Small and medium-sized enterprises can more easily implement research projects and innovations when they work together with regional partners. To this end, the BMBF (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research) supports research and development projects of SMEs in high-performance networks and clusters.

The BMBF is strengthening small and medium-sized enterprises in regional networks and clusters through the “KMU-NetC” funding measure as part of its ten-point program “Right of Way for SMEs”. SMEs are called on to renew their processes, products, services and business models in order to tap into new market potential. It is helpful to work closely with other companies, universities or research institutions in networks and clusters that have already developed innovation strategies or technology roadmaps. Experience and expertise are shared, thus facilitating and accelerating innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises.


KMU-NetC Project of the BioEconomy Cluster HyAlt4Chem

The Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research (Fraunhofer WKI), Green Sugar AG, GNS mbH, ORmatic GmbH and the Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy (ATB) are working together as part of the joint project HyAlt4Chem which aims to create biobased chemical products from residual wood.

Every year, around 8 million tons of wood are recycled into energy. The material use of “used wood” could represent a further step in the cascade utilization of the raw material, thus achieving higher added value. To do this, the project partners are developing a biorefinery process that can be used by industry to convert polysaccharides into fermentation sugars. High-grade chemicals – including lactic acid – can be produced from these sugars. The chemicals produced through the recycling process go on to serve as feedstocks for a variety of applications, such as the production of bio-plastics.

In the joint project HyAlt4Chem, the Leading-Edge Cluster BioEconomy in Halle aims to develop and demonstrate an economic and sustainable biorefinery concept on a pilot scale. For the first time, basic biobased chemicals will be produced from residual wood using an innovative hydrolysis process. Until now, old wood has mainly been burned to produce energy, thereby removing it from the material cycle. The joint project follows the principle of a closed product cycle and develops untreated residual wood into a source of raw material for further economic use.

Project partners: Green Sugar AG, GNS – Gesellschaft für Nachhaltige Stoffnutzung mbH, ORmatiC GmbH, Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy (ATB), Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research (Fraunhofer WKI)