Roskilde University and the BioBIGG project helped to facilitate the planning process related to the establishment of a large-scale biogas reactor at Solrød Bioenergy Aps in Region Zealand, Denmark.

The reactor is dedicated to the production of biogas from municipal organic waste (MOW). The MOW is collected from the entire region, turned into pulp and transported to the biogas plant. The newly established value-chain contributes to a massive increase in the existing biogas production, subsequently supporting the transition towards a sustainable and stable energy source within the region. After the biopulp has been converted into biogas, the residuals are used as an organic fertilizer by farmers in the region. This thereby (once again) proves how biogas plants can function as a bioeconomy growth engine within several sectors (i.e., waste-, energy- and agricultural sectors).

RUCs expertise on regulatory requirements and barriers related to the establishment of reactors in a public-private collaboration helped to answer several key questions, such as: Where should the reactor be located, and how should the organizational model between key stakeholders be structured? Here, several suggestions for possible locations, ownership models and financial pre-assessments was developed by RUC to qualify the decision-making process, leading up to the chosen location at Solrød Biogas. This thereby shows the importance of solid pre-assessments in the planning process of green technologies. The case-example can be found on the BioBIGG homepage under publications, WP5 reports (D.5.2.)

The PlantProteinFactory – Feasibility & directions going forward

The PlantProteinFactory (PPF, 2019-2021) was a project at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences involving 15 partners looking at using underutilized leafy green biomass, like field waste from vegetable production, to produce food, feed and biogas ( Early results showed a need for feasibility assessment of biomass use scenarios to identity opportunities and areas where work on improving the production system should be focussed. BioBIGG researchers worked with the PPF to identify key areas for improvement and future opportunities to gain value from biomass.

BioBIGG members and PPF researchers worked together to analyse the viability of producing a series of product streams from intermediate crops. Intermediate crops can improve the overall environmental performance of agriculture by capturing nitrogen that would be normally lost to the environment, improve soil conditions, reduce soil loss and possibly increase the carbon content of soils. Increased cultivation of intermediate crops will also increase the available biomass resources available for new industries. This analysis indicated what intermediate crops were most viable for use in the PPF and what operational scenarios and product streams, such as food feed and biogas substrate, were most feasible for future development. The cooperation between BioBIGG and the PPF produced an academic paper1 describing the result of the collaboration that will inform other researchers and process and product developers in the green biorefining space.

In horticultural production there are many crop residues that are ploughed into the soil resulting in a loss of valuable biomass. This waste can be over 50% of the aboveground biomass of the crop. BioBIGG members and the PPF analysed the feasibility of using Broccoli and Kale field residues to produce products such as protein concentrates, dried vegetable powders, animal feed or biogas substrate to maximize the residues value. The analysis indicated areas that need improvement in order to extract maximum value in a biorefinery context, such as protein recovery rate and identifying possible nutraceutical compounds. This collaborative work has been submitted for publication2.

This collaboration renewed focus on key areas and opportunities; at least 4 new funding applications have come through collaborations between BioBIGG members and PPF researchers and participating companies. We look forward to continue collaborations post BioBIGG on new ways to create value for biomass resources.

1. Muneer, F., Hovmalm, H. P., Svensson, S. E., Newson, W. R., Johansson, E., & Prade, T. (2021). Economic viability of protein concentrate production from green biomass of intermediate crops: A pre-feasibility study. Journal of Cleaner Production, 294, 126304.

2. Prade, T., Muneer, F., Berndtsson, E., Nynäs, A-L, Svensson, S-E, Newson, W. R., Johansson, E. (2021) Protein fractionation of broccoli (Brassica oleracea, var Italica) and kale (Brassica oleracea, var. Sabellica) leaves – a pre-feasibility assessment and evaluation of fraction phenol and fibre content. Food and Bioproducts Processing (Submitted).


Bioeconomy in Poland is receiving significant attention both from state and local governments as well as society. This issue is however still perceived differently by these stakeholders to the expected understanding by European Union. In the scope of the BioBIGG project the team from Gdansk University of Technology (GUT) has carried out activities in the form of direct discussions with state and local governments on the issues related to implementation of bioeconomy in the state as well as at the regional level. Both partners seemed to be very open for discussions related to that issue, nevertheless there were found significant gaps in communication between the national and local representatives of the government. The state government was taking the position that legal and administrative aspects were not the most important issues when considering bioeconomy. In their opinion there are several challenges outside of the legislative area that need a special attention before starting legal and administrative work, such as increasing the eco-awareness of customers, putting more pressure towards producers to realize the benefits of using the “eco” raw materials instead of the classic ones, and to overcome the economic issues of using initially more expensive raw materials. Hence, the whole life cycle of a product should be taken into account (for example, the type of raw material from which the product is made, the amount of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere during its production), not just its production related costs. Finally, the new university courses should be established to increase the competence and awareness of both customers and producers in the field of bioeconomy.

Contrary to that approach the local government of the Pomeranian region stated during discussions that in Poland, the problem is mainly related to administrative and legislative issues – an example of this are the procedures to be followed in order to be able to use waste as raw materials in subsequent processes. In other European Union countries, the loss of waste status is obtained on the basis of relevant regulations, while in Poland, according to the provisions of the Waste Act, it is the case pursuant to individual decisions. The condition for receiving such a decision is, among others, proving on the basis of scientific research that the given object or substance meets the technical requirements for specific purposes and the requirements set out in the relevant regulations and standards, and that there is a demand for the product and that it is safe for the environment. These procedures are time-consuming, and it is also necessary to take into account securing claims (as well as, for example, fire-fighting operations), which increase the costs associated with introducing a given product to the market and, at the same time, discourage entrepreneurs from investing in innovative biotechnologies. Legal and administrative procedures are too complex and national laws and regulations would need to be changed – these are basic steps without which no further action can be taken.

