EU Bioeconomy Conference 2022

The high-level conference ‘The Bioeconomy – Enabling the European Green Deal in Challenging Times’ will take place on 6 and 7 October in the Charlemagne building in Brussels. In addition, all sessions will also be live-streamed to allow everyone to get involved from anywhere.

We  will present the findings of the EU Bioeconomy Strategy Progress Report, adopted in June 2022 and highlight the role of bioeconomy policy to enhance policy coherence and system thinking. A series of bioeconomy success stories from EU research and innovation will be presented, alongside evidence for a successful implementation of the EU Bioeconomy Strategy. There will also be an opportunity to discuss how the bioeconomy can help to better manage certain trade-offs, by addressing the question of how increasing biomass demand for energy and industrial needs can be matched with increasing climate and biodiversity objectives.

Bioeconomy encompasses all sectors and associated services and investments that produce, use, process, distribute or consume biological resources, including ecosystem services. From the food we eat to the furniture in our house and the clothes we wear, the bioeconomy, as one of the Union’s largest sectors, is already present in our daily lives. Bioeconomy can be the natural enabler and result of the European Green Deal transformation.

Explore bioeconomy success stories with us and join the discussion about the next steps in EU bioeconomy policy action!

More information & registration

BIND4.0 opened international call for innovative technology startups

BIND4.0 (Basque Industry Open Innovation Platform) was launched in the Basque Country, an Industry hub with a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem, in order to connect innovative startups worldwide with industry leading companies. BIND 4.0 facilitates the development of transformative Industry 4.0 projects while providing unparalleled business support due to the region’s strategic long term commitment to Industry and Innovation.

BIND4.0 has a yearly call for innovative technology startups in the fields of Intelligent industry, Clean energy & sustainability, Health and Food. 2022 registration is now open.

Benefits for the successful candidates include:

  • Validate and implement disruptive solutions
  • Receive one or more paid industry 4.0 projects
  • Meet 80+ industry leading potential clients
  • No equity is taken
  • 24 weeks of high impact mentoring
  • Access 20+ specialised VC investors
  • Get immersed in the Basque industrial hub

More information

About BIND 4.0

BIND 4.0 is a public-private initiative funded by the Basque Government and the Department of Economic Development Sustainability and Environment through the SPRI Group. The SPRI Group is the Basque Government’s business development agency leading and supporting the local entrepreneurship ecosystem through its UpEuskadi platform.

Mass Madera: a new network to promote building with industrialised solid wood in Spain

The Mass Madera network has recently been presented in Madrid, Spain, with the aim of creating a common space to facilitate and promote the construction of green buildings, towards the decarbonisation of architecture.

The first event of the network brought together a wide range of representatives from architecture, the forest sector and governments to advocate wood as a sustainable building material for the present and the future. Among the guest speakers was the EFI’s Mediterranean Facility (EFIMED), which highlighted how the use of industrialised solid wood is a relevant factor for the bioeconomy.

This meeting was meant as an alignment session to set the direction of this initiative. The official launch will take place in Barcelona in October during the EFI 2022 Annual Conference.

More information

Call for wood construction innovations

The Bioregions Facility has kicked off its second series of Forestry Speed Dating events on the theme of Bio-based solutions for sustainable construction. After summer, the matchmaking event will continue with its ordinary format: Two or three innovation owners present their wood construction innovations that focus on a common topic. Examples of such focus topics include: Bio-based wood treatment; Wood-based insulation; Wood-based glues; Modular construction; Digitalisation in wood construction; Monitoring wooden buildings; Circularity in wood construction; Use of hardwoods; Low maintenance solutions; Fire-safety; etc. After the presentations, the attendees can connect with the innovation owners in break-out rooms and together they can seek potential collaborations.

Does your research organisation, startup or company own an interesting innovation that can benefit from connecting with experts in the wood construction ecosystem?

Then we are looking for you!

We still have some presentation slots available for the Forestry Speed Dating events after summer. Therefore we highly invite you to express your interest to present your innovation and seek collaborations by filling in this form or sending an email to siebe.briers[@]efi.int.

