The Joint European Biorefinery Vision for 2030 predicts that the Biobased Economy is expected to grow significantly in Europe in the next 20 years. One of its core pillars is biorefining: the sustainable processing of biomass such as food, fuel and paper into a spectrum of marketable products and energy. In 2030, it is estimated that biorefineries will use a wider range of feedstocks and will produce an even greater variety of end-products than today.
Achieving the goals set out in the report will require future biorefineries to be better integrated, more flexible and operating more sustainably. This will only be possible if crucial bottlenecks along the entire value-chain can be removed.
To address these challenges, several strategic research areas must be addressed by 2020. These are:
- Biomass production and supply (including logistics)
- Processing (both pre-treatment and conversion)
- Programme integration (cross-sector, value-chain optimisation, process integration and overall sustainability assessments), and
- Market development (from research to markets).
“The new reports on Biorefineries as well as the key strategic research areas discussed at [the] conference have provided invaluable information and tools to enable policy-makers to build a framework for the development of a sustainable European bioeconomy, with a network of biorefineries playing an essential role,“ said Johan Elvnert, coordinator of the project.
Commenting at the event, Dutch MEP Judith Merkies said: “Policy-makers in Europe have identified three key challenges that will affect Europe before the rest of the world. These are an ageing society, stability and equity in the economy and resource efficiency. Because our consumption grid is the highest per person in the world, it is our responsibility in Europe to turn these challenges into benefits. The issues and solutions identified through the Star-COLIBRI project are exactly the kind of responses intended under the EU Innovation Partnerships and it is of critical importance to resource efficiency in Europe and to the economy as a whole that we initiate these solutions as soon as possible”
The Joint European Biorefinery Vision for 2030 and the European Biorefinery Joint Strategic Research Roadmap for 2020 are available to download on the Star-COLIBRI website.
To obtain more information on the Star-COLIBRI project contact project co-ordinator Johan Elvnert of the Forest-based Sector Technology Platform, or Christophe Luguel from the IAR Cluster.
Star-COLIBRI (Strategic Research Targets for 2020 – Collaboration Initiative on Biorefineries) is a two-year Coordination and Support Action funded under FP7. The project involves five European Technology Platforms (including SusChem) and five major European Research organisations.
Star-COLIBRI's main objectives are to overcome fragmentation and promote cross-fertilization in the area of biorefineries research, support innovation by speeding up and facilitating industrial exploitation of research results in the biorefinery field, promote coordination in the field of future R&D funding, and facilitate the creation of Public-Private Partnerships.