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ICT-BIOCHAIN - ICT Tools in Efficient Biomass Supply Chains for Sustainable Chemical Production

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ICT-BIOCHAIN (ICT-BIOCHAIN - ICT Tools in Efficient Biomass Supply Chains for Sustainable Chemical Production)

Reporting period: 2019-06-01 to 2020-05-31

In 2006, Andalusia (Spain) and South-East Ireland were selected by the European Commission as model demonstrator regions (MDRs) to lead the way towards a sustainable chemical industry in Europe. ICT-BIOCHAIN arises as a tool to capitalize the development of these regions serving as test-bed locations for the implementation of bio-based Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) focused on biomass mobilization. The main concept of the project is based on three elements:
- Competence Centres: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Fraunhofer Institute of Material Flow and Logistics from Germany and Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre, University of Strathclyde from Scotland
- Regional Facilitators: Institute of Technology Tralee and Technological Corporation of Andalusia
- Regions: Represented by the Andalusian Regional Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Sustainable Development and the Irish Bioeconomy Foundation.
The objective of ICT-BIOCHAIN is to identify opportunities for using ICT tools to increase the efficiency of biomass supply chains supporting Europe’s bio-based industry and contributing to several BIC SIRA strategic objectives. ICT-BIOCHAIN brought together leading experts and support networks in order to develop DIHs to examine opportunities for ICT, IoT and Industry 4.0 and it extends this knowledge to other EU bioeconomy regions.
The specific aims of the project and the performed activities were:
1. Establishing multi-actor DIHs for biomass supply chains within the two MDRs. DIHs in both regions were formed following a multi-actor approach including primary producers, bio-based industries, and ICT specialists. Several activities were held: launching, knowledge transfer, demonstration and investment events.
2. Developing region-specific bioresource data models and providing access within the DIHs to stakeholders for a better knowledge, information and technology to promote opportunities for state-of-the-art technologies to be integrated into biomass supply chains. A database with descriptions of 107 examples of technology solutions and two regional bioresource data models were developed.
3. Establishing a user friendly online platform to allow for wider exploitation of ICT, IoT and Industry 4.0 tools and bioresource data for improving the supply chain efficiency, supporting the growth of the EU bioeconomy by facilitating greater availability of competitively priced biomass for sustainable chemical production. Relevant stakeholders in the EU and beyond are able to access these data since April 2020 and at least until May 2022 at https://ictbiochain.eu/platform/.
4. Developing value chain coalitions of multi-actors through knowledge transfer, dissemination and exploitation activities. A programme for regional transference was established from both DIHs with several activities (above-mentioned). These events provided opportunities for stakeholders from various sectors to meet and discuss their interests, to exploit arising opportunities for cooperation and to explore different financing options.
5. Paving the way for replicating DIHs in other EU bioeconomy regions by providing a roadmap training towards replication of DIHs for the bio-based sector in Europe and build networks with other bioeconomy regions. The roadmap was shared during a train-the-trainer workshop and the final public event, both supported by e-learning materials.
As a final remark, it can be concluded that;
• The use of ICT is needed to boost the biomass value chains in the bioeconomy sector for biomass supply chains mobilisation.
• DIH formation as regional structures for the development of the bioeconomy in a sustainable way by cooperation and mobilisation of the main actors at regional level can be replicated in other regions.
• All the work was aligned with EU policies (i.e. Green Deal, CAP),
• Using the prototype platform and the biomass data model can boost long term sustainability.
• Cooperation among all types of stakeholders in the biomass value chains is fundamental for the expansion of the bioeconomy.
An extensive mapping of ICT, IoT and Industry 4.0 solutions and opportunities has been performed resulting in a database (online platform input). Within regions, bioresource data collection enabled the implementation of the biomass arising and composition models.
The project platform was developed and is available at https://ictbiochain.eu/platform/ , serving as the first-of-its-kind point to store and share the information including: regional biomass and waste resources and the state of the art in ICT.
The establishment of the DIHs was implemented. The Irish and the Andalusian DIHs were launched on June and July 2019 and both were followed by their corresponding dynamization activities.
One of the main outputs of the project was the organisation of the train-the-trainer event. This was done as a virtual event coordinated with STAR-ProBio (Horizon 2020) attracting a wider audience.
ICT-BIOCHAIN has achieved its goals in terms of dissemination and exploitation; 3 scientific articles were submitted, 4 newsletters were issued, 4 webinars were organized, 9 workshops were held, and the consortium partners attended 25 external events to disseminate the project to different stakeholders.
Platform business model strategies were defined, focusing on identifying the most suitable archetypes considering the platform prototype and its “first-of-its-kind” online tool. ICT-BIOCHAIN platform is categorized into the Marketplace and Subscription archetypes with four potential revenue streams (free use with ads, incentivized advertising, freemium and subscription). These two differentiated business approaches were reinforced by an extensive and holistic approach in terms of communication with 3 awareness campaigns, continuous update of the project website with more than 24 blog posts, 2 corporate videos, e-learning materials (ES, EN) and more than 500 posts on social media.
Overall, more than 11,000 stakeholders were reached, according to the analytics, divided into scientific community (260), industry (155), civil society (90), general public (around 10,000), policymakers (30), media (200), investors (60), customers (80) and others (150).
ICT-BIOCHAIN contributes to the scientific knowledge by connecting ICT disciplines and its application in value chains. Additionally, it has increased the cooperation across regions and different types of stakeholders through the implementation of the DIHs and their transference to other EU regions. Concerning the market and impact on industry, it has carried out knowledge transfer events to showcase technologies to connect local and international competence centres. Also investment day activity has potentially increased competitiveness facilitating the implementation of new business opportunities. Also, education and training activities have been performed by elaborating e-learning materials which have fostered the awareness around the bioeconomy. Transference to regional policy makers have been addressed in the project through the direct participation of the Andalusian Regional Ministry and the Irish Bioeconomy Foundation.
Indirectly, the project has contributed to the decrease of GHG emissions by releasing the potential of underused resources. The implementation of ICT such as blockchain can contribute to safer processes by implementing traceability methods.
Consortium Picture during the KOM in June 2018 in Brussels