Confirmed speakers (in alphabetical order):

Mercedes Alonso, NESTE (Finland)


Executive Vice President, Renewable Polymers and Chemicals business unit at Neste Corporation. M.Sc. (Chem). Member of the Executive Committee at Neste since joining the company in September 2019. Previously served as Marketing Director Advanced 

Polymer Solutions Europe in LyondellBasell (2019), Managing Director Eng. Composites Europe 2016–2019, and Global Director Corporate Marketing in A.Schulman Inc. 2013–2016, as well as Business Excellence Leader, Advanced Materials (2010-2013), and several commercial roles in the Specialty Chemicals and Elastomer business units at Dow Chemical (Europe) 1991–2013.

Ylwa Alwarsdotter, Sekab (Sweden)


Ylwa Alwarsdotter, Executive Vice President Business Development at Sekab Biofuels & Chemicals. Sekab is a Swedish chemical company producing biobased chemicals, biofuels and converts forest residues into sugars and lignin platforms.

Ylwa Alwarsdotter is the Chair of BioChem Europe, a sector group of CEFIC (European Chemical Industry Council). Member of several groups in the field of Bio-Economy, Sustainability, Trade and Industrial Policy within CEFIC.  In the board of IKEM (Innovation and Chemical Industries) and in BioFuel Region. She is specialized in regulations and directives regarding ethanol, biofuels and bio-based chemicals. Head of the Swedish Delegation within Standardisation of Biobased Products CEN TC 411 and of ISO PC 308 Chain of Custody. Several years in row Il Bioeconomista has dedicated a tribute to her for making the bioeconomy happen. Before joining Sekab she worked 20 years within the Pulp and Paper Industry in leading positions from Research to Sales and Marketing.

Enrica Arena, Orange Fiber (Italy)


Enrica Arena, President of CdA & Co-Founder. Born in Catania, she holds a degree in International Cooperation for Development as well as in Communications, where she has a diverse range of experiences in non-profit sectors and project management. She is now in charge of communication, marketing and fundraising.

Giulio Bonazzi, Aquafil (Italy)

Giulio Bonazzi

Giulio Bonazzi has dedicated his career to evolving Aquafil S.p.A. into a leading player in the global carpet and textile materials industry. Aquafil was founded by Bonazzi’s parents 50 years ago in Arco, Italy. An innovator and disruptor, Bonazzi is transforming his family’s manufacturing business into a sustainable global enterprise.

To achieve this vision, Bonazzi challenged the organization to develop a recycled nylon material by turning trash from landfill and oceans into high-quality, beautiful fibers.
Where others see waste, Bonazzi saw opportunity.
After several years of investment in R&D and a relentless pursuit of a new way to regenerate nylon, ECONYL® was born. Aquafil launched ECONYL® in 2011 and today it is one of the most sought after yarn materials in the world for fashion designers and carpet manufacturers.

Bonazzi was appointed CEO of Aquafil in 2001 and added the role of chairman in 2008. He started his career at Aquafil in 1987, starting on the ground floor at the Aquafil plant in Arco. Since then he has helped the company grow, developing 16 plants in eight countries across three continents. Today, Aquafil is recognized as a sustainability leader, a stalwart example of the circular economy and an innovator within the synthetic textile industry. Fortune has highlighted Aquafil on its Change the World list of companies that are addressing social challenges through their core business activities and the American Chamber of Commerce in Italy has awarded the company with a Transatlantic Award for fostering positive transatlantic relations between Italy and the U.S. for its investment in a carpet recycling plant in Phoenix, AZ.
He is a sought-after speaker and has shared insights on creating a circular economy at leading conferences including Texworld USA, Fashionnovation, the One Ocean Forum, the Responsible Business Summit, the Ethical Corporation Summit and the Copenhagen Fashion Summit. He is recognized by Forbes Italia as a Top CEO for innovation, international competitiveness and creating a great work environment.

Rafael Cayuela, Dow (Switzerland)


Rafael Cayuela, is the Corporate Chief Economist at The Dow Chemical Company. In this position he is member of the Dow global corporate strategy team, as well as member of the International Governments Affairs Team – IGA.

