FIRE-RES Open Innovation Challenge now open: support available for developing, demonstrating and piloting solutions to combat extreme wildfires in Europe

Europe is facing an increasing number of extreme wildfires, often with devastating consequences for people and the environment. These fires affect southern Europe as well as central European and Nordic countries.

As the limits of fire suppression-centred strategies become evident, practitioners, researchers, and policymakers increasingly recognise the need to develop novel approaches that expand the scope of work in this field, including the root causes and the impacts of Extreme Wildfires.

Working towards greater resilience to such extreme fires, FIRE-RES and its partners launched the FIRE-RES Open Innovation Challenge for applications aiming to address the most important challenges faced in the prevention of and preparation for, in response to, and enabling recovery after extreme wildfires.

The 11 Living Labs of FIRE-RES were assigned to identify these most pressing challenges, grouped into seven themes and 17 challenges: ‘Risk Communication and Awareness’, ‘Engagement and Empowerment’, ‘Training and Education’, ‘Management Before, During and After Extreme Wildfire Events’, ‘Monitoring’, ‘Forecasting and Decision Support’, ‘Policy and Governance’. Explore all themes and challenges here.

The Open Innovation Challenge is open to innovators, entrepreneurs, technologists, researchers, businesses of all sizes, experts, and all forward-thinking minds to step up and submit cutting-edge solutions addressing the challenges experienced by different stakeholders coping with the risks of extreme wildfires.

It is seeking innovative solutions of all kinds, for instance, technological, social or business-related: products, services, platforms, processes, procedures, best practices, etc. Solutions at all development stages are welcome, from early ideas, methods, and prototypes to close-to-market or market-ready services and products.

Successful applicants with early-stage solutions, such as ideas, will be supported to develop their solutions. Later-stage solutions, such as prototypes, close-to-market, or market-ready solutions, will be supported to demonstrate, pilot and upscale their solutions. This will include brokerage of on-the-ground contacts and testing of their solutions’ feasibility in the realistic contexts of the Living Labs. Successful applicants will receive mentoring and in-kind support as well as, in selected cases, financial support. For the latter, a total of €168.000 is available for this Open Innovation Challenge, with individual entries being eligible for up to €5.000 for demonstration activities and up to €16.000 for piloting activities.

The FIRE-RES Open Innovation Challenge is open until 19 November 2023 (23:59 CET). For full details, please visit the website here.

Sign up for the FIRE-RES Newsletter and receive the latest updates about our activities and the Open Innovation Challenge here.

For questions about applications, please contact:

Follow us on social media: X, LinkedIn and Facebook.

The project leading to this application has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101037419.

FIRE-RES Open Innovation Challenge supporters

Exploring collaboration: Basque Country delegation’s visit to EFI

On 31 August 2023, a delegation from the Basque Country, Spain, visited the European Forest Institute (EFI) headquarters and the Bioregions Facility in Joensuu, Finland. The visit was part of a trip the delegation made to Helsinki and Joensuu to strengthen their relations and seek collaboration opportunities with different institutions working on the bioeconomy.

Robert Mavsar, interim director of EFI, introduced EFI’s work and strategic role in research and innovation, followed by Diana Tuomasjukka, who highlighted the ongoing projects and activities done in the Bioeconomy Programme to Estibaliz Hernáez, vice-minister of Technology, Innovation and Digital Transformation, Bittor Oroz, vice-minister of Fisheries, Agriculture and Food Policy, Leire Barañano, general director of Neiker, and Imanol Goenaga, advisor for environment and sustainability.

The Basque government has an ambitious bioeconomy roadmap. It aims to make the region a reference in the bioeconomy, promoting the generation and consolidation of high-value economic activities based on the optimal exploitation of regional resources.

Research and support

The delegation visited Luke’s wood technology lab and Metla’s wooden building. Photo by: Ekonomiaren Garapena via Twitter.

Presentations were followed by vivid discussions on the challenges that developing a sustainable bioeconomy has in the Basque Country and the rest of Europe, such as including biodiversity and social responsibility in industries, the role that perceptions and beliefs play in forest planning and management, and the need of models and tools that analyse ecological, economic and social aspects.

