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New Strategies on Bio-Economy in Poland

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - BioEcon (New Strategies on Bio-Economy in Poland)

Reporting period: 2016-10-01 to 2018-06-30

The overview of the state of bioeconomy in Poland relies on conceptual issues, the European documents, the lack of complex and comprehensive strategy in Poland, the domination of traditional agriculture and agrifood sectors, and analyses R&D activity focusing on intellectual property and investments. In a country where agriculture plays a dominant economic role, Poland could take advantage of its agricultural resource endowments and develop technologies based on biomass, biofuels and biogas exploiting the untapped potential that promises faster take-off of bioeconomy. In Poland a unitary and comprehensive bioeconomy strategy for all involved economic sectors is still in the making. Some of the elements of bioeconomy were implemented in Strategy for the Development of the Country which defines developmental goals for Poland up to 2020. The other national strategies which contain bioeconomy issues are Strategy for Innovation and Efficiency of the Economy, Strategy of Energy Safety and Evironment and Strategy for Sustainable Development of Agriculture, Rural Areas and Fisheries. Emphasis is given to the contribution of the molecular and engineering sciences and the importance of long term support to innovative research to fine-tune science push vs. market and social pull forces. In the near future, a target of the national policies is to further develop renewable biomass -based energy.
At the same time Poland is an active member of the BioEast initiative renewed in June 2018 during the Hungarian presidency summarized in a Vision paper: (a) Support the sustainable increase of biomass production, in order to become competitive and leading high quality food and feed producers worldwide, (b) Underline the need for circular (“zero waste”) processing of available biomass, to become key players in the development of new bio-based value chains, (c) Support the viability of rural areas, by helping them to develop an innovative, inclusive and climate-ready growth model.
The overall objective of BioEcon is to develop, extend and fully unlock the research potential of IUNG in accordance with the new global strategies, trends and changes in national needs through the creation of an excellent international and interdisciplinary department of bioeconomy and systems analysis. The knowledge, experience, developed tools, research programme and collaborations will allow the institute to maintain the new unit in the institute also after the completion of the project. It will operate in close cooperation with the other departments of the Institute, with the main purpose of regional development in line with knowledge-based bio-economy.
Within the second reporting period, the BioEcon project has accelerated progress in all work packages. Despite a drawback because of the urgent need of renewal of the BioEcon team, WP1 and WP2 are now complete. A new ERA Chair holder has been recruited, then he coordinated the recruitment of two post doc and a PhD candidate. Moreover senior researchers have been invited in 6 month contracts enabling promising new scientists to join the team and established scholars to visit during their sabbatical leave, thus covering a large spectrum of expertise. Within WP3, the interdisciplinary strategy compiled in the previous period was specified complementing research capacity, promoting specific issues related to the ERA plan. Equipment purchased is already in use by the members of the newly formed department and the BioEcon project team. WP4 has focused on the regional action plan for identification and in-depth analysis of stakeholders. Based on the collected data, the key stakeholders were gathered, the energy cluster has been created in the region of Lubelski. Meetings with key stakeholders were conducted to establish collaboration paths with the IUNG and other joint initiatives at the national level. So far, WP 5 has focused on organizing workshops and trainings for students, as well as on participation in several conferences. A considerable number of publications has already appeared, an effort for closer cross-collaboration of team members to maximize efficiency of exploiting research outcome is undertaken. A Technology Transfer Office (TTO) has been established in IUNG to valorize novel ideas/products/services by any scientific laboratory of the Institute. Within WP6 systematic networking is underway at the national and the European level, several project were submitted and two of them were accepted for financing. The promotional campaign of the BioEcon project continues. Communication and dissemination materials were prepared and shared with the partners of IUNG, a newsletter is now regularly released additionally to information disseminated via the website. The administration of the project and financial management was done on a daily basis. Every three months, the coordinator was responsible for ensuring work progressed. The Management Board met every six months.
Current expertise of the Bioecon team is based on extensive agronomic, pedo-climatic and economic analyses by the members of the Department. Biomass potential is monitored under agricultural sustainability criteria in high spatial resolution for various climatic scenaria. This is complemented by capacity building enabled by the project. Modeling experience of the international team members, namely economic and biophysical modeling at the farm and agricultural sector level enables evaluation of the potential taking into account competitive uses of agricultural land. Assessment of bioenergy chains is undertaken by means of integrated farm-based agro-energy models and optimization models on the bioenergy industry infrastructure. This knowledge basis is benefited by knowledge transfer on Life Cycle Assessment complemented by active collaboration with the Center for Industrial Ecology (Univ of Coimbra, Freire). Additional topics such as input-output analysis to assess impacts to the entire economy, LCA multicriteria analysis and farm productivity measurements will be addressed by selected senior researchers in the context of sabbatical visits to the Department in the next 2-year period remaining (2018-2020).

All the above are meant to converge to build a modeling interface capable to evaluate alternative bio-based industry pathways at the regional and national level. The final objective is to support decision makers in Poland on efficient and sustainable strategies for the development of bioeconomy. Although comprehensive assessment of biomass potential is the basis for the national strategies and roadmaps, extended and sound knowledge of state-of the art and innovative bio-based technologies is required to complete the picture. A large number of conversion technologies to bioenergy in various levels of readiness level, namely commercial, off-the-self, emerging and under development are available. Scientific advances and technical progress support the idea that biomass conversion through diverse routes to a mono-product (bioenergy) does not optimize utilization of feedstock and consequently of land as a factor of production Multi-processes and multi-products models optimize the use of biomass. In this context cascade biorefineries are already considered the most efficient and innovative technologies to convert biomass and waste to bio-based products.
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