Cayuela started his career for Dow Chemical in Madrid, Spain, while moving early in his career into Dow global headquarters in Midland, Michigan. Currently is based at Dow European headquarters in Horgen, Switzerland since 2007.
He holds a Masters degree in European Economics from the College of Europe, Brugge, Belgium and an Executive MBA from the University of Chicago USA. Cayuela is also the author of the book “The Future of the Chemical Industry by 2050”, published by Wiley in May 2013 and he is active international speaker about the Chemical Industry, Bioeconomy, Sustainability, and Climate Change as a major business opportunity and the long term outlook of the Industry.

Patrizia Circelli, CiaoTech (Italy)


Innovation management Consultant, contact person in Italy in the field of chemistry and biotech. Master and bachelor’s degree in genomic biotechnology at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”. PhD in plant biotechnology at the University of Viterbo “La Tuscia”. The PhD work focused on the development of vaccine strategies, aimed at using plants as bioreactors for the production of vaccine antigens and to develop innovative strategies for the delivery of vaccines and therapeutic molecules. More than 10 years’ experience in Research and Innovation EU Projects, including experience on LIFE+ programme, FP7 and others H2020 programmes. Since 2011, she has been involved in supporting International Organisations, Research Centres and companies in writing and developing high-quality FP7, LIFE, H2020, proposals and in fully exploiting their R&D potential.

Apart the support in proposal writing and development, she also took part in several projects, to lead dissemination and exploitation activities, ensuring the project impact among relevant stakeholders, assuring alignment and smooth flows of information and providing close integration with Europe’s research and innovation programmes, platforms and organisations, the projects are reported in the following:  GLAMOUR, BIOBESTicide, FARMŸNG, BIOPEN, KaRMA2020, DEMETER, Indus3Es, BIO-TIC BIOMIMETIC, BIOCHEM.

Ludo Diels, Antwerp University (Belgium)


Ludo Diels, Dr. in chemistry & biotechnology is professor emeritus at Antwerp University, the of the Advisory & Program Group of A. SPIRE, towards climate neutrality, circularity and competitiveness (Processes4Planet) of the process industrial sectors, and involved in the biobased economy in Europe (Biorizon, BIG-Cluster & Vanguard Initiative).

Joanna Dupont-Inglis, European Bioplastics

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Joanna Dupont-Inglis is Head of EU Affairs for European Bioplastics. In this role she works together with the associations members and team to develop positions and policy recommendations on bio-based and biodegradable/compostable plastics. Joanna has worked for over 20 year in public affairs and strategic communications in Brussels largely in the fields of biotech, the bioeconomy and environmental, agriculture and healthcare policy. Her formal training is in Environmental Sciences and European Studies

Luca Fiori, University of Trento (Italy)

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Luca Fiori is professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Trento, Italy, where he is the leader of the Green Process Engineering Group. In the framework of the circular bioeconomy, his current main research focus is on extraction and thermo-chemical conversion processes, in particular at high pressure (supercritical CO2 extraction, supercritical H2O gasification, hydrothermal carbonization). In the last years the focus has been extended to biochemical processes (anaerobic digestion and composting) and more in general to the integration of different processes for the upgrading of biomass, agro-industrial and urban waste to energy and added-value compounds. His funds derive from international, national and local grants and private companies from the agro-industrial, waste and engineering sectors. He serves as reviewer in several scientific journals and as evaluator of research proposals in national, European and international and calls.


Peter Flippo, BioProcess Facility (Netherlands)


Peter has a 25+ years Business Development career in the chemical and materials industry at several  companies including a.o. Arizona Chemical, Bekaert and two start-up companies, before joining the Bioprocess Pilot Facility in 2016. He has a chemical technology Master of Science degree of University of Twente and a Master Degree on Business Marketing of TIAS Business School. Peter is a senior business development professional with track record of strategic growth plans in chemical and materials industry. Special interest and experience in sustainability, valorization of bio-derived feedstocks and dedicated to contribute to successful growth of the biobased economy.

