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Fostering Sustainable Feedstock Production for Advanced Biofuels on underutilised land in Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - FORBIO (Fostering Sustainable Feedstock Production for Advanced Biofuels on underutilised land in Europe)

Reporting period: 2017-07-01 to 2018-12-31

In a context of growing competition between land uses within and outside of Europe, bioenergy development is often seen as one of the possible contributors to such competition. However, in the EU there are portions of land which are not used or cannot be used for productive activities. This is the case of contaminated land or land unsuitable for the production of food or feed, set-aside lands and fallow lands. Bioenergy crops have the potential to be grown profitably on these lands and can therefore offer a source of income to local populations while contributing to achieving the targets of the Renewable Energy Directive (EC/2009). This is the case of contaminated sites in Italy and Germany, where industrial and mining activities have affected the quality of the soils in specific areas and have impacted the possibility to carry out traditional agriculture. As a consequence, local farmers are often left without a source of income and the environmental quality of the contaminated areas degrades. Not only soils, but often also water resources are impacted by the presence of contaminants which in turn may be reflected on the health of local populations. In addition, in associated countries like Ukraine, large extents of land are left uncultivated and vast areas of the country are unexploited because of low demand for agricultural products. Bioenergy offers an alternative productive use of all afore-mentioned lands where the biomass is not used for food or feed production but for energy purposes.
In line with its above outlined vision, FORBIO has the following specific objectives:
1. Identification of social, economic, environmental and governance-related opportunities and challenges for advanced bioenergy deployment through a series of multi-stakeholder consultations;
2. Evaluation of the agronomic and techno-economic potential of the selected advanced bioenergy value chains in the case study sites of the target countries;
3. Assessment of the environmental, social and economic sustainability of the selected advanced bioenergy value chains in the target countries;
4. Analysis of the economic and non-economic barriers to the market uptake of the selected sustainable bioenergy technologies; and development of strategies to remove the aforementioned barriers, including identification of roles and responsibilities of relevant stakeholders;
5. Encouraging European farmers to produce non-food bioenergy carriers and capacity building of economic actors and other relevant stakeholders for setting up sustainable local bioenergy supply chains.
The FORBIO project is implemented from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2018 (36 months). In the Interim Period, after 18 months of implementation, the following work has been performed and the following results have been achieved:
- Agronomic feasibility studies for the case study areas in Italy, Germany and Ukraine
- Techno-economic feasibility studies for the case study areas in Italy, Germany and Ukraine
- Best practices for bioenergy policy, regulations and support schemes
- Workshop and study tour in Italy
- Finally, the project was disseminated by various means (website, social media, flyers, posters, presentations, etc.) to the different stakeholder groups and to the large public.
The impact of FORBIO project can boost local level green economy and manifest the creation of jobs by assessing the potential of underutilized land and define the necessary legal and administrative settings. The created biomass product and value chains will be transferable and will be planned so that the investment costs will be optimized and the replication of sustainable bioenergy projects can be implemented across the EU and in specific regions.The approach of FORBIO is novel and requires a set of innovative solutions and breakthrough analyses in order to achieve the project goals. The combination of sustainability tools, methodologies and novel concepts represents the most detailed, comprehensive and, in the meantime, versatile technique for addressing sustainability impact needs of proposed advanced biofuel value chains at the sub-national level available.
Participants of the FORBIO study tour in Sardinia, Italy
FORBIO workshop in Sardinia, Italy