For anyone who has ever worked in the commercial side of a business, and I think that’s many of you, there’s a saying that is often trotted out in meetings – ‘time kills all deals’ – essentially, the longer a project or proposal takes to be developed, the more likely it is that you won’t be the first player in the market. This is as true in the development of sustainable products, materials or chemicals as it is for a sales team and lengthy and inefficient development processes have long hindered growth, raised costs and made gaining investment a further challenge.
One company however is committed to changing this, and for the past twenty years has been helping inject some much-needed speed into the development of renewable products – hte – the high throughput experimentation company has the technology, toolkit and confidence to accelerate the development of new catalytic processes and today we gain an exclusive insight into their cutting-edge work within the bioeconomy.
For Dr. Fabian Schneider, Business Development Manager (pictured left) says the technology is important, but the customer is always key; “The relationship we have with our customers is an intimate one, we have to really understand what they need and what is important for them. Whether they are a start-up, a multinational or a university, together we go on a journey together, doing something new, and with this comes the building of trust. On a daily basis, the customer can see and react to the results they are receiving from us. And yes, we can get some surprising results – in a new, emerging field there are always learnings, positive and negative – both are equally important for the success of a project.”
Fabian continued; “For our partners we offer broad knowledge and experience, but also independence. We don’t have a stake in any particular feedstock, catalyst or company – we will go with the one that works best for the project. From a customer perspective, we build our high throughput test systems ourselves and our own technologies are constantly learning and improving. Under one roof, we have a broad range of technologies in our portfolio to utilize renewables: from batch systems to continues flow, from trickle-bed reactors to novel short-contact time testing technology, like our proprietary fluidized bed testing systems.
Register for an exclusive webinar – How high throughput technology will accelerate your R&D in the conversion of renewables.
At the heart of hte’s offering is the company’s toolbox for catalyst synthesis & screening and its ability to support the development of novel processes, that accelerate R&D significantly.
They are able to support the entire process, from the initial ideation, to discovery –screening of potential materials and catalysts and selecting a shortlist of the potential best ones, bringing it from batch to continuous operation, then onto supporting optimisation – finding the best catalysts and optimized conditions, then onto upscaling and running through this, is ongoing advice and troubleshooting.
The useful analogy that Fabian uses with me when it comes to explaining batch versus continuous, is that of cooking soup. Making an individual pot is fine when you are exploring how it tastes, but if you want to start selling it commercially, you want it constantly bubbling away!
hte ( @hteGmbH ) has been delivering results, fast, for over 20 years and their processes have continued to evolve and improve through the decades, Fabian shares what their current focus looks like; “In how we work with our customers in developing solutions, we think of ourselves as highly skilled craftsmen! But whose tools are always improving! Digitalisation, parallelization and automation are some of these tools that are vital in increasing efficiencies and carrying out a large amount of experiments in a short period of time. We have our own software solutions, developed internally – if you visit our laboratories, you see fully automated and digitalized workflows generating huge amounts of data, that need to be managed in a highly efficient manner. There is only little paper in our labs.”
“If you are doing one experiment, you get one set of results. Period. In our case, by constantly running parallelized experiments, we simultaneously generate vast amounts of data and you get really holistic insights – this is a truly different approach to working” adds Fabian.
In addition to the speed, and confidence in the broad range of available technologies in the portfolio, the hte team also offer the ability to work with a wide variety of feedstocks. Starting from feedstocks as simple as CO2 to ones as complex as lignin and cellulose. The list includes also carbohydrates, sugars, algae oil, fats alongside many more.
Fabian and the team have a host of examples of how they’ve worked with clients to develop new renewable products and are happy to share them. But to take just one, the development of renewable chemicals for the production of “green nylon” where the most critical & challenging catalytic process from sugar derivatives to the targeted dioles was successfully developed by hte. It included the synthesis and screening of up to 500 catalysts, 26 test runs with 16-fold high throughput test unit, upscaling of 44 catalyst formulations and the screening of 30 feed blends in an 8-fold bench scale unit for final optimization.
As our time comes to an end, I ask Fabian where he sees hte’s role in a post-COVID19 bioeconomy; “I think that now, more than ever, we are seeing an emphasis on speed for projects to further develop the bioeconomy. What we have experienced through the Coronavirus pandemic is that projects still can be executed quickly with automated test-systems and digitalized workflows. We can ensure to keep developments going and accelerate them at the same time, despite social restrictions due to the pandemic.”
“From a business perspective, we are very much open to conversations, whether you are a small new player, doing some exciting work, or a large established operator seeking confidence and stability, then we are here and ready to talk. There’s a huge opportunity for the bioeconomy to grow and we are proud to help support it.”
To learn more about how hte could make your processes faster and more efficient then contact Dr. Fabian Schneider, Business Development Manager, + 49 (0) 62 21 74 97 – 524 or on Fabian.Schneider@hte-company.de
hte and Bio Market Insights are teaming up for an upcoming webinar – How high throughput technology will accelerate your R&D in the conversion of renewables – register here.
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