Will you help us find high-grade applications for our unique digestate?

Challenge info

Dagen Uur Minuten

Deadline: 21 May 2021 voor 17:00
Reward: Pilot + €10.000,- vouchers

Upload your pitch!

Share challenge

Pilot + €10.000,- vouchers

Nog 29 dagen

Cosun digests biomass for the production of biogas, which leaves a residual product; a plant-based digestate.

This digestate consists mainly of a mineral fraction (NPK) and cellulose fibres that are not biodegradable by digestion. The digestate is a very stable end product, as well as being compostable and biodegradable. Due to the presence of ammonia/ammonia, however, the product also emits a very strong odour.

We primarily sell the digestate as a fertiliser and soil improver for farmers at substantial negative cost, because our product has to compete with animal manure. Seeing as there is a great surplus of animal manure, cattle farmers are willing to pay to get rid of their manure, which means that growers get their fertiliser or free or even with a cash bonus.

Our business case is therefore under severe pressure, which makes it difficult to expand our digestion capacity and thus the production of biogas. All in all, this has negatively affected Cosun’s climate ambitions.

What are we looking for?
Cosun is looking for a higher-grade application of its residual digestate. 

The solution:

  • must be capable of processing between 10 and 100 kilotonnes of plant-based digestate annually
  • must be cost-neutral or profitable
  • must contribute to Cosun’s sustainable objectives and carbon reduction goals.


  • the solution should already be at TRL level 6 (the end of the development phase)
  • the digestate should be processed and sold locally
  • a market can be built within five years
  • the solution can be commercialised
  • the solution should KISS: keep it smart and simple 

We have identified several avenues for solutions ourselves, including: 

  • Improved separation of constituent materials, allowing us to differentiate between various use cases and access new, higher-grade markets.
  • Valorising the cellulose fibres by using them for circular materials.
  • Valorising the concentrated mineral fraction.
  • Enriching or depleting specific components to increase the range of potential applications.

What are we not looking for?
We are not looking for a solution that will valorise our feedstock (the product that enters the digester).

What’s in it for you?
We offer you the opportunity to develop ideas with Cosun's experts and work them up to practical solutions. We can grant you access to our labs and pilot and demo facilities in consultation. 

We can call on our growers to help you test agricultural applications.

For further research and follow-up steps, we can call on the various knowledge institutions we work with, including Wageningen University & Research, universities of technology and the Institute for Sustainable Process Technology. 

Cosun is happy to help investigate your solution’s market potential and is willing to make investments, for example to set up pilots and/or demos. Cosun is also interested in assisting the scale-up process, both within and beyond Cosun.

High-potential business cases should cost no more than €15 per tonne, up to an ideal EBIT of  €150.000 - €1.500.000.  An effective business case will open the door to increasing the production of biogas, which would be valuable to Cosun and many other companies alike. 

How can BioVoice benefit you?

  • An innovation contract with a launching customer/partner!
  • Funding (€10,000 vouchers, to be spent in the regional ecosystem for e.g. testing, lab and demo facilities, IP consulting, etc.)
  • Coaching and counselling
  • A stage and free publicity
  • Knowledge and contact with experts
  • Access to a network of potential partners & customers, resources and research facilities

The BioVoice programme
BioVoice is an initiative of REWIN West-Brabant, Green Chemistry Campus, the joint Rabobanks of Southwest Netherlands and the province of North Brabant. Dockwize, Impuls Zeeland, Centre of Expertise Biobased Economy and Midpoint Brabant have also joined as implementation partners. Together, we want to give innovative entrepreneurs and up-and-coming biobased/circular talents the space and opportunities to develop and market their idea/product, so as to achieve our common goal: accelerating the transition to a sustainable economy.

BioVoice is made possible by financial contributions from the Regional Deal for Central and Western Brabant, the Province of North Brabant, the Province of Zeeland and Rabobank.

Conditions of participation
Cosun is open to multiple forms of cooperation, including turn key, co-development, etc. Cooperation in market access is strongly preferred.
The solution provided should preferably be at TRL level 6, but this is not an essential requirement.

Your pitch (max 6 pages / 18 slides)

  • Concept description: Describe your concept in as much detail as possible.
  • Pilot description: Please provide a brief description of what it will take to prototype and/or pilot and what you will need from us to do so.
  • Team description: Provide a brief description of the company and team that plans to work on the pilot.

There are no formal requirements for the pitch (presentations, slide decks & letters are all allowed), apart from the fact that it must be uploaded as a PDF file (A4, landscape or portrait) with a max. size of 30MB. Videos, example websites and so on can be included as links.

Challenge timeline

  • 29 March '21: Challenge launch - open for applications
  • 21 May '21 - 5:00 pm: Challenge deadline - sign up no later than 5 pm
  • 4 June '21: Longlist announced - A longlist of start-ups/scale-ups that are invited to meet the challengers is announced
  • 14-25 June '21: Digital introduction meetings with challengers & participants + information session about confidentiality and IP
  • 2 July '21: Shortlist announced based on interviews - A shortlist of start-ups/scale-ups that will be given the opportunity to work on an innovation contract is announced
  • 5-11 July '21: Make schedule & working agreements + coordinate NDA if necessary
  • 12 July through 6 October '21: Challenge weeks - sessions with challengers, participants & coaches to arrive at an innovation contract
  • 29 September '21: Apply for vouchers - submit draft innovation contract + apply for vouchers
  • 6 October '21: Vouchers awarded - submit final innovation contract + vouchers are awarded
  • 14 October '21: Match event - celebrating the innovation contracts and partnerships + presentation of vouchers
  • 15 October '21: Start of development & collaboration (pilot)

If you have any questions about this challenge, please head to the discussion page.
For more information about the BioVoice programme, click here.

Background information
Royal Cosun is a modern, future-oriented Dutch cooperative that operates all over the world. We work with thousands of growers, including members and suppliers. We recognise the enormous potential of plants and know how to tap into this potential to findpractical solutions to everyday problems. Cosun has a clear ambition for 2030: we want to be 100% plant-based, 100% circular and 100% transparent.

Royal Cosun is divided into five business groups: Aviko, Duynie, Sensus, Cosun Beet Company and SVZ. We produce plant-based ingredients and food for people and animals alike, as well as biobased products for other applications and energy. Our product range spans from French fries and sugar syrup to other foods, such as ingredients for cakes, ice cream, meat substitutes and fruit juices; but also includes animal feed, detergents, wallpaper paste and cosmetics.

By processing some 12 million tons of biomass annually, we have already become a major player in the circular economy. Royal Cosun strives to continue exploring sustainable initiatives for the benefit of growers and society as a whole.


Log in of Registreer om je vraag te stellen.
Er zijn (nog) geen updates geplaatst.
Log in of Registreer om je pitch te uploaden.

Andere challenges

Alle Challenges

Schrijf je in voor de nieuwsbrief, mis nooit een challenge!