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04 Feb.2015

Newly-formed Bioeconomy Alliance calls for EU action

Creating a world-leading bioeconomy in the European Union requires bold political moves. On the occasion of its launch at the European Parliament on 4 February, the European Bioeconomy Alliance (EBA) calls for more predictable policies leading to a long-term strategy for a competitive, dynamic and sustainable bioeconomy in Europe.

Developing the bioeconomy is only feasible if the European Union provides a holistic, coherent and harmonised framework in a range of policy fields: agriculture, forestry, marine, industrial, climate, environment, energy, research, innovation and regional development. The EU needs to act on the following four main fronts in particular, in order to help Europe become a leader in the bioeconomy:

1. Implement priority recommendations from the Lead Market Initiative1on bio-based products. This will not only create new markets and jobs but also stimulate economic recovery, focusing on: access to feedstock, research, development and innovation, access to markets, public procurement and communication.
2. Encourage member states to implement measures to i) increase agricultural and forestry productivity and soil fertility in a sustainable way and ii) facilitate mobilisation and access to renewable feedstock at competitive prices.
3. Address barriers to investment in first commercial operations, such as biorefineries in Europe. The Public Private Partnership on Bio-based Industries is a first step in the right direction and should facilitate and catalyse other European and national and regional financing sources.
4. Engage with civil society, together with farmers, forest owners and industry, to encourage the debate on shaping a more competitive, sustainable bioeconomy for Europe.

EBA’s vision is to help establish a more competitive, innovative, energy-secure and sustainable Europe, separating economic growth from a reliance on imported fossil sources, resource depletion, and environmental impact. EBA fully supports both the European Commission’s work on developing an EU bioeconomy as well as on-going efforts at member state and regional level to implement local strategies. In addition, EBA entirely supports the recent establishment of the European Parliament intergroup on “climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development” and its subgroup on the bioeconomy.

Over the next decades, the bioeconomy will play an increasingly important role in boosting Europe’s economy by revitalising rural and coastal areas and disused industrialised sites while providing more growth and jobs. According to the European Commission, the European bioeconomy is worth nearly €2 trillion and provides more than 22 million jobs to EU citizens2.

The bioeconomy is not a niche sector; it encompasses the sustainable production of renewable resources and their conversion into food, feed, fibres, materials, chemicals and bioenergy through efficient and/or innovative technologies, which provides widespread economic, environmental and societal benefits. Therefore, the EBA calls for the bioeconomy development to be set as a priority in the Commission’s new €315 billion investment plan as well as in national and regional measures, to help ensure Europe’s sustainable economic recovery.


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For more information please contact info@bioeconomyalliance.eu.


Note to the Editor


The EBA is an informal alliance of leading European organisations active in the bioeconomy. Its members are:


• BIC - Bio-based Industries Consortium
• CEFS - European Association of Sugar Producers
• CEPF - Confederation of European Forest Owners
• CEPI - Confederation of European Paper Industries
• COPA - COGECA - European Farmers and European agri-cooperatives
• ePURE - European Renewable Ethanol Producers Association
• EuropaBio - The European Association for Bioindustries
• EUBP - European Bioplastics
• FEDIOL - The EU Vegetable Oil & Proteinmeal Industry
• FTP - Forest-based Sector Technology Platform
• PFP - Primary Food Processors
• Starch Europe - European Starch Industry Association

 

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1. Priority Recommendations from the Lead Market Initiative on bio-based products
2. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions “Innovating for Sustainable Growth: A Bioeconomy for Europe”, 13 February 2012, COM(2012)60 final.
 

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09 Jul.2014

EU and Industry Partners Launch €3.7 Billion Investments in the Renewable Bio-based Economy

EU and industry leaders have today launched a new European Joint Undertaking on Bio-based Industries (BBI). The aim is to trigger investments and create a competitive market for bio-based products and materials sourced locally and "Made in Europe", tackling some of Europe’s biggest societal challenges.