“The Basque Country counts with a lot of research information; what we need to develop further are models that can make information useable in a practical way. Effectively communicating the findings is also crucial to move from a traditional mindset to a more science-based one,” said Leire Barañano.

The work of EFI in providing tools that link knowledge to action and in communicating science to the population and industries is crucial in this scenario.

The Basque delegation at Luke. Photo by: Andrea Alfaro.

Lauri Sikanen, principal scientist and group manager of Luke—an organisation expert in the sustainable use of renewable natural resources—presented Luke’s research programmes and how they foster the forest-based bioeconomy in Finland.

Basque Country moving forward

The Basque delegation was received by Seppo Tossavainen, Business Specialist, and Kirsi Svard, Business Coach, at Business Joensuu, where they had the opportunity to learn more about the organisation’s development services and Forest Joensuu Innovation Ecosystems.

Companies supported by Business Joensuu—Hiil and WoodSense from Mielikki Nordic—pitched their solutions. They discussed the favourable conditions that Business Joensuu and the bioeconomy ecosystem in North Karelia provide for the development of forest-based companies.

Basque Country delegation at Arbonaut
The Basque Country at Arbonaut with Tuomo Kauranne. Photo by: Ekonomiaren Garapena via Twitter.

During the afternoon, they met Pekka Äänismaa, director and stakeholder relations at Metsäkeskus – Finnish Forest Centre, who presented the Centre’s work. Tuomo Kauranne, president of Arbonaut, gave a presentation on Living with fire: How to mitigate forest fires with digital twins of the forest.

Bittor Oroz, vice-minister of Fisheries, Agriculture and Food Policy, expressed his gratitude for the satisfactory relations that the Basque Country has with EFI as well as the membership of the region in the Bioregions Facility.

Featured image: Minna Korhonen by EFI

Boosting innovation in European bioeconomy

Originally published on Open access government

New projects to drive innovation within the European bioeconomy being funded by the CBE JU are outlined here

The Circular Bio-based Europe Joint Undertaking (CBE JU), a €2 billion public-private partnership advancing competitive circular bio-based industries in Europe, has signed its first 21 grant agreements this year.

Two hundred ninety-three beneficiaries from 27 countries will receive €116 million in funding to develop new bio-based products and materials, first-of-their-kind production facilities, and innovative processes.

The new projects will boost the competitiveness and increase the resilience of Europe’s bio-based economy by using often-underutilised resources to produce consumer products and industrial solutions to replace fossil-based ones. This will reduce the EU’s reliance on strategic imports and create new value chains, business opportunities, and green jobs, particularly in rural areas.

Two new biorefineries for high-value products

Two new flagship projects will set up innovative industrial biorefineries to support the development of the European bio-based economy, focusing on the food and feed sectors.


SUSTAINEXT(1) will turn an existing production plant into a circular biorefinery that will produce healthy plant- based extracts for food, food supplements, animal feed, fertiliser, cosmetics, and chemicals. The biorefinery will create new jobs in Extremadura, a rural region of Spain, and bring value to waste from food industries.

The proposed industrial model boasts the integration of twelve value chains that span from primary producers to end-users. “The model is easily replicable, adaptable to feedstocks of varying types and quality and able to run on renewable energy”, highlighted the Project Coordinator José María Pinilla.(1)


SYLPLANT(2) will build a plant near Lyon, France, producing 10,000 tonnes of protein-rich food and feed ingredients annually. The project will contribute to replacing animal proteins and other high-carbon-footprint plant-based protein sources, such as soy, with novel high-quality ingredients deriving from agricultural and forestry residues, leading to healthier and more sustainable diets for animals and humans.

The project will develop several innovative, nutritious, sustainable food products, pet food, and fish farming feed prototypes containing the ingredient. The CBE JU- funded SYLPLANT project “will draw up a roadmap to build even larger plants, making the vision of creating food from underused local resources a reality,” said the Project Coordinator Marc Chevrel.(2)

Advancing green solutions for many bioeconomy sectors

CBE JU funding will also make possible the development of products and applications for a range of other sectors, including transport, construction, packaging, and textiles. Among the resources that will be used are agricultural residues, paper production side-streams and municipal solid waste, terrestrial and aquatic plants, and wood residues.

