply because it is fast, sustainable and cost-effective.
Listen to Business Update with Ron Lemmens talking to Petra Roubos, Lead Shared Facilities Foodvalley NL and Wageningen University & Research about this. As well as Wendy van Herpen, R&D Director Ecosystem Foods and Refreshment at Unilever Foods Innovation Centre “Hive”, who shares her experiences.
Shared Facility Finder helped raise 442 thousand euro for Insect Experience Centre
The Insect Experience Centre plans to use the fund to realize an automated cost-effective insect breeding system. The funding is raised via the Shared Facility Finder with a subsidy from the Regio Deal Foodvalley. “This breeding project is designed to empower the transition to a sustainable food system. We are proud that we were able, together with the founders, to give them a head start. In the near future this facility is to the advantage of more entrepreneurs: the breeding system will also be available to other entrepreneurs,” says Petra Roubos, Lead Shared Facilities Foodvalley NL.
The Shared Facility Finder, an initiative by Foodvalley NL and Wageningen University & Research, supports organizations to maximize productivity and speed up innovation by sharing facilities. Sharing facilities is fast, sustainable, and cost effective. It will contribute to sustainable and healthy food and living environments. The Shared Facility finder is the place where organizations get access to innovation facilities, to find and share research equipment, facilities, and technologies.
And, in the case of the Insect Experience Centre, Shared Facility Finder advices and connects with partners and co-investors and explores available funding.
“Our goal is to enable the use of affordable insect proteins in animal nutrition.” From a business point of view, we want to bring innovations to market faster with the Insect Experience Center and exchange knowledge with our partners. The advice from Shared Facility Finder and the financial support, help us in this,“ says founder of the Insect Experience Centre, Eltjo Bethlehem.
Aside from this project Shared Facility Finder is working on several other funding trajectories, from research equipment to upscaling and demonstration facilities needed for transition in a sustainable food system.
Explore investment and funding opportunities
Interested in investment and funding opportunities? Visit Shared Facility Finder.
Questions? Get in touch
Leader Shared Facilities
+31 317 48 79 91
Do the Facility Switch Quickscan: accelerate the protein transition and create new earning opportunities
Investment in new facilities is badly needed to accompany the accelerating protein transition in the longer term. For the short term, Foodvalley offers you the opportunity to quickly check whether your current production space, machine or line can also be made suitable for the processing of raw materials, the production or packaging of vegetable products. In this way, you help the protein transition and create new earning opportunities.
Is your facility suitable? Foodvalley NL would like to help you with this question. Perform this unique Facility Switch Quickscan for free.
In this video Jeroen Willemsen, Innovation lead Protein Shift, explains why we need more facilities to meet the rapidly growing demand for vegetable-based alternatives to meat and dairy. And how your facility might be able to help. Which companies have gone before you and switched their food processing and production facilities? Is your facility suitable? Experts from our network will help you redesign your facility and concretise the business case. Because together we can shape a future-proof protein system!
Successful feasibility study
The ‘protein gap’ is a risk in the accelerating protein transition: the supply of sustainably produced ingredients can barely keep up with the rapidly growing demand for vegetable-based meat and dairy products. One way to close this gap is to look in a different way at the food processing and production facilities we have available. Can we use existing facilities for other applications or markets than those for which they were originally purchased?
In 2020, Foodvalley NL and its members conducted a feasibility study to determine whether extruders, currently used for the production of breakfast cereals, could also be used for texturising field beans, soy or wheat protein, a raw material for the production of vegetable variations on meat. The results were very positive. Meanwhile, chain players such as Codrico, MFH-Pulses and Griffith Foods are working on implementing this facility switch.
That is why Foodvalley is now introducing the Facility Switch Quickscan.
Can you fill the protein gap?
Protein Facility Switch
Companies active in the meat, dairy and fish industry are growingly seeking other markets and applications to expand their business. Applying existing infrastructure for non-animal protein ingredients and products is becoming commercially more relevant. Foodvalley NL, together with partner-experts, assists companies in exploring and realising a ‘protein facility switch’.
Join the Protein Facility Switch
Can your facility or factory create new business opportunities? Are you a protein processing facility owner? Or are you looking for a plant protein processing facility? We guide you to move from animal protein to plant protein production using your existing facilities by connecting you to experts and potential users. Connect with us!
To expand the number of facilities available for plant protein processing, the Protein Facility Switch initiative encourages organisations to take the next step to explore the possibilities of using existing facilities for plant protein applications. Together with knowledgeable partners that can:
- Bring (technical/product) expertise to the table,
- Support and give advice on using the facility for new plant protein processed applications. As a result, co-development projects can start, if desired.
- Match with possible users and start the plant protein journey together to create new business models
How it works
We share (part of) those journeys to inspire the ecosystem and expand the protein processing possibilities even further, it takes only six steps:
- Intake – plan your intake here
- Advise and support in how your facility fits in the Protein Facility Switch
- Switch your facility to plant protein processing
- Connect with users
- Produce plant protein ingredients/products
- Share your experience
Shared facility finder
Are you curious to see which innovation facilities or research equipment are already available? Or do you have facilities that are, or can be made available for other parties? Take a look at Shared facility finder!
Why Martijn Bosmans – Bösch Boden Spies is part of the expert team of Protein facility switch:
“The Protein Facility Switch facilitates food innovation with great collaborations that bring the right experts around the table, which accelerates the whole process.”
Why Harold Post – Uticon is part of the expert team of Protein facility switch:
“The vision of facility switch aligns perfectly with Uticon’s purpose and mission. Therefore, we gladly support this great initiative”.
Jeroen Willemsen – Innovation Lead Protein Shift Foodvalley NL about Protein Facility Switch:
“To accelerate the energy transition, existing natural gas infrastructure is adopted for sustainable hydrogen application. We translate this ‘facility switch’ to the food domain to simultaneously create sustainable impact as well as new business opportunities. For example in the Protein Shift domain: I am convinced that existing technology and experience, e.g. from the meat and dairy processing industry, is of great value in the quest for new sustainable protein sources, ingredients and products.”
Can you fill the protein gap?
Invest in new Shared facility
In September 2021 we expect a new addition in the Shared facility finder: the Capillary rheometer. A Capillary rheometer can help you to identify the range of applicability of a food compound. It will be placed at Wageningen Food and Biobased Research (WFBR).
Join in this investment
Are you interested in sharing the Capillary rheometer? Members of Foodvalley can now join in this investment, benefitting from sharing this device with other experts and using it for your own business at an exclusive rate for committed partners. If you would like to know more about this interesting opportunity, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Petra Roubos:” I am excited about the news that Shared facility finder will be enriched with an investment in a Capillary rheometer. This device adds yet more value to the widely deployable collection of devices and other facilities already at your disposal”.
Why shared facilities?
State-of-the-art innovation facilities are fundamental to successful innovation and the transition towards a sustainable food system. But research equipment, development, demonstration, upscaling and production facilities are expensive and capacity is not always fully used. That is why we have Shared facilities available for the entire innovation ecosystem with Shared facility finder.
Petra Roubos, Lead Shared Facilities