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New Strategies on Bio-Economy in Poland

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - BioEcon (New Strategies on Bio-Economy in Poland)

Reporting period: 2018-07-01 to 2020-12-31

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, domination of traditional agriculture and agrifood sectors, and analyses of R&D activity focusing on intellectual property and investments. A country where agriculture plays a dominant economic role, such as 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 the Strategy for the Development of the Country defining developmental goals for Poland up to 2020. The other national strategies containing bioeconomy issues are: Strategy for Innovation and Efficiency of the Economy, Strategy of Energy Safety and Environment 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 to develop bioeconomy in the macro-region summarized in a Vision paper: (a) Support the sustainable increase of biomass production (b) Underline the need for circular (“zero waste”) processing of available biomass, (c) Support the viability of rural areas.
The BioEcon project aimed 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 closely cooperate with the other departments of the Institute, with the main purpose of regional development in line with knowledge-based bio-economy.
Within the third and last reporting period, the BioEcon project has accelerated progress and completed all work packages. The new ERA Chair team (chair, two post docs and a PhD candidate) integrated senior researchers who spent sabbatical leave, covering a large spectrum of expertise, in sequence, so that for the last two years of the project at least one senior researcher was part of the international team at any given time. 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 Lubelskie. Meetings with key stakeholders were conducted to establish collaboration paths with IUNG and other joint initiatives at the national level. 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 observing qualitative and quantitative leap for the BSA department, 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 projects were submitted and eight of them were accepted for financing including the coordination of a European consortium in the context of the CSA H2020. The promotional campaign of the BioEcon project continues. Communication and dissemination materials were prepared and shared with IUNG partners, the newsletter regularly released additionally to information disseminated via the website now counts 12 issues, communicating BioEcon activity urbi et orbi. The administration of the project and financial management was done on a daily basis. Every three months, the coordinator ensured 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 Dept. Biomass potential is monitored under agricultural sustainability criteria in high spatial resolution for various climatic scenarios. This is complemented by capacity building enabled by the project. Modelling experience of the international team members, namely economic and biophysical modelling 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 has benefited by knowledge transfer on Life Cycle Assessment complemented by active collaboration with the Center for Industrial Ecology (Univ. of Coimbra, dr. Freire). Additional topics such as input-output analysis to assess impacts at the regional level and/or to the entire economy, composite indicators to assess environmental impacts, multicriteria analysis for sustainable farm management and farm productivity parametric and non-parametric measurements are addressed by the senior researchers. Research in these topics is joined by additional doctoral candidates, five PhD proceedings were initiated during the third reporting period supervised by the habilitated scientists of the new department and co-supervised by the ERA Chair.

All the above are meant to converge to develop a platform accommodating developed databases and to build a modelling interface able 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 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 at various levels of readiness, 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, biogas technologies and cascade biorefineries are already considered the most efficient and innovative technologies to convert biomass and waste to bio-based products.
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