Pectcof transforming an industrial waste stream into valuable products

Tijdens de CleanTech Business Day 2013 mochten zo’n 20 cleantech start-ups zich presenteren aan een panel van zeer ervaren investeerders. E-Stone ging er als eerste met een kennisvoucher van 25.000 euro vandoor. E-stone gaat hiermee een “battery which is simple and simply lasts” op de markt brengen. In de tweede ronde was PectCof, een bio-raffinage concept voor industriële koffiereststromen, de gelukkige winnaar van een Climate-KIC voucher van 25.000 euro. Deze start-up benut afval van koffie producerende bedrijven om er hoogwaardige ingrediënten voor de voedingsindustrie van te maken. Reden om Rudi Dieleman, Director and Co-founder PectCof B.V., te vragen naar het succes van PectCof en zijn visie op de (toekomst van de) cleantech sector.

Pectcof“Pectcof unlocks the potential of coffee pulp by extracting highly valuable products such as pectin, antioxidants, sugars and cellulose. The focus is on the food ingredient pectin because 20 percent of the coffee pulp is pectin and there is a need in the market for pectin as emulsifier and stabilizer.”

How did the cleantech sector develop over the past 10 years?

We see a clear development in the last 10 years from oil based materials to a more biobased and sustainable materials economy. This does not only happen at “the small scale” where a lot of startup companies have joined the community, but also multinationals like Coca Cola entering in the arena by building their “plant bottle” on large scale. Furthermore we have seen that customers get more interested in their products and from where they are sourced and produced. Sustainability is still one of the main interests from a customer point of view whereas from the investment side it is becoming more and more a qualifier for doing business. We also view the breakthrough companies like Tesla as a great way to put the cleantech sector on the map, this is no longer a sector that is ruled by “nerds” it is getting more sexy every year!

What changes have occurred in this sector?

From being a “garage type” of sector the change has been made in up-scaling and getting to the market faster. Where first people have spent time in the laboratories to find the new innovative and creative solutions to “old” challenges, now companies are maturing and getting to market faster and more effective. The time span for investment has been shortened, so results and development has to be more efficient and effective which means companies are pushing to market in an earlier stage. With the earth resources like sun, wind and water complete industries have been build and maintained in the last years making way for a new type of energy that will only grow in the coming years to become the new stream of energy for the future.

What is the success of PectCof and how do you see the future of PectCof?

The success of PectCof is on transforming an industrial waste stream into valuable products. On the one hand there is a huge amount of waste available in coffee producing countries, whereas on the other hand there is a market gap in the food ingredient market for our product. We are solving two problems with one process, the waste problem for the coffee industry and the problem of availability for the food ingredient market. The future of PectCof lies in scaling the patented process on the extraction of valuable products from coffee pulp. The first challenge right now is how to design, build an construct the pilot plant that will show that our process is applicable on the large scale because only after that we can make the decision on being a producer or being a company that sells the license for the production of the first product, and then doing research and development for the rest of the material that still has other interesting compounds to be extracted.

What opportunities / challenges are, according to you, applicable in this industry?

The challenge in this industry is to overcome the uncertainty that is related to new, innovative and creative technologies. The fear for new products, processes or services is something that is historically known and something that is part of human nature. It is our biggest challenge as an industry to overcome this fear by giving information and insights as well as easy to follow stories so people get confident that this will have a positive impact in their lives and can really add to the quality of life. The opportunity that I see for the cleantech industry is that more and more governments, multinationals and investment agencies are looking into the details of the businesses in this space, making it possible for a growing number of companies to attract funds to grow, prosper and become a player of size in the market. The other opportunity is a higher level opportunity that all cleantech companies should encompass, which is to make the world a better place to life on.

What do you think is the future of the cleantech sector looks like?

I think the sector will only grow in the coming years as the urgency for doing something about climate change is getting more imperative every minute. Companies will start to go through the growth phase faster, making the cleantech sector more competitive than ever. I hope that the cleantech sector will grow large enough to fully replace the oil based business and bring value propositions that are not only sustainable, competitive priced and having at least the same quality but also help in making this world a better place to life in according to quality of life.

CleanTech Business Day 2014
In December 2014 vindt de 2e editie van de CleanTech Business Day plaats. Op vindt u alle informatie van 2013 en kunt u het 2014-programma aanvragen.

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