Promoting biomass valorisation through the work of EIP-AGRI Operational Groups

10th June 2024

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The paradox: despite generating the majority of jobs in the EU bioeconomy (over 50%)[1], the primary sector’s contribution to its total turnover remains low, as does its share in the economic revenue. A lack of know-how and competences on primary producers’ part in managing biomass residues and processing generated co-products seems to be the root of the problem.

Here comes the BBioNets project, a thematic network that promotes and advances the work carried out by EIP-AGRI Operational Groups with respect to the management and/or processing of agricultural and forest biomass. Its objective is to incite primary producers all over Europe to embrace Bio-Based Technologies (technologies or practices that use either non-food feedstock or circularity principles, or both, to deliver diverse products) as a way to make better use of underutilised biomass, create new diversified incomes, reduce costs through circular practices, and reduce GHG emissions.

To this end, regional Forest and Agriculture Networks (FANs) have been established in Ireland, Spain, Italy, Greece, Poland and the Czech Republic, assembling representatives from multiple types of organisations in contact with farmers and foresters, individual primary producers representing established EIP-AGRI Operational Groups or generally interested in Bio-Based Technologies (BBTs), as well as farmers’/foresters’ association representatives. FANs will help the BBioNets partners to identify foresters’ and farmers’ needs and challenges with regard to biomass processing in their respective environments, value chain operations, and technology availability. They will provide useful insights and validate the consortium’s work on the creation of a BBTs regional inventory and the design of a BBTs assessment tool. The latter will match the targeted regions’ needs and resources to available BBTs, providing cost/benefit considerations. A series of carefully targeted activities are expected to develop regionally, cross-regionally and at the European level.

Acknowledging the importance of partnerships with similar initiatives, BBioNets initiated collaboration with 16 EU-funded projects that support primary producers throughout Europe, namely BIO2REG, BOOST4BIOEAST, Brilian, C4B, FOREST4EU, NUTRI-CHECK NET, NUTRI-KNOW, PRIMED, ROBOCOOP-EU, SCALE-UP, ShapingBio, Small4Good, SMURF, Soil-X-Change, STRATUS, SYMBA. A productive meeting marked the beginning of an exciting chapter of collective endeavour, where collaboration is not just a strategy but a catalyst for meaningful progress in the wider fields of bioeconomy, agriculture and forestry.

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