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Friday, 14 September 2012

BIO-PPP Consultation Launched

A crowded meeting in Brussels on 10 September saw the launch of a widespread stakeholder consultation on the proposed BIO-PPP. Some 170 delegates met in the Renaissance Hotel to find out more about the proposal and listen to views from various industry sectors, academics and national government speakers.

BIO-PPP is a proposed Public Private Partnership (PPP) on the Bio-Based Industries which aims to lead the transition in Europe towards sustainable alternatives to our current petroleum/ fossil fuel-based society. The aim of the initiative is to help establish a new European bioeconomy encompassing all stages in the value chain from biomass harvesting and logistics via efficient conversion processes to the manufacture of bio-based products. The industry group behind the initiative comprises major companies from a cross-section of sectors including forest, agricultural, paper, chemical, energy, fuels and biotechnology.

The aim of the Brussels meeting was to increase the visibility of the initiative and initiate a consultation process on a draft strategic research and innovation agenda. The meeting was organised by the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) who are hosting the BIO-PPP secretariat. The presentations made at the meeting are now available from the CEPI website.

Marco Mensink of CEPI described the current status of the BIO-PPP. The initiative had been started in February 2012 with the launch of the European Commission's Bioeconomy Communication and an initial recruitment of partner organisations (including SusChem).

The BIO-PPP vision document was now finalised and following the consultation process it is hoped to finalise the Research and Innovation Roadmap in late September/ early October. An Impact Assessment will be undertaken by December 2012 and the initiative is aiming to become a legal entity at around the same time. The PPP would build further during 2013 with the final goal to be ready by January 2014 for the commencement of the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme.

Speakers from the German Ministries of Agriculture and Research welcomed the initiative to support the growth of a sustainable bioeconomy. They recognised that there was a need to get the right implementation structure for a harmonised EU-bioeconomy strategy and that research and development activities were key.

The initiative complemented the recently published German National Research Strategy Bioeconomy 2030 that is funded to the tune of some €2.6 billion already (from public and private sources) and was working from an entire value chain creation approach.

SPIRE – BIO docking?
During questions the issue of the need to avoid overlap between the BIO-PPP and the SPIRE (Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency) initiative was voiced by a number of delegates. Clearly both PPPs have their own identities and cover distinct and far reaching fields of activity with extensive industry participation in each. They also share a number of organisations as partners including Cefic, EuropaBio and SusChem.

Although each PPP represents a roadmap towards delivery of benefits and improvements to different areas of EU industry, the environment and the economy, there are nevertheless areas of communality and a space where both PPPs meet, adding value to one another’s potential deliverables.

There have been extensive discussions between the two initiatives to ensure duplication and redundancy are avoided and that the two PPPs offer clear benefits to Europe by complementing each other in developing comprehensive innovative and sustainable solutions. Clear docking points between the two proposed PPPs have been described to avoid unproductive overlap and to reinforce mutual supporting activities.

More information
To obtain more information on the BIO-PPP, including copies of the Vision and Research Roadmap documents and to find out how to get involved with the consultation process, please contact the consortium secretariat at CEPI.

The consultation process for the SPIRE Roadmap is also still open until 1 October. So far well over 200 individual responses have been received. To access the SPIRE consultation click here, to download a copy of the draft SPIRE roadmap click here.

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