Actions range from cultivating biomass on marginal land to produce bio-based fibres and soil revitalisation to capturing CO2 emissions from wastewater treatment plants and transforming them into high-performance plastics.

Some examples of the new projects include:


ROBOCOOP-EU(3) and BRILIAN(4), with €4.7 million and €4.8 million in funding, respectively, will tap into agricultural waste streams to develop new cooperative regional business models. This will offer new commercial opportunities in rural areas, leading to job creation and a more diverse bio-based product portfolio.

A university and a research centre lead the projects, integrating primary producers and commercial companies, to diversify farmers’ sources of income and reduce economic risks.


SynoProtein(5) has been granted €5 million to formulate a sustainable process that will convert residue from sawmills into single-cell proteins for fish feed and produce biochar for animal feed while capturing CO2.

Suppose this ground-breaking circular system developed by a Danish small business is proven effective. In that case, it has the potential to recover 160,000 tonnes of forestry residue and produce 120,000 tonnes of fish and animal feed annually. This could be valued at €175 million if implemented on a large scale.(5)


REDYSIGN(6) will use €4.4 million of CBE JU funding to create wood-based fresh meat packaging containing sensors to prevent premature food spoilage and an efficient recycling process. The project consortium has established collaborations between organisations from technological companies to supermarket chains to develop a viable, bio-based, circular substitute for fresh meat packaging.(6)


THERMOFIRE(7) has been awarded approximately €4.5 million to produce bio-based, flame-retardant materials for the automotive, aerospace and textile sectors using feedstocks such as cellulose and flax. The materials will be lighter and less expensive than their fossil-based counterparts while maintaining the performance levels required in demanding conditions.

In economic terms, the CBE JU-funded THERMOFIRE project aims to lower the cost of flame-retardant materials by shortening production times and increasing the market share of bio-based composites.(7)

Take a look at all the new projects and discover how CBE JU funding is advancing a competitive European bioeconomy.

Ground-breaking production at various scales

The new CBE JU-funded projects are split into four actions, encompassing activities and tasks ranging from establishing ground-breaking production facilities to developing coordination and support systems.

  • Two Flagship Innovation Actions will receive €28 million to build first-of-their-kind industrial-scale facilities.
  • Eight Innovation Actions will obtain €41 million to establish demonstration-scale production systems and business models.
  • Ten Research and Innovation Actions will receive
    €44 million to develop new materials, products and ingredients from renewable and biological resources.
  • One Coordination and Support Action has been granted €2.9 million to develop digital monitoring tools to assess bio-based industrial systems’ environmental and social impact.

Innovation in European bioeconomy

CBE JU Acting Executive Director Nicoló Giacomuzzi-Moore said: “I am confident that these
new projects will make a vital contribution to advancing the bio-based sector in Europe and driving forward the transition to a sustainable, resource-efficient and circular bio-based economy.

I am also very pleased that, with these grant agreements, we can strengthen some European bioeconomy areas, such as producing bio-based alternative food and feed ingredients, flame-retardant materials, smart food packaging, and alternative bio-based platform chemicals.

Lastly, I would like to highlight the high SME participation in the CBE JU projects – around 40% of all participants – which confirms the important role of SMEs in driving innovation to the market in the bio-based sector.”



Bioeconomy this week: wildfire events, wood construction and innovation

In this bioeconomy week’s edition, learn more about the wildfire events increasing across Europe, open surveys seeking feedback, publications delving into wood construction and exciting upcoming events to attend.

Get the Bioregions Facility news update—subscribe to our InfoFlash to stay updated on innovations, events and news related to the forest bioeconomy.

Adapting to climate change

Firefighters battle a wild fire
Europe has experienced a significant increase in wildfires in recent years, resulting in devastating consequences for ecosystems and human communities. Image by By zorandim75 –

A recent study evaluated all fires that occurred 2007–2017 in Italy and the most relevant drivers of fire regimes such as climate, weather conditions, socioeconomic conditions, and land use change, showing that areas where active management has been implemented in recent years have experienced reduced fire impacts.