€3.7 billion will be injected into the European economy between 2014 and 2024 - €975 million from the European Commission and €2.7 billion from the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) - to develop an emerging bioeconomy sector. Through financing of research and innovation projects, the BBI will create new and novel partnerships across sectors, such as agriculture, agro-food, technology providers, forestry/pulp and paper, chemicals and energy.


The aim of the BBI is to use Europe's untapped biomass and wastes as feedstock to make fossil-free and greener everyday products. At the heart of it are advanced biorefineries and innovative technologies that will convert renewable resources into sustainable bio-based chemicals, materials and fuels.


Organised in five value chains – that range from primary production to consumer markets – the BBI will help fill the innovation gap between technology development and commercialisation, sustainably realising the potential of bio-based industries in Europe.


Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, said: "The bioeconomy has huge potential that is attracting investments all around the world. With this new partnership, we want to harness innovative technologies to convert Europe’s untapped renewable resources and waste into greener everyday products such as food, feed, chemicals, materials and fuels, all sourced and made in Europe."


Peder Holk Nielsen, CEO of Novozymes, added on behalf of industry partner, the Bio-based Industries Consortium: “The BBI is an unprecedented public-private commitment because of its focus on bringing bio-based solutions to the market. It is an opportunity to deliver sustainable growth in European regions and to reverse the investment trend currently going to other regions of the world.”


The BBI is a shift from a fossil- and imports-based society to increase Europe’s share of sustainable economic growth, and is expected to create tens of thousands of jobs (80% in rural areas), revitalise industries, diversify farmers’ incomes, and reduce GHG emissions by at least 50% in comparison to fossil-based applications.


The BBI will manage the investments in the form of research and innovation projects that are defined in annual Calls for Proposals and implemented across European regions. In line with Horizon 2020 rules, all stakeholders are invited to submit innovative proposals and demonstrate progress beyond state-of-the-art.


First BBI Call for Proposals focuses on high potential / high impact investments


Also launched today is the BBI’s first Call for Proposals. It is a €50 million Call (not including industry contributions, which are expected to reach up to €100 million) that is a first step in a long-term strategy that will deliver tangible social, economic and environmental results. The Call contains a total of 16 topics:

  •  10 Research and Innovation Actions with a total budget of €15 million;
  •   6 Innovation Actions (5 Demo and 1 Flagship) with a total budget of €35 million.

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Note to the Editor


About the BBI
BBI stands for Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking. It is a €3.7 billion Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between the EU and the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC).
The BBI is dedicated to realising the European bioeconomy potential, turning biological residues and wastes into greener everyday products through innovative technologies and biorefineries, which are at the heart of the bioeconomy.
The BBI is about connecting key sectors, creating new value chains and producing a range of innovative bio-based products to ultimately form a new bio-based community and economy.


The partners
The European Commission is the public partner in the PPP. It will support the BBI with a contribution of € 975 million from Horizon 2020, the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation from 2014 to 2020. The activities of the BBI will complement the activities funded under Horizon 2020 and seek to establish synergies where relevant.
The Bio-based Industries Consortium - the industrial partner in the PPP - is constituted by a unique mix of sectors including agriculture, agro-food, technology providers, forestry/pulp and paper, chemicals and energy. It is an association that was established in 2012 to collectively represent the private sector in the BBI. To date, BIC has 70 full industrial members (large, SMEs, clusters) and over 100 associate members (RTOs, universities, associations, technology platforms). And it is still growing.
BIC will support the BBI with a contribution of € 2.7 billion, of which € 975 million will be used to support research and innovation activities, and another € 1.7 will be provided in the form of additional activities.


Funding projects
The BBI will fund projects aimed at:
• Building new value chains based on the development of sustainable biomass collection and supply systems with increased productivity and improved utilisation of biomass feedstock (incl. co- and by-products);
• Unlocking the utilisation and valorisation of waste and lignocellulosic biomass;
• Bringing existing value chains to new levels, through optimised uses of feedstock and industrial side-streams while offering innovative added value products to the market, thus creating a market pull and reinforcing the competitiveness of EU agriculture and forest-based industries.
• Bringing technology to maturity through research and innovation, by upgrading and building demonstration and flagship biorefineries that will process the biomass into a range of innovative bio-based products.