Ludwig Goris, Capricorn Venture (Belgium)

Ludwig Goris

Ludwig Goris obtained a Master in Chemistry from Ghent University and a Ph.D. in Physics at Hasselt University (2006). After completion of his doctorate, he started as a post-doctoral scholar at Stanford University’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, a position he held for three years. He earned an Executive Master’s degree in Corporate Finance from Vlerick Business School in 2013.He started his career in venture capital investing in 2010 at Capricorn Venture Partners as independent advisor to the Capricorn Cleantech Fund, where he was responsible for scouting, analytics and portfolio support. After consecutive analyst and manager roles at the firm, he is today active as Senior Investment Manager to the Capricorn Cleantech and Capricorn Sustainable Chemistry Fund, where is responsible for deal initiation, deal structuring and portfolio management. He holds Board Director positions at ViroVet and c-LEcta. His interests and expertise cover agriculture, human/animal health & nutrition, and chemical processing technologies that are disruptive in performance, efficiency and yield. In his capacity as active investor and board member, he supports his portfolio companies in business development, corporate finance and market access.

Francesco Gasperi, Habitech (Italy)


Francesco Gasperi is the Chief Executive Officer of Habitech since January, 2020. 

He has been Technical Director of Habitech, Director of Odatech and responsible for the ARCA certification. He graduated in Building Engineering at the University of Trento and he is a member of the Order of Engineers of the Province of Trento. He is LEED Accredited Professional since 2008, BREEAM International NC and RFO Assessor since 2014, WELL AP from 2016 and WELL Performance Testing Agent from 2018. He is LEED Project Reviewer since 2011 and in 2017 in Boston he was awarded, as the first in Italy, of the prestigious LEED FELLOW qualification for his contribution to green building and sustainability worldwide. During his professional activity he has carried out consultancy for design studios and construction companies at national and international level. Always interested to innovation and development related topics, he has participated as an organizer and speaker in more than 150 events and conferences on the themes of energy efficiency and sustainability. Francesco Gasperi played the role of LEED AP for the new headquarters of an important international banking group in Piazza Cordusio in Milan, the first LEED For Commercial Interiors (CI) project in Italy, he was LEED AP for the first LEED certified school (Gold level ) in Europe and he has followed more than 80 projects as LEED Project Manager (including the Isozaki Tower at Citylife, the Italcementi headquarters at the Kilometro Rosso Park in Bergamo – a building designed by Richard Meier who obtained the second Platinum certification in Italy – and the realization of several luxury stores in France, England and the United States). He has been actively collaborating since 2011 with Catalyst Partners, a service and engineering company based in Michigan (United States). Since 2014 he has been the Director of Odatech, the body for assessing energy certification in the province of Trento, the manager of the ARCA certification process and an active participant in the APRIE Technical Board. He participated in the drafting of a number of resolutions by the Province of Trento on energy efficiency and renovation of buildings and he coordinated the Table on the renovation of condominiums in the Province of Trento. Since 2015 he is responsible for ARCA, the first certification system for wooden constructions.

Giulia Gregori, Novamont (Italy)


Dr Giulia Gregori works in Novamont as Director of Strategic Planning & Corporate Communication. Novamont is a global market leader in bioplastics and in the development of biochemicals. Giulia Gregori entered in Novamont in September 2000, after graduating in Pure Chemistry with a specialization in Bioinorganic from the University of Milan, in collaboration with Leiden University. Within Novamont, she is responsible for Strategic R&D and Researcher Training Projects and Corporate Communication, and undertaking also external relationships with Public and Private Funding Institutions. She has been a member of several Associations and she is member of Biobased Industries Governing Board, as well as member of the Steering committee of Assobiotec (the Italian Association for the Development of Biotechnology),member of the board of directors of Enne3 – Incubatore di impresa Novara, and member of the board of directors of Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale “Amedeo Avogadro”. She has been Secretary of the Italian Cluster SPRING (Sustainable Processes and Resources for Innovation and National Growth) which involves over 100 associated members (companies, public research entities, RTOs, associations) and 11 Italian regions, as well as supporter territories, which aims to trigger further investments and create a common platform in the field of bioeconomy at Italian level.

