Smart Pilots


The province of Zuid-Holland stimulates the transition to a bioeconomy in various ways. The province wants to keep on learning on how innovation and biobased projects can be stimulated and supported best. To reach it’s goals, Zuid-Holland prefers to work together with relevant stakeholders in strong networks. That is why it is participating in the Smart Pilots project, together with the Bioprocess Pilot Facility Delft. SmartPilots' ambition is to improve the circumstances for bio pilot facilities by using regional operational programs, by providing  funding and exchange knowlegde about the upscaling of power plants. This happens in the eye of Biotech and the bio-economy.

The bio-economy adresses societal challenges such as climate change, sustainable economic growth and energy independence. The bio-economy enables the sustainable production of chemicals, pharmaceutical products, materials, food, feed and energy from renewable raw materials.

Shared pilot facilities (SPF) are open access test sites that bring bio-economy innovations from the laboratory into industrial practice. They are open to all companies and research institutes, and can thus be seen as shared investments in innovation equipment. They have proven to be successful in helping innovators, especially SMEs, to bridge the so-called Valley of Death, i.e. the innovation phase between between laboratory and successful market introduction, that comes with a high technological and financial risk. Typically, initial funding from governments is available to build a Shared Pilot Facility, but it is a challenge to safeguard their long-term existence, especially since bio-economy is relatively new and dedicated policies are currently lacking in many regions.

SmartPilots aims to improve regional policies to provide support in a cost-effective and impact oriented manner. This will be done by:

  • Optimizing direct support for shared pilot facilities
  • Optimizing indirect support i.e. direct support for users of shared pilot facilities
  • Facilitating interregional cooperation regarding Shared Pilot Facilities.

The Shared Pilot Facilities and regions involved are Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant and the Department of Economy, Science and Innovation from Flanders (Belgium), Centre for Process Innovation from Tees Valley (UK), VTT Technical Research Centre Ltd from Helsinki (Finland), Bioprocess Pilot Facility and Provincie Zuid Holland (the Netherlands), Innovhub SSI from Lombardy (Italy) and ARD (France) and Fraunhofer CBP (Germany) as Case Studies.