Innovation, forest products and circular bioeconomy

A new study by the European Forest Institute and SweTree Technologies points out to the many innovative forest products developed in the circular bioeconomy. Novel products that are most likely to increase in market size are CLT and wood-based textile fibres. Among the new products, wood foam, glycols, bioplastics (from tall oil and wood sugars), lignin-based adhesives and wood-based composites are the ones that have potential to enter the market in the next 20 years.

For their new study, Dr Mariana Hassegawa from EFI and her co-authors from the BioMonitor project identified and reviewed a wide range innovative forest products in the EU. They found a rich set of intermediate and end-products that are being developed with many potential uses. These products span from chemical compounds to bioplastics to large items such as building materials. The growth of companies producing the new products and their increasing share of the market could form a significant force in EU bioeconomy.

With these forest products entering the market or gaining more popularity, the demand for woody biomass is expected to increase in the future. While most of the reviewed products do not require high-quality feedstock, some could benefit from forest management strategies such as tree breeding to improve selected wood traits. Other types of feedstocks originating from by-products and waste streams (e.g., sawdust, black liquor), which are currently mostly used for energy purposes within the industry, could become a limiting factor in the manufacture of certain innovative products, as it would result in an increased competition by different industries for the same material. “Although there may be more competition for feedstock in the future, the use of woody biomass for products and materials has the advantage of storing carbon and for avoiding greenhouse gas emissions through so called substitution effects as compared to using biomass for energy purposes“, says Dr Hassegawa.

The ease of market introduction of innovative products relies heavily on the products’ ability to take advantage of existing value chains. In general, many products reviewed in this study are considered drop-in, which is an advantage regarding market introduction. This is because products that require adjustments to production lines or methods are less likely to get into the market without strong external drivers that push for bio-based alternatives. Thus, the economic viability and the market expansion of forest products could be encouraged to a certain extent by EU policies. Other measures that could possibly contribute to alleviating the difficulties encountered during the development and manufacture of forest products are reducing bureaucracy, increasing the support for pilot-scale to full-scale production, and increasing subsidies for bio-based alternatives.

Full reference:
Hassegawa, M.; Karlberg, A.; Hertzberg, M.; Verkerk, P.J. 2022. Innovative forest products in the circular bioeconomy [version 2; peer review: 2 approved]. Open Research Europe, 2:19. https://doi.org/10.12688/openreseurope.14413.2

Source: European Forest Institute

Photo: mrks_v / Fotolia

Forest bioeconomy highlighted as opportunity for the Basque Country in Baskegur General Assembly

The Basque association of the forestry and wood sector, Baskegur, held its general assembly on 22 June. After the event, they held a session to reflect on the market situation and future challenges. There, bioeconomy was highlighted to provide great opportunities in the Basque Country.

As the Basque Deputy Minister for Economic Development, Sustainability and the Environment, Bittor Oroz, tweeted “The forest & wood sector in the Basque Country is the main source of natural, renewable raw materials and the basis of the circular bioeconomy. With sustainable forest management, it contributes to the Basque Green Deal strategy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions”.

High-level support for more wood in the built environment to tackle climate change

The significant role for sustainable wood as a strategy to tackle climate change was discussed at he conference “Reconstructing the future for people and planet” on 9-10 June at the Vatican City. Here, EFI’s Director Marc Palahí met the President of the European Commission, Dr. Ursula von der Leyen.

The conference was attended by a selected group of scientists, architects, policy makers and NGO representatives, and discussed the need for a radical transformation in the ways we organize, construct, and inhabit our buildings and cities. President von der Leyen, in her speech, reflected on the role of the New European Bauhaus “not just in finding inspiring solutions to climate change, but also in helping to improve people’s lives in the way we design and build our homes and cities”. She also remarked on the importance of bringing back nature to cities as well as on the benefits of using wood in building construction.

EFI Director Marc Palahí reflected during his conference speech on the transformative potential of forests, forest management and forest-based solutions as basis for reimagining our cities and our economic model.

More info – European Forest Institute

More info – CEI-Bois

Photo: Gabriella Clare Marino/PAS

Timber Construction Award @ Solar Decathlon Europe in Wuppertal

The Solar Decathlon Europe 21/22 (SDE 21/22) is the university competition for sustainable building and living in cities. You can now watch the official video that features the Timber Construction Award, awarded June 19th at Solar Decathlon Europe in Wuppertal, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It shows impressively the potential of timber in sustainable building for the future and the potential of reuse of timber structures for the circular bioeconomy.

