9th BioSC Spotlight: The Bioeconomy of Wood

9th BioSC Spotlight: The Bioeconomy of Wood

On 5 March 2024, from 9:30 to 16:00 CET, join the BioSC Spotlight event focused on highlighting approaches and insights into the use of wood in the bioeconomy. Hear from experts in the field,  scientists from the BioSC and external experts, as they discuss the current developments of wood-based value chains.

The agenda includes raw materials and processing, such as bio-based polymers from lignocellulosic biomass, and innovative products in construction, textile and paper production. Registration for the event is now open, grab your ticket by 19 February 2024 here.

The event is organised by the Bioeconomy Science Centre and will take place at the NGP2-Center for Next Generation Processes and Products, Forckenbeckstr. 51, Aachen, Germany.

More information here: English, Deutsch

Annual BIOEAST Bioeconomy Conference

Annual BIOEAST Bioeconomy Conference

On 6 and 7 March 2024, the BOOST4BIOEAST consortium and the BIOEAST Initiative are organising the Annual BIOEAST Bioeconomy Conference on “The role of national HUBs in national and macro-regional bioeconomy policy and R&I developments in the BIOEAST countries” hosted by the Research Centre for Natural Sciences in Budapest, Hungary.

The conference is focused on bioeconomy stakeholders of the BIOEAST macroregion but welcomes any interested parties from all EU countries.

Registration is open here.

Unlocking forest carbon markets – Event 4 of the FSD 3rd Series

FSD: Unlocking forest carbon markets – Event 4

The fourth event of this series will spotlight the winners of the Bioregions’ Open Innovation Challenge from December 2022.

Three innovative organisations were granted EUR 7,000 each to advance their projects. At this event, you will meet two of them: Föra Forest Technologies with their AI-powered förecast tool that gauges forest carbon stock through conventional and LiDAR techniques, and Zerti Carbon’s app, which provides landowners with in-depth insights into tree growth and carbon sequestration, harnessing state-of-the-art technologies to facilitate carbon offset acquisitions for both individuals and corporations.

Föra: AI and remote-sensing tool that gauges forest carbon stock and vegetation disturbances with multiple modules

Föra Forest Technologies’ tool (förecast) is a forest intelligence tool that estimates the carbon stock available in the forest and measures other forest variables using remote sensing and artificial intelligence developed by föra. Förecast leverages artificial intelligence and remote sensing to assess carbon stock in forests and offers transparent monitoring of vegetation disturbances. The tool comprises four modules: traditional inventory, LiDAR inventory, satellite and LiDAR integration, and forest simulations. Föra is one of the winners of the Bioregions Open Innovation Challenge launched in 2022 and won second place at the 2020 ESA Digital Twin Earth Challenge.

Speaker: Iñigo Lizarralde, CEO, Föra. Learn more

Zerti Carbon: Cutting-edge technology for climate-smart forestry, allowing users to offset emissions

Zerti Carbon is a company that offers certified carbon sink solutions using blockchain technology, is dedicated to advancing climate-smart forestry solutions, and connects forest owners with companies interested in neutralising carbon emissions. The Zerti Carbon app provides detailed data to landowners about tree growth and carbon capture, ensuring transparent traceability. By digitising forests and using advanced technologies such as drone scanning, Lidar, machine learning, augmented reality, and AI to analyse the forest’s carbon sinks, the app provides a system where individuals and companies can offset their carbon emissions by purchasing carbon credits. Zerti Carbon is one of the winners of the Bioregions Open Innovation Challenge launched in 2022.

Speaker: Panu Torniainen, co-founder and managing director, Zerti Carbon. Learn more

Learn more and register here.

ICBSD 2024: 18 International Conference on Bioeconomy and Sustainable Development

ICBSD 2024: 18. International Conference on Bioeconomy and Sustainable Development

The International Research Conference is a federated organisation dedicated to bringing together a significant number of diverse scholarly events for presentation within the conference program. Events will run over a span of time during the conference depending on the number and length of the presentations. With its high quality, it provides an exceptional value for students, academics and industry researchers.

