28 Apr 2017

The indispensable role of biomass – EUBCE 2017

Insight, the dissemination work package leader of Rehap is delighted to be presenting the project at the European Biomass Conference and Exhibition – EUBCE 2017 next week. The event, which takes place in Stockholm on June 12-15, is celebrating its 25th year with a full agenda of horizontal topics making it the premier forum for the biomass and bioenergy community, cutting across research, industry and policy.

The EUBCE programme includes 1,004 presentations, with a main focus on the evolving international policy debate about tackling climate change. The event will also provide a platform for the most innovative scientific and technical advances and industry projects.

One of the key aims of the conference will be to examine how to close the gap between research achievements and industrial implementation, given that research in many areas has advanced considerably over the last decade.

Insight is coordinating a new H2020 project called BIOWAYS, a communications-focused project that will promote the huge potential of bio-based research results and raise public awareness of bio-based products, by developing a variety of communication techniques and through public engagement activities and the development of educational tools and materials.

“EUBCE 2017 will be a fantastic opportunity for projects attending to become involved in BIOWAYS and take advantage of the techniques and platforms being developed that will help them achieve this vital transition from research to industrial implementation,” says Insight MD and BIOWAYS coordinator William Davis.

EUBCE will also tackle the "The Indispensable Role of Biomass" as part of the long-term goal agreed at the Paris climate summit of limiting the increase of global average temperature and bioenergy in the wider bio-economy. Biomass potential, bioenergy policy targets for 2030 and beyond will also be part of this debate.

Sessions will also address some of the major challenges that the biomass community is facing today such as bioenergy, the production and utilisation of biofuels and different potential biomass feedstocks, including the organic fraction of municipal waste, the recent findings in the field of thermochemical biomass conversion technologies as well as the challenges and opportunities of establishing bioconversion processes for the bio-based economy.

Key approaches for the integration of bioenergy technologies implemented in a flexible manner to provide energy output on demand as well as the latest developments of large-scale industrial plants processing biomass residues and wastes to biofuels and bioenergy will also be presented and discussed.

The conference will conclude by debating how to "achieve the transition from research to industrial implementation". Important issues will be tackled during the conference, such as biomass production for energy integrated into food and feed farming, integration of bioenergy into a bio-based economy and that of bioenergy with other energy sources.

Insight will be working with EUBCE to promote the event and will be covering the issues debated throughout. As a leading dissemination consultancy specialising in this sector, Insight is currently working with several EU-funded projects working in this field including BIOWAYS and now Rehap, an new H2020 effort which aims to provide a systemic approach to reduce energy demand and CO2 emissions of processes that transform agroforestry waste into high added-value products.

15 Jan 2017

The Role of Bioeconomy in the Circular Economy – Taking circularity beyond waste

On 12 January 2017, the European Bioeconomy Alliance (EUBA) participated in a meeting in the European Parliament hosted by MEP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri and MEP Miriam Dalli, Vice-Chairs of the European Parliament Intergroup on “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development”.

The Circular Economy Package is one of the currently most debated files at European level. Stimulating Europe’s transition from a linear towards a circular economic model, and closing the loop of product lifecycles are the driving ambitions of the EU institutions. Furthermore, in recent years the bioeconomy has become a policy priority in Europe, as it encompasses the sustainable production and use of renewable resources to produce every day products from food to car parts. The Commission’s Circular Economy proposal must be seen as an opportunity to link the circular and the bio-based economy.

The meeting started with a little quiz to test participant’s knowledge about the bioeconomy and was followed by a presentation on the EUBA on the links with the circular economy and with EU policy objectives. Some concrete examples of circular bio-based products, such as a coffee cup made from coffee waste, were shown to the participants.

Subsequently, Prof. Erik Matthijs (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven), chair of the 4th SCAR foresight Expert Group, gave his views on an efficient and sustainable bioeconomy, reiterating the need for a coherent integrated policy framework.

More information can be found on the event's webpage.

01 Dec 2016

A biomass boost to Europe’s bioeconomy

The EU is strongly promoting the growth and development of a sustainable European bioeconomy, of which one of its core components would be the greater uptake of biomass – organic materials to produce chemicals, materials, energy, pharmaceuticals, and many other sustainable and innovative products. This shift to biomass is being underpinned by substantial R&D efforts under FP7 and Horizon 2020.

Increasing the production and mobilisation of biomass can have a number of highly positive benefits for the EU’s economy and wider society. These include contributions to the EU’s fight against climate change, ensuring European (and global) food security, building blocks for new and sustainable raw materials, as well as helping to diversify the EU energy sources. The cultivation and sourcing of biomass will also benefit the EU’s long-term economic growth and would be a key generator of new and highly-skilled jobs, all within the broader context of a flourishing and vibrant bioeconomy.

In particular, the agricultural sector will have a crucial role to play in bringing biomass’s full potential to fruition. Many promising avenues are currently being explored and supported by the European Commission, such as the development of industrial crops able to grow on marginal lands, new methods being pioneered on crop diversification, and the growth of multi-purpose crops (i.e. providing both food but also non-food outputs).

As part of the wider picture, it is planned that these efforts will provide the agricultural sector with the knowledge and expertise needed to support resource-efficient and resilient strategies and solutions for biomass production that allow for increased biomass production but without compromising sustainability targets or local ecosystems.

10 Oct 2016

The Rehap project kicks off in Brussels

Rehap partners gathered for the official launch of the project in Brussels on October 5, 2016, where detailed discussion took place about the work programme that will be developed over the next four years.

The meeting was chaired by Rehap’s coordinator Dr. Aitor Barrio of Spanish research organisation Tecnalia. Each Work Package leader was able to present the plan of action for each work flow and inter-dependencies between partners and their activities were explored.

Project partners also heard from a senior director of the SPIRE initiative, a public-private partnership representing innovative process industries in Europe with a mission to ensure the development of enabling technologies and best practices along all the stages of large-scale existing value chain productions that will contribute to a resource efficient process industry.

By collaborating with SPIRE, Rehap will be able to reach a large database of relevant target stakeholders with information about its work and results. Rehap’s dissemination leader Insight Publishers will manage this collaboration and Rehap will appear on the SPIRE website soon.

Partners also heard from the Rehap Project Officer Mr Carmine Marzano, who spoke about the business processes and project management aspects of the next four years. This was a valuable session, touching on the commercial potential of Rehap solutions and the need for effective exploitation of this potential.

Agricultural and forestry residues are being used in many new and innovative ways and this bio-based chemical industry is now showing greater growth than the petrochemical industry. The development of chemicals and materials from lignocellulosic biomass (plant dry matter) is a particularly important area in terms of research, thanks to the abundance of these resources and because they do not compete with the food chain. However, the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass is not easy and still has little commercial viability.

REHAP aims to strengthen the European bio-economy industry by creating novel materials from agricultural and forestry waste, and considering how they can be used commercially in the green building sector.

The project has five technical objectives to do this:

  • Develop methods to convert natural wastes into sustainable polyurethanes. These can be used to develop insulation foams and adhesives, as well as fire retardant products.
  • Develop new high-performance bio-resins to produce eco-friendly wooden panels.
  • Produce eco-friendly sustainable cement with improved properties.
  • Design and assemble an environmentally sustainable and fire resistant construction solution.
  • Demonstrate the development of eco-friendly products and their sustainability and business potential compared to existing solutions.

- Click here to read how this objective will help the EC meet its targets to create sustainable patterns of consumption and production.