BBI first Call for Proposals


See Fact Sheet on the Work Plan 2014


Contact
Patrick van Leeuwen
Coordinator Public Affairs & Communications
Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC)
Mobile: +32 475 964 772
E: Patrick.vanleeuwen@biconsortium.eu


Emilie Tournier
Policy officer - Communication
DG Research & Innovation
European Commission
T: +32 2 295 06 36
E: emilie.tournier@ec.europa.eu

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07 May.2014

Council adopts legal acts for public and private partnerships

The Council of the European Union has adopted the legal acts for a new generation of public and private partnerships that will allow large-scale, long-term innovation projects to be carried out under the umbrella of Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation framework programme.
The innovation investment package, which implements the Innovation Union strategy to stimulate the creation of growth and jobs, will contribute to pool research and innovation investments up to 22 billion € in sectors facing major societal challenges in the next seven years.

Five public-private partnerships will be set up or further developed as Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs). One of them is the bio-based industries ("BBI"), to develop new and competitive bio-based value chains that replace the need for fossil fuels and have a strong impact on rural development.  The industry is organised in a Bio-based Industries Consortium, with CEPI being one of its members.

The Consortium currently brings together more than 60 European large and small companies, clusters and organisations across technology, industry, agriculture and forestry. They have all committed to invest in collaborative research, development and demonstration of bio-based technologies within the Public Private Partnership (PPP).

You can find out more about it at http://www.biconsortium.eu/

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29 Nov.2013

Two Team Project Report

The European pulp and paper industry has searched for, and now found, breakthrough technology concepts which can enable a competitive future in Europe. The example is a fascinating case study from one of Europe’s energy intensive industries.

At this year’s European Paper Week gathering in Brussels CEPI unveiled eight concepts for breakthrough technologies that provide solutions which can enable the future of the industry in Europe. Each solution offers opportunity to create value, reduce costs, improve margins, radically change sector operations and allow massive decarbonisation.
 

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28 Nov.2013

Breakthrough technologies set to revolutionise paper and pulp industry and provide climate solution

Industry calls for breakthrough technologies to be at the heart of the 2030 climate and energy package.

The European pulp and paper industry has searched for, and now found, breakthrough technology concepts which can enable a competitive future in Europe. The example is a fascinating case study from one of Europe’s energy intensive industries.


The European paper industry supplies a quarter of the global market, employs 185,000 people in 520 companies with a turnover of 75 billion per year.


At this year’s European Paper Week gathering in Brussels, the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI), unveiled eight concepts for breakthrough technologies that provide solutions which can enable the future of the industry in Europe. Each solution offers opportunity to create value, reduce costs, improve margins, radically change sector operations and allow massive decarbonisation.


In March 2011 the European Commission set a challenging target of -80% CO2 reductions by 2050. In November 2011 the paper industry launched its own 2050 Roadmap that analysed how to achieve this decarbonisation target while increasing value in the sector by 50%. One year later, the industry followed up by launching the Two Team Project which brought together the teams who have developed the eight concepts announced today.


In this year-long competition, two teams comprising of scientists, companies, suppliers and outsiders worked to identify viable concepts that would help the industry achieve its objectives. Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard announced the winning team and winning concept from among the eight finalists. She praised the efforts of the sector: “Global markets for resource and energy efficient solutions will grow. CEPI Roadmap 2050 and the ideas prepared in the Two Team Project show that the European pulp and paper industry is 'technology conscious' and ready for the future challenges. It's an example to be followed by other sectors.”


The winning concept is known as “deep eutectic solvents”. It is a brand new technology which, at low temperatures, breaks biomass down into constituent parts which can then be used in the paper and pulp industries. If utilised at scale this technology could radically change pulp and paper production around the world and replace some of the most energy intensive parts of the current process. Deep eutectic solvents have seen remarkable results at the laboratory scale. In the coming months and years, they will need to be further studied and developed.

