Sustainabilty contest

Dutch and Finnish students compete together in Biobased Battle 2023

Plastic afval. Bouwkunde maakt er woningen van. Robert en Maud studeerden erop af.

Over 100 students of 11 universities of applied sciences in Finland and the Netherlands participated in the Biobased Battle 2023 from March 27th until March 30th. 'I know more now about working with people from different cultures', according to one of the participants.

In total agreement according to Mara van Eijndhoven, organizer of the Battle. Developing new skills among students from various fields and cultures and learning from each other's expertise and working methods are important motivators for organizing the challenge-based research and teaching activity.

The 18 student groups started working on 3 challenges from the biobased industry. Did you ever think about 'brushing your teeth with PHBs'? Or that 'potato starch could revolutionise the plastics industry'? These kind of creative mindsets and innovative results arise when bringing together students from different backgrounds and fields, which can serve as solutions to the global challenges in the biobased industry. In terms of content, the Biobased Battle 2023 therefore was a success for the questioners.

Resarch, education ánd fun

Ultimately, the development of the students themselves is paramount. During this 4-day Battle, workshops were organized to help students devise, test and develop ideas into a successful pitch. Learning from each other is significant. A climate change specialist, environmental science in agriculture, environmental engineering, chemistry, biology, experience in non-flame waste material, biobased technology specialization are examples that were mentioned during the conversation about each other's valuable expertise for the Biobased Battle. Research is thus used as a reason for and tool in education.

The winners

The winners of the first challenge, Deyana Mineva and Ivan Kirilov of Avans, Glenn Holmström and Juha Blomqvist of TAMK and Henri Miilumäki of LAB presented their solution 'Peeling back the layers of sustainability – aspect revolutionising the plastic industry with potato starch' to the assignment of LAB University of Applied Sciences. The challenge was to create solutions that would enable the sustainable, fair production of biobased raw materials for the biobased plastics industry.

The second challenge was won by Flori Calcan of Avans, Derk Rensen and Casper Brutsaert of HAN and Venla Linebaugh and Mona Kunnas of TAMK. They presented their solution 'Brush your teeth with PHBs!' ́for the challenge formulated by Sweco and HAN BioCentre. This challenge was about to determine which products can be made from PHB, a bioplastic produced by methanotrophic bacteria.

And Rens van Brussel and Eva Vullings from Fontys, Mick Courage and Isabela Correia Costa from Zuyd and Marit Smit and Satu Ruuska from Karelia won the third challenge. They found a suitable solution to PeelPioneers/Avans University of Applied Sciences' challenge to find ways to efficiently process the residual waste from the PeelPioneers process.