No more waste in the new bioeconomy
The transition towards a European bioeconomy that utilizes all available biomass has already begun, according to the 15 member countries that started the FACCE ERA-NET Cofund SURPLUS’, an interdisciplinary programme on sustainable food- and non-food systems. The first bioplastic, biochemicals and building materials made from crop waste are now on the market. To support this new economy, SURPLUS started a first Call in 2015 (17 million euros). The consortium selected 14 projects, aimed at the increase of biomass production, new business cases and a sustainable integration of food- and non-food production.
Small-scale bio refining
The projects in the second Call (2017-2021) of this Cofund aim at developing small-scale bio refining. Researchers assess opportunities to valorize grass, chicory, barley straw, oat hulls or other crop waste, develop methods to breed the crops in such a way that the whole plant can be used, or develop technologies to extract useful molecules, or to fractionize plant materials. Others undertake economic analysis or life cycle analysis, and in that way help to find sales markets.
Biofuels from marginal lands
Other projects in the second Call are focused on bioenergy production. Bioenergy is a key element of the EU renewable strategy and exists at the interface of policies on agriculture/land use and energy generation. To avoid tension between food and fuel production, the research groups develop techniques for biomass production on marginal land.
The FACCE SURPLUS mid-term and valorisation meeting that took place in Paris in 2017 promoted networking and the exchange of best practices among FACCE SURPLUS projects and with other relevant FACCE projects, it identified and addressed questions and issues related to project management and possible support activities that SURPLUS could implement, and it explored opportunities for the valorisation of current and future research results in terms of science policy interface, industrial valorisation, and support to practitioners.
Based on the two previous calls, the FACCE SURPLUS partners decided in 2018 to further advance their successful funding scheme with a third call in order to complete the portfolio of projects and fill remaining research gaps.
The call was launched in January 2019, and in November 2019 six projects were selected for funding. The funded projects will explore options on how to utilise all the biomass from agricultural land, uncultivated land and forestry with a holistic view with regard to food and non-food systems.
In September 2019, researchers from the FACCE-JPI initiatives SURPLUS and SusCrop, who work with sustainable and resilient agriculture in various forms, were invited to join stakeholders representing different types of actors in the field for a FACCE SURPLUS valorisation workshop in Ghent.
The workshop aimed to improve their understanding of how different stakeholders’ worlds function, how to interact and collaborate with them, and how to put scientific knowledge in a form that can be used by practitioners.
FACCE SURPLUS final conference -lessons from 15 years of bioeconomy
The rise of bioeconomy in the early twenty-first century - and lessons for the future - was the topic, when Dr. Christian Patermann, the “father” of European bioeconomy, gave a presentation at the FACCE SURPLUS final conference on February 26th 2020 in Brussels (Belgium). The objective of this encounter was to display not only FACCE SURPLUS achievements but also the developments of European bioeconomy.