Commenting on the outcome of the competition, Teresa Presas, CEPI Director General, said: “The results are beyond expectations. While we have announced a winner, we are confident that all the shortlisted concepts have an important role to play. We believe the teams have found the key to the largest industrial breakthroughs in decades in our industry. Now policy must be developed to support the development of these technologies.”


Teresa Presas, CEPI Director General, went on to say: “Policymakers once thought targets could be met with existing technology and behavioural change. That is wrong. Breakthrough technologies are needed to meet low carbon targets. Investments in innovation need to focus on breakthroughs, not on incremental growth. CEPI’s Two Team Project perfectly illustrates this”


Little effort is given to developing breakthrough innovations for the manufacturing sectors of tomorrow and industrial and climate policy have left this area untouched.


The Two Team Project went as far as any industry sector can go in organising an open innovation process and providing pre-competitive leads. It is now up to individual companies to take the next step and develop the concepts. This will need new forms of cooperation, and the support of European and national policy makers. The right conditions must be put in place to enable research, pilot, demonstration and investments.


The announcement of the winner will be followed by a seminar on Thursday 28th November in which eight finalists will have an opportunity to present their concepts to European Paper Week attendees.

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For more information, please contact Daniela Haiduc at d.haiduc@cepi.org, mobile: +32(0)473562936

Download the full Two Team Project report

The eight breakthrough technologies are a combination of new ideas and of ideas that work in other sectors, but have never been utilised for the paper and pulp sector before. They include some cutting edge research findings as well as innovations that have not yet made it to the market. The solutions are not only found in technology, but also in new ways of working and even changes to the way production is measured today. More importantly, they can open up entirely new product portfolios for the future. They are:

Deep Eutectic Solvents – the winner
A ground-breaking discovery: Deep Eutectic Solvents (DES) produced by plants, opens the way to produce pulp at low temperatures and at atmospheric pressure. Using DES, any type of biomass could be dissolved into lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose with minimal energy, emissions and residues. They could also be used to recover cellulose from waste and dissolve ink residues in recovered paper.

Flash condensing with Steam
Waterless paper production? Very nearly. Largely dry fibres would be blasted into a forming zone with agitated steam and condensed into a web using one-thousandth the volume of water used today.

Steam
Using more energy to use less? You read it right. Using the full power of pure steam for superheated steam drying would save energy as most heat could be recovered and recycled. Steam will then be used as fibre carrier for making and forming paper.

Supercritical CO2
Neither gas nor liquid but somewhere in between, Supercritical CO2 (scCO2) is widely used in many applications, to dry vegetable, fruits and flowers, extract essential oils or spices. Suppliers for large consumer items use it to dye textile. Coffee and tea have been decaffeinated with scCO2 since the early 80s. We could use it to dry pulp and paper without the need for heat and steam, and why not dye paper or remove contaminants too, while we’re at it?

100% electricity
Shifting pulp and paper production to energy-efficient technologies using electricity rather than fossil fuel power to generate heat will cut all CO2 emissions as the power sector shifts to renewable energy. The sector would also provide a buffer and storage capacity for the grid, storing energy as hydrogen or pulp.

DryPulp for cure-formed paper
Imagine a papermaking process that uses no water. This is it. Fibres are treated to protect them from shear, and then suspended in a viscous solution at up to 40% concentration. The solution is then pressed out and the thin sheet cured with a choice of additives to deliver the end-product required.

Functional Surface
The key to unlocking greater added value from fewer resources depends on a shift to producing more lightweight products, and selling surface area and functionality rather than weight. Advances in sheet formation and new cocktails of raw materials will lead the way to the lightweight future.

The Toolbox to replicate
What about the great ideas that never make it? Put together a combination of process, material and equipment innovations as a toolbox of stepping stones to 2050 and the pathway becomes clearer, boosting sector and investor confidence.


 

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