International Conference on Bioeconomy and Sustainable Development aims to bring together leading academic scientists, researchers and research scholars to exchange and share their experiences and research results on all aspects of Bioeconomy and Sustainable Development. It also provides a premier interdisciplinary platform for researchers, practitioners and educators to present and discuss the most recent innovations, trends, and concerns as well as practical challenges encountered and solutions adopted in the fields of Bioeconomy and Sustainable Development.

Learn more

Featured image bpyty – stock.adobe.com

The European biomass puzzle

This report looks at how biomass can help us reach our climate and environmental objectives, and how climate change might affect the EU’s biomass production in agriculture and forest sectors. It also discusses key synergies and trade-offs in the use of biomass for different policy objectives.

Content: The European biomass puzzle

Publisher: European Environment Agency

Year: 2023

European Research Priorities in the Forest Domain

This publication aims to discuss climate change and other risks, biodiversity and ecosystem services, bioeconomy, transversal topics and other relevant topics.

In the framework of the preparation of the new EU Forest Strategy, the SCAR SWG FOREST has collected feedback from its members on what they perceive as the main research priorities in the forest domain nowadays. A survey has been prepared and shared with the SCAR SWG FOREST members. The report is based on the answers from eleven members from nine countries (Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden).

Content: European Research Priorities in the Forest Domain

Publisher: SCAR Standing Committee on Agriculture Research

Year: 2021

Driving innovation: students and sustainable business models in forest-based bioeconomy

Within the bioeconomy, many new technologies and innovations have been studied and implemented, such as for wood construction, wood-based fibres for the textile industry, well-being, and non-wood forest products. But how can we guarantee the commercialisation and the knowledge transfer of these innovations into the market?

Dedicated to empowering and supporting aspiring entrepreneurs, the NOMADI Project organises workshops for students passionate about entrepreneurship and the bioeconomy. These workshops serve as transformative catalysts, fuelling innovation and paving the way for pioneering sustainable business models.

Networking event insights

Networking event: Woman and man wearing black standing. Behind a TV with a presentation open 'Start Me Up'
Kirsi Svärd and Janne Pakarinen, Business coaches at Business Joensuu.

On 24 October 2023, students from different areas of study attended the Networking Sauna Event in Joensuu, Finland. The first workshop of a series of three events was held by the European Forest Institute (EFI), Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) and the Finnish Forest Centre (Metsäkeskus).

The event aimed at introducing sustainable business models in circular forest-based bioeconomy to students to spark their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit and underline the important role education plays in fostering a greener future.

The event also counted with a presentation from Business Joensuu – an organisation that provides support and expertise for the different stages and challenges of entrepreneurship – showcasing Start Me Up, a competition that awards the best ideas for the future that can grow into sustainable business activities and Hack Me Up, a competition for students to brainstorm climate-smart solutions for companies’ sustainability challenges. Applications are open until 17 November at 15:00 EET.

Attend online or in person: dive into the circular economy

Students from any field of study are invited to attend the second workshop on 22 November at 17:00 EET online or in Joensuu. The consultancy firm Ethica will present how they have been helping organisations transition to a more sustainable circular economy in a rapidly changing market environment and showcase how to create a circular business model.

Check out the agenda and register for the event here.

The NOMADI project supports companies in the forest-based sector by seeking new solutions through the digitalisation of forest services. The project also helps to create new marketing and business concepts, supporting new bioeconomy start-ups and the scaleup of innovations – particularly ideas targeted towards remote private forest owners and forest management services and tools are welcome.

NOMADI is funded by the Regional Council of North Karelia through the European Regional Development Fund as a part of the European Union’s COVID-19 activities (REACT-EU).

Featured image: ChayTee – stock.adobe

World BioEconomy Forum: Creating a global hub for the bioeconomy

World BioEconomy Forum Goes to the USA – Live from Washington D.C.

In response to the growing significance of the bioeconomy, the 6th World BioEconomy Forum is set to convene in Washington D.C., showcasing the latest global trends in the bioeconomy and highlighting the dynamic initiatives of both the USA and Finland. Notably, both countries recently renewed their bioeconomy strategies, demonstrating their commitment to this vital field.