Dr Giulia Gregori is also member of the National Coordination Group for the Bioeconomy, that worked on the updated draft of the Strategy “Bioeconomy in Italy – BIT II” (2019) and that will contribute to ease and monitor its implementation all over the Country.

Jennifer Holmgren, LanzaTech (USA)


Jukka Kantola, World Circular Bioeconomy Forum


Mr. Jukka Kantola has broad experience of the woody biomass related industries. He has held various executive positions in Europe and in Asia. Hence, he has a profound understanding of the challenges and opportunities of these economies. Jukka is well-known in the bioeconomy sector and passionate to advocate circular bioeconomy.

Jukka established NC Partnering, a novel bio-consulting company focusing on the versatile valorisation of woody biomass for innovative applications. He and his company have played an active role in advocating the bioeconomy in practice. During past years NC Partnering has been involved in facilitating new biorefinery ventures, a relatively new phenomenon in the forest industry. He is also a founder and Chairman of World BioEconomy Forum.

Jukka holds a Master of Science degree from Aalto University, Finland. He also holds an eMBA from Rutgers University. Jukka is married with three sons.

Manfred Kircher, (Kadib and CLIB, Germany)


Based on more than 30 years experience in chemical industry and bioeconomy Manfred Kircher works on regional as well as international bioeconomy strategies. His career milestones are biotechnological research and development (Degussa AG, Germany), production (delegated to Fermas s.r.o.; Slovakia), venture capital (delegated to Burrill & Company; USA) and biotechnology partnering and branding (Evonik Industries AG; Germany). Delegated by Evonik he chaired till 2012 the Board of the Cluster Industrial Biotechnology (CLIB2021 e.V.; Germany) and developed this association of German and international industries, small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), academia and investors to an recognized  organisation for unfolding bioeconomical value chains. In 2014 he founded KADIB, a consultancy fo bioeconomy. Manfred Kircher has been certified as a bio-economy expert by the EU-Commission. He is biologist by training (Goethe-University; Frankfurt, Germany).

Honorary appointments:

2021: Co-chair of Bioeconomy Panel at Association of German Engineers (VDI) 

2020: Member of the Advisory Board Sustainable Bioeconomy of the State Government of Baden-Württemberg

2020: Co-chair of Section “Valorisation of Organics” at European Federation of Biotechnology (EFB)

2020: Member of the Advisory Board of BaMS (Marine Bioeconomy)

2019: Member of the Board of BioBall e.V. (Bioeconomy in Metropolitan Regions)

2019: Chairman of District Expert Committee on Environment, Sports and Leisure (FDP Frankfurt)

2019: Member of State Expert Committee on Environment and Nutrition (FDP Hesse)

2018: Member of Advisory Board of BIG-C (Bioeconomy in Flanders, Netherlands, North-Rhine Westfalia)

2014: Chairman of the Advisory Board of CLIB-Cluster e.V. (Cluster industrielle Biotechnologie)

Luca Lovatti, Melinda (Italy)



Luca Lovatti is R&D Manager of Consorzio Melinda spa, a Consortium of Cooperatives located in Val di Non and Val di Sole in Trentino region for apple and fruit production and commercialization. Graduated in Agricultural Science at the University of Bologna, he has gained over 40 years of experience in the field of research in the horticultural sector. From 2012 he’s helding the position of Executive Director of Consorzio Innovazione Frutta a private research centre of APOT (Association of Fruit Grower Organizations in Trentino) and Fondazione Edmund Mach.  The main activities are testing and exploiting new apple and berry varieties, developing technological solutions for improving production sustainability and searching new solution in the context of bio-economy. 