It’s crucial to understand wildfire connections to climate change and take includes taking action. The Association of Independent Firefighting Experts (SNEP in Polish) organised this year a forest camp. Fire management and capacity-building experts provided participants with hands-on experience managing wildfire events.

Science, civil society and policymakers, so how is Brussels getting ready? In this article, fire experts explain the danger of leaving forests unmanaged, and even though the EU has committed to improving wildfire prevention and monitoring, legislation to support management activities has been delayed.

Earlier this summer, the European Forest Institute (EFI) published the report “Key recommendations on wildfire prevention in the Mediterranean.” This report focuses on planning, developing sustainable financial mechanisms to ensure the implementation and continuation of wildfire management measures and understanding the complex reality of wildfires and international cooperation.

Raise your voice

person using laptop filling out and online survey
By Thapana_Studio –

The Horizon 2020 RESONATE Project has developed a survey to be carried out with stakeholders from the forest value chain and governing authorities. The survey asks participants’ preferences for climate change adaptation measures along the forest value chains—the survey is available in seven languages.

The FIRE-RES Project is working on a Fire Education Platform, an online tool to share best practices while informing and educating stakeholders about wildfires. To ensure the platform meets the needs of potential users, a survey has been designed to gather feedback from individuals.

Wood for construction

Wood is a sustainable construction material since it’s climate-smart, fast to build, energy efficient and renewable. Image by Pickawood on Unsplash.

Innovation dynamics in multi-storey-wood construction in Sweden and Finland” publication aims to reconstruct the processes leading to innovations and breakthroughs in the market. Interviews from a historical overview of some main events and drivers decisive for the industry’s development to more recent developments.

Circularity concepts in wood construction” publication presents the advantages of wood materials for construction and discusses wood construction practices from the perspective of circularity, sustainability and climate change mitigation.

The study “Consumer housing choices among residents living in wooden multi-storey buildings” tries to understand consumer choices with newly built wooden multi-storey construction (WMC) apartments through thematic interviews of residents and property managers in five cities across Finland and Sweden.

Bioeconomy – Events

bioeconomy upcoming events
Image: Microsoft Designer.

The European Bioeconomy Scientific Forum on 6–8 September will focus on promoting the transformation towards a sustainable bioeconomy.

At the Future Forest Forum on 8–9 September 2023, participants will discuss new forest management and innovation methods.

EFI Annual Conference on 20–22 September 2023 will celebrate EFI’s 30th anniversary and discuss the “European forests and forest science: transition to the future.”

Event 1 – Forestry Speed Dating on 21 September 2023 will explore the importance of accommodating diverse participants, from landowners to enterprises, in carbon markets.

See more events here.

Featured image: By Marharyta –

Exploring carbon market solutions: Forestry Speed Dating new series

Forests capture and store carbon are crucial in mitigating climate change. Carbon farming, which applies land management practices that increase the amount of carbon stored in soil and vegetation, is an excellent strategy to exploit forests’ potential to contribute to climate goals.

Still, incentives to promote adopting climate-friendly practices need to be widespread across Europe.

The forest carbon market has become economically attractive for businesses to offset emissions and for landowners to support them financially while contributing to forest conservation and restoration. This fast market development raises the necessity to secure sustainability across the chain.

This requires implementing and scaling up solutions that measure and monitor carbon accurately, support small and medium landowners, create rigorous verification schemes and incentivise fair market conditions.

To promote such innovations, the European Forest Institute – Bioregions Facility has launched the third series of Forestry Speed Dating (FSD), an online event series to support innovative solutions in the bioeconomy. This series will explore how to unlock the potential of forest carbon markets with innovative solutions.

The solutions will be presented in a four-event format September–December 2023, ranging from carbon measuring, monitoring, and reporting to carbon marketplaces.

Registration for the Unlocking forest carbon markets – Event 1 of the FSD 3rd Series on 14 September 2023 at 14:00 CEST (new date) is now open; meet and connect with Skoog and Treemetrics innovators and learn more about their solutions, ask questions and find ways for collaboration—don’t miss out and register now.

Unlocking forest carbon markets – Event 1 of FSD 3rd Series

Be a beta tester for the Bioeconomy Solutions Platform

What’s the Forest Bioeconomy in Action Platform?

