“I am convinced that this crisis will teach us many lessons and I am sure that the day after will find us working together to kick-star again our economies and drive our recovery towards a more resilient, green and digital EU.” Philippe Mengal, Executive Director of BBI JU, talks to IlBioeconomista. In this exclusive interview, he tells us how the European bioeconomy is reacting to the crisis of coronavirus.
Clariant conducted tests on approximately 30 tons of miscanthus provided by INA, Croatia’s leading oil and gas company. The miscanthus biomass was harvested and baled at the INA demonstration site in Croatia in February this year and shipped for processing to Clariant’s pre-commercial sunliquid plant in Straubing, Germany for conversion into lignocellulosic sugars and ethanol.
The final event of the European project FIRST2RUN will take place at the Square Convention centre in Brussels on June 20. Co-ordinated by Italian biochemical company Novamont and funded by the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, FIRST2RUN is a flagship project involving four companies and universities from Italy, UK and The Netherlands.
Climate change, population growth, soil degradation, biodiversity loss. These are the main challenges that humanity is called to face at the beginning of the millennium. The bioeconomy is one of the keys to tackling them and overcoming them, reconciling the economy, the environment and society. Based on the use of renewable biological resources as raw materials for industrial, energy, food and feed production, according to the European Union it has the potential to create at least one million jobs by 2030. The book that I wrote together with Irene Baños Ruiz aims at drawing a precise and up-to-date picture of the concept of bioeconomy, its origins, connections with sustainability and the circular economy and the multiple applications that we find in different products of our daily life.
I would like to thank particularly Philippe Mengal, executive director at BBI JU, and Marc Palahì, director at the European Forest Institute, who have written in a truly passionate way the foreword and the introduction of the book. Now “Che cosa è la bioeconomia” (What is the bioeconomy) is available only in Italian, soon also in English.
I would also like to thank all those who have accepted to be interviewed (Fabio Fava, Chris Patermann, Catia Bastioli, Massimo Centemero, Sandy Marshall, Mathieu Flamini, Jennifer Holmgren, Michael Carus and Frank Rijsberman) and in general all those who are making the sustainable and circular bioeconomy possible worldwide.
“I also believe that we need to embrace genetic technologies, rather than be fearful of them, to enable the greatest beneficial outcomes in the shortest time”. To say it – in this interview with Il Bioeconomista – is William Cracroft-Eley, chairman of Terravesta, a leading miscanthus supply chain specialist, producing sustainable energy from marginal land. In this interview he talks about miscanthus and the role of farmers in the bioeconomy, the BBI JU Demo Project GRACE, “which is demonstrating the feasibility of 10 bio-based value chains for hemp and miscanthus biomass at an industry relevant scale”, the bioeconomy in UK after Brexit and the Vivergo’s case.
Innovation within the bioeconomy needs a deep analysis of the market. We can identify and exploit trends and market needs. This article describes the need for market analysis in the bioeconomy sector, and provides insights on developments in biogas and bioplastics, for future market exploitations.
“The Bio-based industry grows really strong in confidence. In just a few years, it moved mountains by creating new value chains. This means new partnerships between sectors that never worked together before”. Dirk Carrez, executive director of BIC, which represents the private sector in a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) with the European Commission, also known as the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), talks to Il Bioeconomista. In this long interview with us he talks about the main achievements of the bio-based industry in Europe and its new vision 2050. “Only with a renewed BBI JU will we be able to effectively work towards realising the Circular Bio-Society”, he says.
An Open-innovation Platform to strengthen cooperation and joint development of bio-based industries and downstream sectors. This is BIOPEN, the European open-innovation platform that will support bioeconomy stakeholders to succeed, offering them new ways to accelerate the production of their sustainable and competitive bio-based products.
“Europe is becoming a very attractive area to invest in bio-based Industries: where BIC members were announcing a portfolio of 2bn euros investment in 2014 the same survey announced 5 bn euros investments in 2017”. To say it – in this long, exclusive interview with Il Bioeconomista – is Philippe Mengal, executive director of the BBI JU. The Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking is a €3.7 billion Public-Private Partnership between the EU and the Bio-based Industries Consortium. Operating under Horizon 2020, it is driven by the Vision and Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA) developed by the industry
According to Mengal, “The next decade is a critical period for the EU. We need to reinvent our economy to face the challenges of climate change and resource constraints. Europe is committed to excelling in smart, sustainable growth and mobilizing investment to create new products and new markets is key”.
“GRowing Advanced industrial Crops on marginal lands for biorEfineries” (GRACE): this is the name of the BBI demonstration project under the coordination of the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart (Germany) and with a unique consortium made up of universities, agricultural companies and industry. The aims will be achieved by knowledge exchange between these groups, together with new crop varieties and cultivation experiments on areas that have been polluted by heavy metals, for example, or are unattractive for food production due to lower yields.