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European regions fostering innovation for sustainable production and efficient use of woody biomass

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Biomass demand met by Short Rotation Coppices

Biomass is becoming more and more important as an energy source in Europe. The growing demand for biomass raw materials has led to the cultivation of fast-growing tree species in Short Rotation Coppices (SRCs).

Energy

The EU-funded ROKWOOD (European regions fostering innovation for sustainable production and efficient use of woody biomass) project has supported the cultivation and effective utilization of SRCs in European regions. Its aim was to overcome local barriers to the development of biomass regions in Europe and produce a roadmap to strengthen the sector. Project partners identified six areas that appeared to be particularly important for the success of SRCs. They included the implementation of pilot and demonstration projects in particularly suitable regions, the improvement of knowledge exchange between players, the setting up of an interest group at EU level as well as regular information and demonstration events. On the basis of an analysis of the political, economic and social conditions for SRCs, various hurdles were identified which occurred in all the participating countries and therefore needed to be overcome at the European level. These included the low level of awareness of SRCs and the low level of expertise amongst potential players, an often lacking or incomplete SRC infrastructure as well as limited political and financial support. However, the consortium realised that once the barriers identified were overcome SRCs would represent an economically attractive alternative to other types of land use. The marketplace for SRC players and other interested parties is therefore accessible on the project website. Current players include farmers, machinery manufacturers, contractors and energy producers. The initiative also fostered cooperation between the six participating European research clusters in Sweden, Spain, Germany, Poland, Ireland and Great Britain. Their goal was to improve research, technological development and market response. Each cluster has a minimum of three partners and comprises at least one research institute, an SME and a public authority. ROKWOOD was co-funded under the “Regions of Knowledge” initiative of the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development, the objective of which has been to strengthen the research potential of European regions. This is achieved by enhancing the development of “research-driven clusters”. Watch the project’s video here.

Keywords

Renewable energy, biomass, Short Rotation Coppices, ROKWOOD, European regions, roadmap, research clusters

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