The Bioregions Facility invites beta testers to explore the pilot version of the Forest Bioeconomy in Action Platform—a community to discover solutions, learn from knowledge, and keep track of news related to carbon farming.

Innovative solutions are crucial to the development of the bioeconomy, and the platform can contribute to it. Initially, the solutions are focused on carbon farming, but the goal is to expand it to various forest bioeconomy topics.

The Facility is working with Ubuntoo, an environmental solutions platform provider, to search for relevant solutions. The platform is powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and human curation, but users can also recommend solutions from other sources.

Solutions platform

The platform has about 100 solutions waiting to be explored, commented and shared. Users can filter the solutions based on “location,” “stage of development,” “seeking opportunity,” “solution theme,” and “organisation type.”

They can read an overview of the solution, check the organisation’s key contact, leave comments, and upvote or downvote the solution.

A special feature is creating a collection with chosen solutions, like a Spotify playlist but for project solutions. This collection has a unique link, and users can share the page with others.

Different knowledge products can be found in the “Learn” section, e.g., EFI publications, peer-review papers and other materials. The “News” and “Events” sections are useful for staying updated with the latest news and upcoming events.

Explore the solutions

Here’s a preview of two solutions:

Solution: SustainCERT

Overview: SustainCERT is a climate impact verifier that offers efficient and scalable certification through its technology-driven platform. A recognised authority for the Gold Standard for Global Goals, SustainCERT ensures that certified climate actions align with sustainable development goals.

SustainCERT overview on the solutions platform.

Solution: Zerticarbon app

Overview: Zerticarbon, a company that offers certified carbon sink solutions using blockchain technology, is dedicated to advancing climate-smart forestry solutions, connecting forest owners with companies interested in neutralising carbon emissions. The solution has recently won the Bioregions’ Open Innovation Challenge.

Zerticarbon app overview on the solutions platform.

Become a beta tester

Are you interested in becoming a beta tester? Fill out the request form now. Selected candidates will receive an email from the Bioregions Facility to register for the platform.

As a beta tester for the Forest Bioeconomy in Action Platform, you have direct access to the latest solutions applicable to the European market. Join the movement and help us make a difference in the bioeconomy.

Do you have any questions or suggestions? Email us at

Here’s what you can do on the solutions platform:

Create your account

Once you receive an email with a link to access the platform:

  • Click the “Click here to register to the platform” button in the registration email. This will take you to the page to create your login credentials.
  • Follow the instructions, fill in your email address and create your password.

Log in to the platform

Log into your account using the email address and password you used to create your account.

If you missed the initial invite or it has expired, simply visit Forest Bioeconomy in Action and click “forgot password” to create a new password and log in.

In your profile

On the platform, click the triple bar icon at the upper right corner of the menu:

  • Update your name or picture in “My Profile.”
  • Check other greenhouses and collections in “My Greenhouses.”
  • Click “Take the Tour” to learn more about the platform.
  • You can also “Change Password” or “Invite a Member.”

Discover solutions

In the navigation bar, click Discover:

  • Search solutions by clicking on the button “All Filters” or
  • Use the search bar using keywords, topics, or specific names.
  • Change the view to “Map” or “Grid.”

Inside a solution:

  • Read the overview and leave comments.
  • Upvote or downvote solutions.
  • Check key contacts and visit the original website.

Create a new collection:

  • Inside each solution, you can see the “+Collection” button at the bottom of the filter section.
  • Click “+Collection.”
  • Add selected solution to a collection, or
  • Create a new collection.


In the navigation bar, click Learn → Knowledge, Events, News to browse and search for other knowledge products, latest news and upcoming events.


In the navigation bar, click Connect → Members to see other members or (You can tag other members in the comment section when reading a solution.) → Forum to start a discussion with other members.


In the navigation bar, click Recommend+ to suggest a new solution. Our team will review the information provided and add it to the website if it fits our requirements.


After using the platform, we will send a Feedback form requesting users to share their thoughts and help us improve the platform.


Do you have any questions or suggestions? Email us at

See you on the platform!