Timber Construction Award Solar Decathlon 2021 and 2022.

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Key challenges and innovation opportunities for Wood Construction

Wood construction is seen as a prominent solution to reduce and reverse climate change as it is a way to capture and store carbon emissions long-term. But wood construction also faces many challenges. On 17 June 2022, the Bioregions Facility kicked off its second Forestry Speed Dating series on the topic of Bio-based solutions for sustainable construction. The introductory event featured three speakers from different positions in the wood construction value chain. The speakers succeeded to give a very clear insight into the challenges of wood construction and how innovation provides opportunities to overcome these challenges. Below, you can access the three presentations together with the clipped recordings.

Main challenges of Slovenia’s biggest timber building – InnoRenew CoE

InnoRenew CoE is an independent research institute that targets renewable materials and sustainable buildings, specifically innovative approaches to wood and its use, with the goal of transferring scientific knowledge into industrial practice. Through hands-on wood construction experience at their own facilities, InnoRenew CoE is very well-placed to outline the challenges in wood construction.

By Iztok Šušteršič. Learn more

Presentation (PDF)

Recording

Demountable timber buildings with the use of carpentry joints – Osoltre

Oslotre specialises in timber architecture and construction technology. The company has more than 12 years of experience in timber architecture, timber engineering, assembly and production of CLT elements. Oslotre has offices in Oslo (Norway) and Melbourne (Australia) working mainly with office buildings and multi-story residential housing projects in timber.

By Jørgen Tycho. Learn more

Presentation (PDF)

Recording

Sustainable wood construction value chains: Linking product innovations and regional stakeholders in the Basajaun project – InnovaWood

InnovaWood is the main European network for wood science, technology and education. With 60+ member organisations in 28 European countries, it is a large living community of professionals in research, development, innovation, and education in the forest-based sector. The overall objective is to foster innovation in the value chain and related research and education, from forestry to wood products, to furniture, interiors and design of buildings by providing a forum to the membership.

By Uwe Kies. Learn more

Presentation (PDF)

Recording

Bioeconomy perceptions in North Karelia

The Bioregions Facility launched its Bioeconomy Perceptions Regional Survey in North Karelia in the period September-November 2021 in the local language, Finnish. The Survey was targeted at different groups within government and industry, to understand how they perceive the bioeconomy, its benefits, and its challenges. More specifically, the Survey aims at achieving six target outcomes: i) understand how business and policy actors perceive the bioeconomy; ii) revisit value chain priorities and related communication efforts; iii) identify barriers & supporting conditions; iv) assess “willingness to engage” with the bioeconomy; v) get insights on how to improve collaboration with government & industry and; vi) find key leverage points for bioeconomy development by identifying overlaps with other policy areas. Here we present six key highlights, one per target outcome, of the Survey in North Karelia.

  • Respondents generally perceived bioeconomy as promising, and specifically to address environmental challenges. Respondents see the contribution to energy transition, and to a low-carbon economy, as the most relevant positive impact of the bioeconomy.
  • North Karelia business and policy actors suggest that nature-based tourism, bioenergy and wood construction are the bioeconomy sectors with highest potential for growth in North Karelia.
  • Limited co-operation among different stakeholders (policy, business, etc.) is perceived as the most important barrier for bioeconomy development. Several supporting conditions were rated in between important and extremely important, namely investment in innovation, availability of scientific information, public procurement programmes and adequate regulation.
  • Both government and industry respondents indicated that their sector or department is willing to develop the bioeconomy.
  • Government and industry respondents felt very similar about who is responsible for different tasks in moving the bioeconomy in North Karelia forward. Both groups indicated that they are equally responsible for investments in research, development, and innovation and for ensuring positive environmental and social impacts. In addition, both groups emphasised that the government is more responsible in communicating and promoting the bioeconomy among the general public.
  • According to respondents, bioeconomy has strong goal alignment with environment related policy areas, especially climate change mitigation and clean energy. Other policy areas with very high overlap with bioeconomy are biodiversity conservation, circular economy, and rural development. Bioeconomy was considered to have less goal alignment with social and economic policy areas.