How do we unlock the innovation potential in biomass-based value chains?

On the  6th and 7th of December the BioBIGG project held a succesfull two day cross-border workshop in Roskilde, Denmark addressing this key question. During the workshop SMEs, universities and local authorities gave presentations about their approach to implementation of a sustainable and circular bioeconomy and examples of promising utilization of residues and development of biomass-based value chains.

The innovative Danish enterprise DACOFI e.g. presented their innovative technology for filtration of biomass. One of the residues the company has been focusing on is brewers spent grain for extraction of protein, fibers and vitamins, but their innovative technology has also been applied on potato pulp with success and other types of biomass. Another presentation was given by Guldborgsund municipality about their approach on developing a sustainable and circular bioeconomy at the local scale and cross-boarder.

The second day of the workshop continued with a study tour to the local enterprise Solrød Biogas. Here the participants were first given an introduction to how Solrød Biogas was established. Starting from the initial idea to the phase where the biogas plant was taken into operation and ongoing innovation efforts. Afterwards the participant were given a guided tour of the biogas plant that converts residual products into green energy and fertiliser that is utilized on nearby farms with benefits for the climate and the environment.

Utilization of straw for mushroom production in North Eastern Poland

Pieczarki Mazurskie is a family company established in 1988. It is located in northeastern Poland, in the region of Masuria. Lakes and forests, which account for about 30% of the area, form a beautiful landscape of the region. Additionally, due to the high afforestation rate and low of urbanization and industrialization indicators the air quality in Masuria is one of the best in the country.

Currently company consists of several mushroom farms. The total mushroom growing surface is 19 000 m2 . All buildings are equipped with modern air-conditioning devices, which enable to control the growing parameters, such as temperature, humidity, air movement and carbon dioxide. Due to this we can provide appropriate conditions for mushrooms growing, so that they are of the highest quality.

The plant produces mushrooms in the Dutch technology. Group of skilled technologists is constantly watching the production process by keeping an eye on the behavior of the mushroom spawn during the growing cycle. Through careful observation and making good conclusions the high crops with the optimum use of the compost are attainable. The harvest area is used very intensively so as to provide the maximum number of cycles in a year. All mushrooms are harvested by hand, so a wide range of mushrooms with the highest quality and different sizes is provided. After harvesting mushrooms go directly into vacuum cooling chamber, where they are quickly cooled to the temperature of 2°C. Then they are transported to the cold store, where they are prepared for sale. Low temperature keep the products in freshness for a long time. After growing all the rooms are thermally disinfected and compost is changed to fresh one.

According to the excellent cooperation with suppliers, many years of experience, own laboratory and professional management, the highest quality compost for our mushrooms is produced.

The company produces compost in own compost production facility. The process is continuous due to the fact that sufficient technical and engineering potential in the company is present. The company has its own straw storage (area above 10 000 m2) for the production of compost. The maximum amount of stored straw is about 100 000 tons, which is enough for two years of company’s production.

Production of mushrooms is about 3000 tonnes per year. Before distributing, mushrooms are packed according individual customers requirements or in standard way:

  • 3 kg boxes loose
  • box with tray 4 × 500 g
  • box with tray 4 × 400 g
  • box with tray 6 × 250 g

Mushrooms could be also sorted to different size:

  • 2 – 4 cm
  • 4 – 5 cm
  • 5 – 6 cm
  • more than 6 cm “Riesen”

Wastes from the processing (spent mushroom substrate) are stored at the company field and sold to locally farmers as a fertilizer. Company has over 300 tons of spent mushroom substrate weekly.

Heaps of spent mushroom substrate

Pieczarki Mazurskie Fedor is well-operating company that produces high-quality mushrooms. The clients of company are all over the world. The largest recipient is England but a lot of products are exported to Germany, Nederland and France.

A big issue for company is relatively high price of straw (40 euro per tonne) and low price of spent mushroom substrate (3 euro per tonne) which is used as a fertilizer. The company should start cooperate with Universities, Research Centers or biological and chemical laboratories to find a new solutions in the field of bio-plastic, food supplements or pharmaceutics from the high value wastes that contains huge amount of macronutrients (P2O5, K2O, CaO, MgO, Na2O, P,K Ca).

