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Clustering and networking for new value chains


Establish cooperation and integration across sectors, value chains and geographical borders to develop new bio-based value chains and facilitate market uptake.

Proposals should target actions on overcoming the existing sectorial thinking and proactively build bridges between different sectors and industries across Europe. Cooperating across boundaries of sectors, value chains and countries will exploit opportunities for symbiosis, synergies and complementarity in expertise and infrastructure.

Proposals should coordinate with on-going projects and activities that address bioeconomy regional strategies. For instance, the smart specialisation strategies, as coordination principle, could build more critical mass in the value chains valorising local resources.

The focus should be on the identification and establishment of concrete new networks resulting in new value chains involving the relevant actors. Proposals should also link to Horizon 2020 and EU initiatives that address similar needs. These are for example the European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs) ‘Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability’, ‘Raw Materials’ and ‘Water Efficiency’.

Proposals should address the following elements:

  • Linking producers of biomass, including ‘alternative’ biomass such as algae and other aquatic and terrestrial biomass, residues from food crops, agriculture and forest activities and bio-waste in general, with other stakeholders such as waste management operators, state and local administrations, to actors in biorefining and users of bio-based products.
  • Establishing new clusters and networks of local authorities and stakeholders in the bio-based industries aiming at building new value chains that lapse across traditional value ones.
  • Expanding the cooperation between existing (biorefinery) clusters across Europe to exploit opportunities for symbiosis, synergies and complementarity in expertise and infrastructure.
  • Maximising the use of technologies for information exchange and knowledge transfer between actors in the value chains at a European level.

The Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) will set up an industry expert group from among its members which will provide expertise in the implementation and follow-up of the different tasks and also provide support to the organisation of meetings or workshops. This expert group should be a central part of the governance structure of the project.

Effectively operating bio-based industries encompass a wide range of actors and stakeholders spread across several economic and industrial sectors and geographic locations. Each one of them has to-date traditionally been part of a well-defined value chain. This paradigm is undergoing major changes to incorporate the rise of new valorisation routes for bio-based feedstock.

In the new bioeconomy, actors in bio-based industries integrate in ‘cross-sectorial’ partnerships within their traditional value chains, and develop new value chains that lapse across the traditional ones. One significant result hereof is that intermediate ‘by-product’, ‘waste’ and 'residue' streams from separate value chains can be utilised as feedstock in other value chains through biorefining. This will imply an integrated biorefinery approach and establish a circular bioeconomy.

In addition, actors in bio-based industries have developed new schemes for cascading exploitation of biomass in order to maximise the efficient use of resources and the value of products. The challenge is to establish new industrial value chains across the EU (for example, based on industrial side-streams including those of food industry, urban bio-waste or aquatic biomass, etc.), crossing boundaries of traditional sectors and value chains as well as enhancing the exploitation of local resources. This will encompass the interaction across sectors with different expertise and new different business and cooperation models. With this approach technical hurdles will be overcome through cooperation between the industrial sectors and innovative technology developers; all actors also need to combine forces to address non-technological hurdles (for example related to policies).

Clusters, being networks of cities/local authorities, waste operators, biomass producers (forest, agriculture), and regions across Member States, are instrumental to develop new value chains and support the development of new processes and materials.

  • New synergies among activities between the primary sector (agriculture, forestry, aquatic, etc.) and industries with biological waste and residues streams from processes, and the bio-based industries (KPI 1 and KPI 3).
  • Concrete initiatives to identify and create new networks resulting in new bio-based value chains involving the relevant actors from different industrial sectors.
  • Demonstrated more intense and specific knowledge transfer among industrial partners and other stakeholders in the bioeconomy.
  • New clusters of bio-based knowledge and expertise across the EU, fostering the competitiveness of the European bioeconomy.