The programme continues to adhere to the four-pillar structure, encapsulating the essence of the Bioeconomy in the year 2023. The annual Forum will be arranged in collaboration with the Finnish Embassy to the USA.

  • World BioEconomy Forum goes to the USA – live from Washington D.C.!
  • 12 December 2023 • Hybrid Event
  • Register here

View the programme here.

CO2 bioeconomy: creating value from carbon dioxide

Originally published on Open Access Government

Is the CO2 bioeconomy creating value from carbon dioxide? Dr Kang Lan Tee and Professor Tuck Seng Wong both explain

Our relationship with carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide is frequently portrayed as the villain of climate change. A 50% carbon dioxide content increase in less than 200 years (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is a stark reminder of its role in global warming.

Scientists have also linked the rise of carbon dioxide with the greenhouse effect in the past 66 million years (Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences). Beyond scientific reports, we have experienced the heat-dome scorching our summer and witnessed record temperatures in the UK, with the highest temperature recorded at 40.3°C on 19 July 2022. Is carbon dioxide to blame for climate change? Greenhouse gases trap

Earth’s radiant heat from the Sun in our atmosphere keeping it from escaping into space. Carbon dioxide is just one of the greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O, and fluorinated gases) listed in the Kyoto Protocol. While it has less ‘warming potential’ than methane, for example, its longevity keeps it lingering in our atmosphere for up to 1,000 years, accounting for a third of the total warming of Earth.

Our dependence on fossil fuels is a significant cause of the current climate woes. Fossil fuels have supercharged the industrial revolution to drive society’s development. Coal, petroleum and natural gas remain primary resources in the global energy system today and significantly contribute to carbon dioxide emissions.

One argument is that emission is inextricably linked to economic growth. Historically, the richer developed countries emit more carbon dioxide. Countries have, however, started to decouple their economic growth from emissions. For instance, the UK’s GDP has increased in the last 30 years while its emissions have fallen (Our World in Data).

The bad press on carbon dioxide has eclipsed its integral role to life on the planet. By trapping heat from the sun, carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases keep Earth’s climate warm and habitable for humans and other lifeforms. Carbon is the backbone of life, comprising about 18% by the mass of our human body. It is transferred between different reservoirs by the carbon cycle.

For instance, plants produce food from carbon dioxide, which is then consumed by humans and other animals, transferring the carbon to us. Outside its role in Nature, carbon dioxide has numerous commercial applications. It is used to carbonate soft drinks, beer and wine, as an inert blanket to preserve food, and as a coolant for quick freezing.

It is also a raw material for methanol and urea production in the chemical industry. Pumped into oil wells, carbon dioxide can enhance oil production. Lesser-known applications include its use to de-caffeinate coffee and in surgical procedures like laparoscopy.

Innovations to combat climate change

Research and innovation are essential in our combat against climate change. Replacing fossil fuels with other energy sources is often the top change required to reduce emissions. Solar, nuclear, wind and biomass energy are primary alternatives.

These alternative energy sources are ‘cleaner’ as they have net-zero or very low emissions compared to fossil fuels. Solar, wind and biomass are also renewable, meaning we can have an ‘unlimited’ supply compared to the 57 years of oil reserve left (Our World in Data).

To limit global temperature rise below 1.5 °C, the UK aims to cut emissions to 78% below the 1990 level by 2035. Governments around the world outlined similar ambitions. It has become clear that this goal can only be achieved if we strengthen the ‘clean’ energy strategy with an ambitious plan to remove carbon dioxide from our atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide can be removed by plants through reforestation, sequestered in soil and ocean, directly captured from air and carbon mineralisation into solid carbonates. Most of these technologies are at the early stages of development or deployment. Cost remains a major barrier, drawing criticism to their economic sustainability.

Innovations that convert carbon dioxide into products are gaining the attention of governments and investors. These technologies create a CO2 economy that transforms carbon dioxide from a liability into an asset, a pathway for carbon dioxide removal to become economically viable. Key categories of products include fuels, chemicals and building materials.

