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Take-off for sustainable supply of woody biomass from agrarian pruning and plantation removal

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - uP_running (Take-off for sustainable supply of woody biomass from agrarian pruning and plantation removal)

Reporting period: 2018-06-01 to 2019-06-30

In Europe, at least 10 million hectares of land are cultivated with vineyards, olive and fruit plantations (about 6 % of the cultivated area). Agronomic practices like agricultural pruning and plantation removal (APPR) are estimated to produce more than 20 million tons (dry matter) of biomass per year. APPR residues are mainly burnt in open-air fires, shred on top-soil or, only in few cases, utilised to produce firewood, woodchips, hog fuel or pellets.
Multiple isolated cases of APPR value chains exist in Europe, showing that under the current local frameworks the energy use of APPR wood can be feasible. However multiple non-technological barriers limit its use. uP_running project aims to unlock the European strong potential of APPR biomass and to promote its sustainable use as energy feedstock by following a strategy in 4 action lines: FRAMEWORK, ENTREPRENEURSHIP, KEYS FOR REPLICATION and TRANSFER and MULTIPLICATION.
1. FRAMEWORK: uP_running partners have performed from an early stage of the project a bottom-up work by meeting multiple actors in regional and national workshops (more than 30 in 7 countries) as well as through bilateral meetings. The results are:
• 4 Regional action plans in the so-called demo countries (ES, IT, GR and UA)
• 7 National strategic Plans (ES, IT, GR, UA, PT, FR, HR) and an aggregated version foe Europe
• Based on the strategic plans, 1 EU Roadmap and policy recommendations, revised under consensus of a group of relevant national and European players
The vision gained and the alliances created by uP_running partners have prepared the ground for an ambitious advocating action including more than 70 meetings with lobbying organisations and policy makers, 7 national policy workshops, plus 2 at EU level. A relevant effect has been caused,among principal achievements:
• National ministries (agri. / rural develop) of 7 countries reached and well aligned with uP_running vision
• National and EU agricultural, rural development and bioenergy organisations have contributed in project events and vision; more realistic and normalised vision on the APPR features
• DG AGRI has expressed interest in uP_running; uP_running utilised as an example of good initiative
• Co-organisation of policy workshop on APPR with 2 relevant MEPs (Members of European Parliament) on agriculture (attended by multiple influencing organisations and actors and 5 MEPs).

2. ENTREPRENEURSHIP: actions orientated to support stakeholders in their path to entrepreneurship, so called “initiators” or “prime movers-PrMov”, respectively having a limited knowledge and vision, or a more mature perception of the potential new value chain. 2 partners by country (an agricultural organisation and a technology centre) have carried out the work to complement the respective competences and visions.
• 20 PrMov assisted (finding and engaging the necessary actors, selecting technologies, test the value chain at pilot scale, assess economics and CO2 balances, and posing the exploitable business model)
• 4 PrMov object of a final support for reaching market status
• more than 60 companies involved in the value chain demo tests
• 46 initiators supported with consultancy
The effect is reflected in next figures:
• 5 new value chains triggered (mobilising >30.000 t APPR biomass/yr)
• 10 new APPR near investment (awaiting funding or final decision making)
• 18 new regional-national-European promotion projects / initiatives triggered
• relevant participation of SMEs in the promotion of new APPR value chains: 55-60% of PrMov and initiators, and 75% of consultants.

3. KEYS FOR REPLICATION: the legacy of uP_running beyond of the project, well scoped and edited materials, available in English + 7 EU languages (PT, ES, FR, IT, HR, GR, UA), to be available online till end 2024:
• D2.3 Policy recommendations and brochure
• D3.3 lessons learned in organising new APPR value chains
• D3.4 lessons learned through accompaniments (advises for consultants)
• D4.1 Training materials for consultants
• D4.2 Consultancy handbook
• D6.3 & D6.4 Report on 10 APPR flagship cases
• 4 videos on APPR value chain demonstrations
• 4 videos on 4 new APPR supported value chains
• Monograph 1 – Insight on how to organising a new APPR value chain
• Monograph 2 – solving the APPR dilemma: use as energy feedstock or as input to soils
• Monograph 3 – Keys for success of existing APPR value chains
• APPR Observatory: google maps tool providing info of (currently, June 2019) with 410 data points on APPR productivity (t/ha),67 registry of APPR harvesting / treating (t/h or ha/h) and 42 existing value chains (10 of them object of in depth reporting - “flagship cases”)

4. TRANSFER and MULTIPLICATION: multiple actions along the project performed in purpose of reshape the vision and transfer knowledge, leading to:
• Organisation of: 23 regional workshops, 10 national workshops, 1 EU workshop
• 14 national and 1 EU ad-hoc project events
• At least 156 project presentations at national and European level
• Publication of 369 short news and 39 technical or scientific articles.
• At least 25 National and European fairs attended to develop synergies and create network.
Knowledge transfer has included actions for extending vision and knowledge to other actors and organisation inside and outside the project geography,leading to:
• >170 attendants to trainings for consultants
• 27 consultants accompanied when carrying their first consultancies
• Involvement and activation of interest of 10 EU national organisations from Bosnia&Herzegovina, Austria, Slovenia, Serbia, Poland, Cyprus, Slovak, Hungary, Romania, Georgia
In terms of figures the achievements are:
• Circa 7,000 target actors directly met during networking and project events.
• A potential audience of 400,000 people addressed by the dissemination tools, YouTube channels and the uP_running project website, observatory and national websites
uP_running has set the path for facilitating the increase the energy use of biomass from agricultural pruning and plantation removal (APPR). It has caused new value chains to settle, new initiatives to start, created permanent capacity in several countries and assured uP_running legacy. Additionally after uP_running APPR for bioenergy is acknowledged by multiple relevant national and EU players to be in line with relevant EU policies (bioeconomy, circular economy, climate change & renewable energies, rural development and sustainability of agricultural exploitations). This, together with a more favourable framework for APPR (specially under the frame of the new CAP) is expected to allow a relevant expansion of APPR use in next years.
A penetration of 50 % of the potential by 2030 (equivalent to 10 Mt of dry matter) can contribute to the EU goals in the mentioned policies, as next:
• a reduction of the net energy import of EU28 by 0.76 %
• avoiding disposal of residues in open air and thus release of pollutants (contributing to better air quality) and reduce circa 10 million tons of CO2 (assumed part was not being burnt)
• by substituting fossil fuels APPR has demonstrated the ability to cause reductions above 90% (following the RED II methodology), and thus contributing with a net abatement of circa 17 MtCO2 eq. per year
• new economic activity in rural areas, with impact in employment to circa 15,000 equivalent new jobs.