PEFC Spain and Sylvestris Group join forces to encourage sustainable forestry management and CO2 absorption

Originally published on PEFC España

By Araceli Muñoz García

This post is also available in Español

PEFC España (Spanish Association for Sustainable Forestry) and Grupo Sylvestris, two leaders in sustainable forestry management and environmental conservation have signed a collaboration agreement with the aim of undertaking joint projects for the sustainability of Spanish forests, as well as creating a methodology to certify CO2 absorption within the PEFC System. This alliance is a milestone in the fight against climate change and encouraging the responsible use of forestry resources.

The agreement establishes a series of projects in which both entities will work together, such as the analysis of certified areas in which plantings promoted by Sylvestris have been carried out, the restoration of certified areas damaged by fire or pests, and the study of the possible development of a methodology for certifying the absorption of CO2.

On the other hand, Sylvestris is committed to collaborate with PEFC Spain in the promotion of the certification of forest lands in which it carries out plantings, in order to guarantee their long-term management and to provide information on PEFC forest certification to forest managers.

In addition, both parties agreed to establish a joint communication strategy to disseminate the SYLVESTRIS-PEFC España agreement, within the Motor Verde initiative, promoting the agreement as an alliance.

Enrique Enciso, CEO of Grupo Sylvestris and Ana Belén Noriega, General Secretary of PEFC España. Image: Cortesy of PEFC España

To summarise, the signing of this collaboration agreement between PEFC España and Grupo Sylvestris is of great importance for the forestry sector and fight against climate change. The joint efforts and collaboration between both bodies will allow projects to be undertaken to benefit forests, the environment and society as a whole. This agreement highlights the importance of cooperation between different actors in the field of sustainability and conservation of natural resources, and lays the foundations for a greener and more sustainable future.

Sylvestris Group and PEFC España logos

Bioeconomy Innovation Day 2023 explores multifunctional forestry and bio-based construction

To foster a stronger bioeconomy development, innovation is key to accelerating progress towards a circular, carbon-neutral economy. Bioeconomy researchers, policymakers and entrepreneurs help shape bioeconomy innovations that have the potential to bring about sustainable and transformative change for the forest-based sector.

On 4 October 2023, the European Forest InstituteBioregions Facility, Neiker and the Government of Basque Country, Spain, join to discuss pressing issues on sustainable and multifunctional forestry, advanced biomaterials and bio-based construction at the Bioeconomy Innovation Day 2023.

Financers, policymakers, and key actors in the bioeconomy innovation ecosystem, from research, business, forest management, industry, and civil society, will meet and explore new opportunities to drive the green transition. 

Start-ups, entrepreneurs, researchers, NGOs, venture and impact investors, all bioeconomy stakeholders, and society are invited to submit their innovations for a chance to pitch their solutions at the Bioeconomy Innovation Day in Bilbao, Spain.

View the agenda here (last update: 22 August 2023).

Bioeconomy innovation agenda

Looking for more events? Explore our Events page and add your favourites to your calendar.

Agenda for Wednesday (4 October 2023) – CET

8:15 | Registration

9:00 | Welcoming words

9:10 | Regenerative forestry: Boosting economic growth and natural assets side by side

Timo Lehesvirta, Leading Nature Expert, Metsä Group

9:35 | Why Investing in the European Bioeconomy?

Ananya Manna, Investment Director, European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF)

10:00 | Introduction to the Sessions and Networking Methodology

Leire Barañano, General Director, Neiker

10:05 | Session 1 Sustainable and Multifunctional Forestry

10:30 | Challenges and Opportunities for European Forestry

Bart Muys, Division Forest, Nature and Landscape, KU Leuven, Belgium

  • Zerticarbon 
  • HAZI
  • Fortra  
  • Feedback  

11:30 | Networking & coffee break

12:00 | Session 2 Advanced Bio-based Materials 

Policy and Market Trends in the Material Use of Biomass

Michael Carus, Managing Director, nova-Institute GmbH

  • Evolgene
  • Axalko
  • Life Biorefformed 
  • Feedback  

13:25 | The Basque Green Deal and the Bioeconomy

Department of Economic Development, Sustainability and Environment

13:50 | Lunch and networking

14:50 | Session 3: A Boost for the Forest Bioeconomy Innovation Lessons from European Regions

Presentation of best cases of the acceleration and support of the bioeconomy in European regions:  

  • Irish Bioeconomy Foundation
  • Enkarterri
  • BioBoost
  • Q&A 

15:50 | Degustation of local wine or local products & Networking 

17:00 | End of the Bioeconomy Innovation Day 

How alternative proteins and new ways of forest valorisation can help the environment?