Philippe Mengal, BBI JU 


Philippe Mengal is the Executive Director of the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) since 1st of October 2015. His mission is to further consolidate the role and responsibilities of the BBI JU. The Executive Director is the legal representative of the BBI JU. He is the chief executive responsible for the day-to-day management of the BBI JU in accordance with the decisions of the Governing Board. Mr. Mengal trained as an engineer in Chemistry and Bio-industry at the Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech University and later on in Strategic Innovation Management at INSEAD – Fontainebleau in France.
He started his career in 1990 in France as R&D engineer in the field of biomass fractionation and purification. In 1995 he became Technical Director of a research centre dedicated to biomass valorisation and between 1990 and 1997 he taught in a Master programme on chemical engineering in Rennes, France. He has published a number of scientific papers and awarded 5 patented license agreements.
In his 25 years of professional experience before joining BBI JU, Mr. Mengal held strategic managerial positions in France and Belgium such as CEO of three companies, Global R&D Director of a multinational and Senior Consultant in food ingredient, engineering and life science industries

Alex Michine, MetGen (Finland)

Alex Small

Alex Michine, M.Sc, MBA. Alex worked 25+ years in various position in Life Science industry. Founded and successfully run 3 Biotech SME. From 2008:  Founder and CEO of MetGen (www.metgen.com). MetGen Oy is a pioneering industrial biotechnology company with a demonstrated capability to design, develop and produce highly-effective tailor-made but cost-effective enzyme solutions. The company has a particular emphasis on applying enzymes to the transformation of lignocellulosic biomass into platform chemicals, sugars and valorized lignin.

Michael Nettersheim (European Circular Bioeconomy Fund)

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Michael Nettersheim is a founding partner of the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund. For more than eight years Michael was responsible for bioeconomy related investments at BASF Venture Capital. Previously, he was a member of the investment management team at High-Tech Gruenderfonds in Bonn, Germany. Prior to this he was responsible for corporate finance and investor relations at a publicly listed biotech company in Munich.

Michael Nettersheim studied Chemistry at the University of Bonn, where he was awarded a doctorate in Biochemistry. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Kellogg-WHU Executive MBA Program. In addition, he has been a Certified Biotech Analyst for the German Association of Financial Analysis and Asset Management (DVFA) since 2001.

George Sakellaris, BioEast Bioeconomy Hub (Czech Republic)

George Sakellaris 2019

George Sakellaris is managing the Biotech consulting company Biocon, based in Prague, Czech Republic. He is also a board member at the BioEast Bioeconomy Hub in Czech Republic, reflecting the European Green Deal and the European Bioeconomy Strategy in the country. It aims to engage stakeholders and support their involvement in Bioeconomy activities, encourage the development of a National Strategy on Bioeconomy and directing the strategic research agenda into the direction of the sustainable Bioeconomy. George is a member of the Advisory Council on the BioEast Initiative, while he has been in the team of experts who conducted the Foresight Exercise for the BioEast region. He also participates as a board member in the European Community of Practice on Bioeconomy Education. He has a Background in Biochemistry, and in the past, he served as Senior Researcher at the National Hellenic Research Foundation in Athens Greece. He also got visiting positions, at the NIZO, (Netherlands, 1989-1990), Charles University (Czech Republic, 1994-1995) and the Qatar Foundation (2011-2012). He has been selected as Expert in dedicated working groups at the European Parliament (2006-2009), EFSA (GMO-panel, 2003-2006) while he participates in numerous working groups and consulting bodies.

Elena Sgaravatti, PlantaRei Biotech (Italy)

Elena Sgaravatti

Elena Sgaravatti is Founder and CEO of PlantaRei Biotech, a plant biotechnology tech-transfer company. Graduated in Pharmacological Science at the University of Padua, she has gained over 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical sector, ten of each from Business Development to strategic marketing in GSK. Form 2009 Until June 2016 he held the position of General manager and CEO of IRB SpA (Institute of Biotechnological Research) that in 2012 was taken over by Croda plc. In 2016 she founded, with an Italian entrepreneur, Demethra Biotech S.r.l., an innovative green research start-up. Inventor of 12 patents, she is member of the academic steering committee of the University of Medical Biotechnology of Modena and member of the Scientific Committee of the Bioinnova Cluster (Veneto Biological Cluster). Since 2019 she is part  of the working group for the accreditation and evaluation of the Master’s Degree course in Biotechnology for Nutrition of the Agripolis University of Padua. 