Carbon dioxide asset

A key advantage of using CO2 as raw material for manufacturing is abundance. About 33 billion tonnes of anthropogenic CO2 (equivalent to 9 billion tonnes of carbon) is produced yearly compared to ~4.5 billion tonnes of combined crude oil and natural gas. Plants and algae are widely recognised agents that “consume” carbon dioxide. Less known are the bacteria that grow on carbon dioxide.

Also called autotrophic bacteria, these living organisms capture carbon dioxide and use it to grow and synthesise other complex organic products. Their ability to double in mass within a few hours makes them faster to cultivate than plants or algae.

At the University of Sheffield, we are harnessing the natural abilities of autotrophic bacteria and augmenting their performance using synthetic biology to enhance carbon dioxide utilisation and broaden their product range.

One such project researches the transformation of carbon dioxide in the air into sustainable, biodegradable polymers that can replace fossil-based plastics. This creates new sustainable opportunities on multiple fronts: the removal of carbon dioxide, a move away from using fossil fuel as raw material, and a biodegradable polymer product to tackle plastics pollution.

Our vision is to use autotrophic bacteria as mini cellular factories and carbon dioxide as raw material to manufacture commodity chemicals, biopolymers and single cell protein for animal feed.

The scale and urgency of our climate problem necessitate the tandem deployment of various technologies. It is thus critical to continue investment across a portfolio of carbon dioxide removal technologies. Research and development, financing, government and business commitment, and clear messaging to the public are essential for cultivating early opportunities into future solutions.

Grants

  1. EPSRC New Investigator Award (EP/X025853/1, to KLT).
  2. BBSRC-IAA and C1Net (to TSW & KLT).
  3. RAEng|The Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship (LTSRF1819\15\21, to TSW).
  4. National Research Council of Thailand (P2250317/3, to TSW).

Featured image: alpegor – stock.adobe

Networking Event for Students

Networking Event for Students

Are you a student interested in the circular forest-based bioeconomy?

Join us on 24 October at 17:00 to connect with fellow enthusiasts in the circular forest-based bioeconomy. Expand your network, explore the world of forest bioeconomy, relax in the sauna and savour delicious snacks.

The circular forest-based bioeconomy is an exciting field that offers many opportunities for creativity and innovation. It is a growing sector focused on using forest resources sustainably and circularly.

If you are a student interested in bioeconomy entrepreneurship and ready to change, this event is for you. You will have the opportunity to network with other students, researchers, and businesspeople working in the circular forest-based bioeconomy.

This is an excellent opportunity to learn from others and to build relationships while exploring the world of bioeconomy in a relaxed and informal setting, enjoying a Finnish sauna and savouring delicious snacks.

Register for free here

Where do we meet?

Metsäkeskus, Siltakatu 20 B (4th floor, Metsäkeskus sauna and meeting room), Joensuu, Finland

Agenda

Kindly note that the agenda is subject to change. Stay tuned for updates.

17:00 | Welcoming words

17:10 | Introductions of the participants

17:30 | Bioeconomy and digital services for forest owners

18:00 | Business Joensuu: Start Me Up and Hackathon

18:30 | Discussion on perceptions and ideas of bioeconomy

19:00 | Networking, snacks and sauna

20:30 | End

About us

The NOMADI project supports companies in the forest-based sector by seeking new solutions through the digitalisation of forest services. The project also helps to create new marketing and business concepts, supporting new bioeconomy start-ups and the scale-up of innovations – particularly ideas targeted towards remote private forest owners and forest management services and tools are welcome.

NOMADI is funded by the Regional Council of North Karelia through the European Regional Development Fund as a part of the European Union’s COVID-19 activities (REACT-EU).

Register for free here

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

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

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 and BRILIAN

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

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

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

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.”

References

  1. https://www.cbe.europa.eu/projects/sustainext
  2. https://www.cbe.europa.eu/projects/sylplant
  3. https://www.cbe.europa.eu/projects/robocoop-eu
  4. https://www.cbe.europa.eu/projects/brilian
  5. https://www.cbe.europa.eu/projects/synoprotein
  6. https://www.cbe.europa.eu/projects/redysign
  7. https://www.cbe.europa.eu/projects/thermofire