The BIT Congress (Congrés BIT in Catalan) will be held on 28–29 September 2023 in Lleida, Spain. This year’s theme is focused on “special alternative protein and forest valorisation.”

The Congrés BIT 2023 Lleida Edition brings together experts and entrepreneurs from the bioeconomy industry to explore the latest innovations and business projects. Aiming to strengthen the ecosystem of companies, technology and research centres, entrepreneurs and start-ups in the Catalan region, thereby promoting growth and progress in these key sectors.

Check out the preliminary agenda (last update: 6 July 2023):


Day 1: Thursday (28 September 2023)

9:00–9:30 | Opening doors and accreditations

9:30–10:00 | Welcome event and inauguration of the Congrés BIT 2023 Lleida Edition

10:00–10:30 | Inaugural session

10:30–10:50 | Presentation on the capacity mapping study in alternative protein processing in Catalonia

10:50–11:15 | The vision and the role of companies in alternative protein value chains and new ways of forest valorisation

11:15–11:45 | Coffee break

11:45–12:15 | Sessions

Alternative protein (1) – Strategic vision of human nutrition: trends and challenges

New ways of forest valorisation (1) – Strategic vision of forest valorisation: trends and challenges

12:15–13:30 | Sessions

Alternative protein (2) – New raw materials for human nutrition

New ways of forest valorisation (2) – Carbon markets: perspectives, methodologies and standards for quantification

13:30–15:00 | Lunch-networking

15:00–16:15 | Sessions

Alternative protein (3) – Transformation processes and technologies

New ways of forest valorisation (3) – Forest biorefineries: the road to industrialisation

16:15–17:30 | Sustainability is profitable: bioECONOMY.

Day 2: Friday (29 September 2023)

9:30–11:00 | Services and capacities of universities and technological centres

11:00–11:30 | Coffee break

11:30–12:00 | BIOHUB CAT presentation

12:00–13:30 | Rock Stars: leaders of the bioeconomy

13:30–13:45 | Final remarks of the Congrés BIT 2023 Lleida Edition

13:45–14:00 | Closing

14:00–15:30 | Lunch-networking

16:00 | BIT Expo Conference (FIRA)

Visit the Congrés BIT 2023 website for the latest updates, news and speakers.

Looking for more events? Explore our Events page and add your favourites to your calendar.

Meet the winners of the Bioregions Open Innovation Challenge

The European Forest Institute (EFI) announced on 3 July 2023 the Bioregions Open Innovation Challenge winners launched in December 2022. The three winners from Finland, Serbia and Spain will receive EUR 7,000 each to further develop their solutions. 

Here are the three winners in alphabetical order: 

Biomonitoring station 

The biomonitoring station is a set of sensors and modules to collect, store and disseminate data on environmental stressors disturbing and damaging forest ecosystems. Some examples include monitoring air pollution, detecting early forest fires, and checking unwanted vehicles along forest roads. 

“This biomonitoring station aims to contribute to the integrity of forest-related data. Therefore, foresters become data providers of direct air pollution impact instead of end users. This tool can bring early warnings on agents of negative impact on forests that are closely connected to the effects of climate change,” said Dr Zoran Poduška, Institute of Forestry, Belgrade, Serbia and winner of the Open Innovation Challenge. 

Ozone sensor in a forest. Hand holding it is Zoran Poduška from Serbia and winner of the bioregions open innovation challenge
Ozone sensor from biomonitoring station. Image courtesy of Zoran Poduška.


Förecast is a forest intelligence tool that estimates the carbon stock available in the forest and measures other forest variables using remote sensing (LiDAR + satellite) and artificial intelligence developed by the Spanish company Föra. 

“Carbon is one of the most important forest variables nowadays; estimating forest carbon is of utmost importance to create stable markets through forest knowledge and scientific soundness,” says Iñigo Lizarralde, CEO of the company. 