Winner of the #GreenBiotech Award  2020 of Women&Technologies Association . Member of the Presidency Committee since 2016 he has been Vice President of Federchimica-Assobiotec since 2020.

Silvia Silvestri, Mach Foundation (Italy)

Simão Soares, SilicoLife (Portugal)


Simão Soares is CEO and co-founder of SilicoLife, a company combining AI and biology for the design of cell factories and novel pathways for the sustainable production of chemicals. MSc Bioinformatics (UMinho), postgraduate in management from NOVA School of Business and Economics and trained in Blue Ocean Strategy at INSEAD. He is also President of P-BIO, Portuguese Bioindustry Association, a Global Shaper Alumni, an initiative of the World Economic Forum, and a Climate Reality Leader. Simão was elected at the end of 2020 The Most Innovative Bioeconomy CEO by the readers of Il Bioeconomista.

Katiuscia Terrazzani, Ayming (Italy)

Managing Director of Ayming Italia, part of the Ayming Group, an international consulting company operating in 15 countries. In Italy, it’s specialized in optimizing business performance in 3 main areas of expertise: Grants and Incentives for innovation development, Fiscal Compliance & Advisory and Property Tax. In Ayming, she previously held the role of Southern Europe Director for the Purchasing & Cost Performance division, managing 5 countries: China, India, Italy, Portugal and Italy. Among her professional experiences: Logistic Specialist at Coca Cola Holdings Italia, Procurement Specialist at Robert Bosch Italia, Project Manager at BravoSolution.

Niklas von Weymarn, Metsä Spring (Finland)


Niklas has a Doctor of Science degree in biotechnology from Aalto University in Finland. He has also studied economics and innovation strategies. His job career begun in 1999, when he took on the position ofResearch Scientist at Cultor Technology Center (today DuPont). He has since hold the positions of Project Manager, Team Leader, Program Manager, Technology Manager and Vice President for Research at Aalto University, VTT, CLIC Innovation Ltd and Metsä Fibre Ltd, respectively. He is currently CEO of Metsä Spring Ltd, the venture capital arm of Metsä Group. Niklas is currently also a Board member of the Biobased Industries Consortium, the private partner of the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking, and of the startup Woodio Ltd.

Hendrik Waegeman, Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant (Belgium)

Hendrik Waegeman obtained a master degree in biochemical engineering at Ghent University (2007) and holds a PhD in Applied Biological Sciences-Chemical Engineering (2011), also obtained at Ghent University. During his doctoral research he metabolically engineered Esherichia coli to improve recombinant protein production. During his post-doctoral research, Hendrik Waegeman was involved in a number of projects that focused on the fermentative production of specialty carbohydrates. He is also a co-founder of the company Inbiose NV, founded in 2013, which develops fermentatively produced specialty carbohydrates such as human milk oligoscaccharides.  In 2012 he was guest lecturer at the University of Incheon, South-Korea where he lectured a course on Metabolic Engineering and Modelling of Micro-organisms. Since 2012, he has a position at Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant, a multi-purpose pilot facility in the Port of Ghent in Belgium where he has worked as Head of Business Development and is now Head of Business Operations.
Hendrik is also board director of Inbisoe NV, Bio.be(the cluster of Belgian biotech companies) and Biobased Industries Consortium (BIC, the private partner in the joint undertaking Horizon2020-BBI and the upcoming joint undertaking CBE (Circular Bio-based Europe).

Eleni Zika, European Research Council

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Eleni Zika is a strategic adviser at the European Research Council (ERC) and an active promoter of the development of a sustainable circular bioeconomy in Europe. Over the last 20 years, Dr. Zika has been engaged in science policy and strategy development, focusing particularly on research and innovation. Her areas of interest include sustainability and biotech, in addition to personalised medicine and public health. She was the first Head of Programme of the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), a 3.7 billion Euros partnership between the EU and the industry. She has previously served as Head of Sector for Fundamental Life Sciences at the ERC overseeing funding operations in the domain of health. Before joining the EU institutions, Dr. Zika was responsible for international policy at the UK Medical Research Council. She is a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow of the US National Academies and holds a PhD in Genetics and Molecular Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.