 

Plant Protein Factory at SLU was funded

Sweden´s Innovation Agency, Vinnova, funded the project Plant Protein Factory with about 1 mill Euro to build, develop and implement a pilot plant for extraction of different proteins and protein fractions from plant material. The pilot will be built at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Alnarp outside Malmö and will enable research leading towards increased resource-efficiency when crops but also crop residues can be used to produce intermediate products for the food, cosmetic and healthcare industry as well as the fodder industry. Through cascading of the plant material, even extraction of other high value plant components such as fibers and antioxidants will be investigated. Based on ideas from Eva Johansson and Bill Newson – coworkers in the BioBIGG consortium – Carl Jonson at SLU Holding has developed the project and was able to attract a larger number of industrial partners to the project. The project will run 2018-2020 and prepare the basis for establishing a full-size plant.

Upcoming BioBIGG cross-broader workshop: Unlocking the innovation potential in biomass-based value chains

The BioBIGG project will be hosting a cross-broader workshop on the the 6th and 7th of December in Roskilde. The focus of the workshop will be unlocking the innovation potential related to utilisation of biomass-based residues found in and along  value chains in the South Baltic and sharing knowledge. Participation in the workshop is free of charge. Please download the programme and register below.

Register here

Download the programme

Plant3 – Strategic Alliance for Agriculture, Fisheries, and Manufacturing in North Eastern Germany

One of the BioBIGG partners, the University of Greifswald, led a significant step towards a regional network for the bioeconomy in north eastern Germany by submitting a strategy for the implementation phase of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research’s (BMBF) programme “Innovation and Structural Transformation” (German: WIR! – Wandel durch Innovation in der Region). The University of Greifswald and its core partners in the Plant³ consortium had already been successful in the concept phase of the WIR! programme, where Plant3 was one of 32 projects selected for funding for by the BMBF.

The goal of Plant³ is to utilise the large stock of plant-based raw materials in north eastern Germany to make high value products in order to induce a transformation of the regional economy towards the bioeconomy. During the concept phase (March – October 2018) the four core partners, University of Greifswald, WITENO GmbH, Wirtschaftsfördergesellschaft Vorpommern mbH, and Enzymicals AG involved more regional actors from business, research institutions, and NGOs as active partners in the Plant³ alliance. Several workshops were organised to define a shared strategy, develop the structure of the alliance, identify priority projects and activate partners (see pictures). Roskilde University is one interested partner and signed an LOI in the context of BioBIGG to support the alliance. In spring 2019, the BMBF will announce the successful alliances which then will be funded in the implementation phase. If the Plant³ strategy is selected up to € 15 million in Federal funding could flow into the region in the next five years.

Plant³ builds on the strengths of the region of Western Pomerania: the multifarious renewable resources growing on agricultural land, wetland sites and in coastal waters will allow the region to take a pioneering role in the bioeconomy. Based on strategies for the high-value processing of plant-based raw materials, like arable crops, reed, or algaes the alliance aims to transform the economy of north eastern Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The vision behind Plant³ is that by 2030, products made from renewable plant-based raw materials will make a significant contribution to the total economic output of the region. Special emphasis will be put on high-value foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, fine chemicals, building and other materials.

North eastern Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is characterized by low population density and agriculture, the regional economy is marked by a lack of large companies and a lower than average share of manufacturing. It is a typical under-developed region. Yet it also an ideal place to implement the bioeconomy. Due to the availability of sites (on agricultural land, wetlands, and in coastal waters) where renewable resources grow, the region can take a leading role in the transformation of the petrochemical-based economy to a biobased, circular economy.

Updated bioeconomy strategy 2018

The updated bioeconomy strategy was presented in the end of October 2018 in Brussels. The updated 2018 Bioeconomy Strategy emphasise the importance of development of a sustainable and circular bioeconomy aiming on maximising its contribution to the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as the Paris Agreement.

The action plan that is part of the updated 2018 Bioeconomy strategy focusses on three main actions to archive its aim including 14 sub-actions. 1). Strengthen and scale up the bio-based sectors, unlock investments and market, 2) Deploy local bioeconomies rapidly across the whole of Europe and 3) Understand the ecological boundaries of the bioeconomy.

Action 1: Strengthen and scale up the bio-based sectors, unlock investments and market 

This action is aimed at accelerating the development of a of sustainable and circular biomas-based solutions in Europe, by increasing the number of public and private stakeholders involved in research, demonstration and implementation of bio-based solutions. This will among other things be achieved  through the EU public-private partnership on Bio-Based Industries and launch of the EUR 100 million Circular Bioeconomy Thematic Investment Platform both under Horizon2020 alongside the development of new standards and labels for bio-based products.

Action 2: Deploy local bioeconomies rapidly across the whole of Europe

The aim of this action is to develop a Strategic Development Agdenda that will ensure a long-term vision and path ways to deploy and scale up the  bioeconomy in a sustainable and circular at the local level. This will include pilot actions showcasing the potential of the bioeconomy for rural, coastal and urban areas together with EU bioeconomy policy support for members state set up under Horizon2020.