5 people in an office. 4 are chatting: 2 men and 2 women. One man is on the desk looking at a laptop screen. Föra team was one of the winners of the bioregions open innovation challenge.
Föra team. Image courtesy of Iñigo Lizarralde.

This carbon estimation tool can be used as input for forest scenarios where wood products and carbon sequestration over their life cycle are included. They also offer change detection for vegetation disturbance, allowing for transparent carbon stock monitoring—assuring the market offers verifiable carbon offsets along the established offsetting period. 

Zerti Carbon app 

Zerti Carbon, a company that offers certified carbon sink solutions using blockchain technology, is dedicated to advancing climate-smart forestry solutions, connecting forest owners with companies interested in neutralising carbon emissions.

Group of eight people in the forest next to a harvesting machine.
Zerti Carbon team. Image courtesy of Panu Torniainen.

By digitising forests and using advanced technologies like drone scanning, Lidar, machine learning, augmented reality, and AI to analyse the forest’s carbon sinks, the Finnish company Zerti Carbon provides a system where individuals and companies can offset their carbon emissions by purchasing carbon credits. 

Zerti Carbon plans to scale up its solution by focusing on conducting research and developing carbon sink projects in Catalonia and Euskadi. 

According to Zerti Carbon’s co-founder and managing director Panu Torniainen, “access to these regions enables us to establish partnerships with landowners, implement advanced technologies and create transparent and reliable carbon offsetting systems that benefit both the environment and local communities.” 

Quotes from the winners about their solutions have been edited for content and clarity. 

Sign up for the Bioregions Facility InfoFlash to receive the latest news and updates on the next Open Innovation Challenge, and follow the Facility on LinkedIn and Twitter. 

Image by Daniela from Pixabay.

Globally unique research for better fuel pellets

800 tonnes of sawdust was recently turned into fuel pellets in a globally unique test run in Sweden. That was part of a pellet research project that is being carried out on a large scale to investigate differences in quality between different raw material compositions.

Originally published on Paper Province.

By Malin Hildén

Testings are a cheap and environmentally friendly energy source made from dried and compacted sawdust from spruce and pine. Therefore, they are a valuable and important component in the transition to a fossil-free society.

In order to optimize the production and storage of pellets, a research study is now investigating whether the pellet quality is affected by the origin of the sawdust: the heartwood (coarse timber) or the sapwood (small timber).

Different drying temperatures and types of sawdust

What the researchers are investigating is whether the handling of the raw materials can contribute to making the pellets more resource-efficient. The method includes studying how low- and high-temperature drying, in combination with small and coarse timber, affects the physical properties and long-term storage.

One problem when storing fuel pellets is that they can generate spontaneous heating, forming flammable and toxic gases. The researchers aim to reduce this increased fire hazard.

Globally unique test run

In order to examine the improvement opportunities in the context of fuel pellets, some 800 tonnes of fresh small and coarse timber from pine was transported to the pellet plant of power company Härjeåns Energi in the Swedish town of Sveg. That is where the impressive test run took place.

“This is huge. Such large-scale research trials aren’t carried out anywhere else in the world. Normally, you’d go to a lab and do smaller runs,” says Magnus Persson, who is an innovation advisor and project manager at Paper Province.

What makes this volume possible is the collaboration between academia, research and industry.

“If this turns out well, it’s going to have an impact on the entire industry: everyone will be able to learn and benefit from it.”

Previous tests

The test run was the second of two major ones. The first one, completed last autumn, involved low-temperature drying. This time, however, a high-temperature dryer was used.

“The test run came out well, and now we’ll continue the measurements and analyses in order to determine the outcome,” says Michael Finell of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

He is the project manager for InnoPels, the project where the research is conducted. It is funded by Vinnova, with the participation of Karlstad University, Paper Province, Solör Bioenergi Pellets AB, Härjeåns Energi AB and Bergkvist Siljan Skog AB.

Photo by Paper Province.

Emil Mattsson, Härjeåns, Stefan Frodeson, Karlstad University, Michael Finell, SLU, Magnus Persson, Paper Province and Workson Siwale, SLU.