Another problem reported by the local authorities is the low awareness of entrepreneurs and the lack of information flow – no group has been established in the region that could create a platform for the exchange of knowledge on the bioeconomy. Such a platform would facilitate exchange of information between institutions, which could cooperate in order to effectively develop / implement the bioeconomy. Local authorities also see a certain role of Pomeranian universities in promoting issues related to the bioeconomy. The transformation towards bioeconomy should go hand in hand with financial resources allocated for this purpose – financial outlays are needed to implement innovative solutions and change the awareness of entrepreneurs. Certain financial resources for this purpose will be provided in the nearest financial perspective under regional operational programs.

Fortunately at the termination of the BioBIGG project there started regional discussions related to the establishment of the recommendations and responsibilities of the region in spending yet another round of finances acquired from the EU from two programmes, namely for EFS and EFRR. Bearing in mind the EU objectives for promotion of bioeconomy as well as expectations related to that issue, as well as the barriers in Poland, the BioBIGG partners from GUT got actively involved into the definition of the objectives for the regional programme (2021-2027) for the development of the Pomeranian Region. In the former period the issue of bioeconomy was not at all present in the agenda. That made the task of putting most of the beforehand presented aspects a little easier to incorporate into the financial perspective. In the document which has already been accepted at the local parliament level the bioeconomy is embedded into the more general theme, namely to the topic of circular economy but with clear highlighting of bioeconomy. There are resources planned to be assigned to increasing of the public awareness as well as entrepreneurial investments into that topic. Obviously that success is not only due to the mere action of BioBIGG activities, there were other lobbying parties involved in the theme of circular economy, but in our opinion GUT has presented a very clear statement on this topic and can be regarded as a part of success.

Bioeconomy Conference Neubrandenburg / Germany


On 25 June 2019, a bioeconomy workshop organized by BioCon Valley in cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences Neubrandenburg took place in Neubrandenburg, Western Pomerania. About 30 participants from industry, research, and administration discussed the local and regional challenges and potentials of bioeconomy.

In the morning, lecturers from the University of Applied Sciences Neubrandenburg provided an overview on different fields of bioeconomy, including the history of bioeconomics, the potential of biofuels, (and especially) biogas plants in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, and biotechnological application options of algae. The last topic was broadened by a lecture on the market potential of marine biotechnology products, in particular, special sugars from macro algae. A representative of industry presented the PLANTBAC® panel system for soil irrigation and remediation.

Moreover, two projects were introduced and presented. The Plant3project, recently approved under the BMBF’s “WIR!” funding line, will develop and establish concepts for refining plant-based raw materials in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The EU Interreg project BioBIGG will strengthen bioeconomic processes and products through cross-border knowledge transfer and networking.

To reveal potentials and deficits of the bioeconomy in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, as well as to develop possible solutions, three important challenges and possible solutions were tackled in an interactive exercise during the afternoon of the conference. They were:

  1. Which new ideas and impulses can you give for current and future contents of the bioeconomy in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania?
  • Promoting the diversification of agriculture, developing new sources of raw materials, and using them sustainably
  • Realising value chains locally, and extending them to include high-quality products
  • Clarifying award procedures and defining sustainability criteria
  1. What are the most important “To-Dos” for the bioeconomy in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania?
  • Reduction of administrative barriers
  • Creation of a “Competence and Transfer Centre for Bioeconomy
  • Establishing Chairs for bioeconomy courses at university locations
  1. What suggestions do you have for achieving better interlinkage and cooperation between the various bioeconomic activities in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania?
  • Greater involvement of the state government and regional administrative structures
  • Promotion of technology projects at universities with the involvement of SMEs with an appropriate co-payment
  • Summary of all bioeconomy activities (projects, institutes, SMEs) under a common, institutionalised structure

As a result, five fields of action were identified which should be pursued with a critical urgency.

Politics and administration: Sustainable criteria for ecological applied concepts must be defined and – wherever possible – deregulated. At the same time, politics and administration need to be involved more than before in the conception and implementation of bioeconomic processes.

Strategic Measures:when considering the interaction of all actors, clear strategic lines must be identified and pursued. This includes a clear commitment to bioeconomy as an independent field in the future, as well as the implementation of task and action plans with concrete priorities for the upcoming decade.

Coordination:There is a need to coordinate the various bioeconomic activities in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. From the beginning, the necessary coordinative control must be recognised as a long-term task. A joint, coordinated, approach will be of decisive importance, particularly for successful technology transfer and the establishment of new companies.

Structural Measures:A central anchor point could be a potential institutionalised competence centre for bioeconomics. This centre will perform the necessary interdisciplinary coordinative tasks while also serving as a contact point, knowledge base, and intermediary for the implementation of regional bioeconomic value chains. In addition to a number of promising individual measures, this includes (in particular) the promotion of pilot projects and best practice examples. Furthermore, those bioeconomic activities that currently have to prove themselves under project-specific funding would be given a sustainable perspective.

Information and Knowledge Transfer: The competence centre can also perform the important task of disseminating knowledge and science to the population. In addition, the aim should be to establish professorships and study courses for bioeconomy and entrepreneurship, at as many university locations as possible in the region.