Action 3: Understand the ecological boundaries of the bioeconomy

The aim of this action is to become better at understanding and measuring the effects and impacts of local and regional biomass supply within safe ecological limits. Enchaining this knowledge will also provide the foundation for others actions in the strategy and will ensure that the development of the bioeconomy is systematically monitored and reported to optimise governance and policy-making at the national, regional and local level and to ensure that it is coherent and sustainable.

Learn more about the new bioeconomy strategy here.

BioBIGG and COASTAL Biogas at POL-ECO SYSTEM 2018

The projects BioBIGG and COASTAL Biogas were part of this year’s edition of POL-ECO SYSTEM in Poland.

The International Trade Fair for Environmental Protection POL-ECO SYSTEM is the largest and most important event in Poland and Central and Eastern Europe, presenting advanced technologies, solutions and products for sustainable development.

During the Workshop ‘Green Projects in the Interreg South Baltic Programme’ the BioBIGG project was presented to other Interreg projects in the region and interested stakeholders. The Interreg project ‘COASTAL-Biogas’, which is coordinated by the FNR, was presented as well.

Within BioBIGG FNR is leading a Work Package and engages in the task to build a transnational network of stakeholders in the South Baltic Region. To find out more about the ‘COASTAL-Biogas’ project, visit their homepage

BioBIGG study tour to Italy

In the end of September, the BioBIGG consortium went on a study tour in the Northern parts of Italy to learn more about activities within the bioeconomy field in the region.

The first day of the study tour began with a visit to the interesting and innovative Mogu company in Inarzo northwest of Milan. Mogu is a small and young company that are developing and scaling-up a range of mycelium-based technologies to produce naturally-grown biomaterials and products. This was followed with a fruitful round table meeting with the Region of Lombardia with representatives of regional groups active within the area of Bioeconomy presenting their ongoing projects and activities within the field.

The second day of the trip began with an educative tour of the waste management system in Milan early in the morning hosted by the local waste management company AMSA. After the tour the group travelled to Turin where the day ended with a two-hour meeting with different interesting stakeholders within the bioeconomy such as University of Turin, University of Milan-Bicocca, Novamont, Assobiotec and SPRING cluster.

The third and last day the group attended the IFIB 2018 International Forum on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioeconomy in Turin. The focus of the Forum was biotechnology, as provider of new resources for industries. Amongst many other interesting things, the new EU Bioeconomy Strategy was presented by the EU commission. There was also an informative section on how to finance the bioeconomy, with a presenter from the European Investment Bank amongst others. The group concluded that the northern Italian region has a very vital and interesting bioeconomy where we have a lot to learn.

BioBIGG at the European Bioeconomy Congress in Lodzkie

The European Bioeconomy Congress Lodzkie 2018 was held on September 24th, 2018, in Lodz, Poland. It is an annual initiative aimed at supporting development of bioeconomy in Central and Eastern European Bioregions.

The main organizer of the event was the Lodzkie Region. The Congress was a gathering of representatives of business, academia and NGOs. Objectives of the Congress were to support transfer of knowledge between European bioregions. The problems discussed this year included the battle against smog, digitization in closed cycle, modern technologies in bioeconomy and high-quality food.

One of the many sessions was devoted to increase industry involvement in local bioeconomy value chains as well as to increase participation in the European and national programmes supporting bioeconomy development , entitled  – Bioeconomy cluster (BIO) NETWORKING, under the patronage of the Polish Bioeconomy Technology Platform.

One of the several interesting keynotes was given by Adam Puchejda dwelling on the challenges brought by the growth of population and fast depletion of natural resources. He stressed that human impact on the environment and climate changes requires concentration of forces, with a focus on sustainable development of ecosystems based on integrated value chains. Development of social bio-economic initiatives in cluster activities has been pointed out as a key element of support to innovation in the knowledge triangle of research, education and business, promoting transformation towards increased commercialization of knowledge, development of business and social communication.

BioBIGG workshop about biomass potentials and market opportunities

On the 14th of June, the BioBIGG cross-border workshop on biomass potentials as well as market opportunities took place at the University of Greifswald arranged by RISE (Research Institutes of Sweden) and SLU (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences). The main focus was on biomass potentials from agriculture and industry in the participating regions and how to get SMEs point-of-view on potential implementation of production of biomass-based materials, products and energy. The workshop included a world cafe with interesting discussions and knowledge-sharing among the participants.