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Roadmap for the Chemical Industry in Europe towards a Bioeconomy

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - RoadToBio (Roadmap for the Chemical Industry in Europe towards a Bioeconomy)

Reporting period: 2018-05-01 to 2019-04-30

The RoadToBio roadmap for the European chemical industry aspires to increase the share of organic bio-based chemicals up to 25% of the total volume by 2030. The roadmap consists of three elements:
- Action plan: summarises actions for implementing the roadmap
- Engagement guide: provides communication tools to promote bio-based chemicals and easy-to-read information on the roadmap
- Strategy document: provides in-depth background information integrating all RoadToBio research activities
RoadToBio identified the opportunities up to 2030, as well as the different barriers that hinder the materialization of these opportunities, and brought these together in a roadmap (where to go) and an action plan (how to remove the barriers). In order to achieve this, a sound fact-base was essential. Therefore, the first objective of RoadToBio was to create an overview of:
1. the current status of the bio-based portfolio of the chemical industry, and how bio-based products can compete with fossil-based products.
2. new markets (or chemical industry sectors) where bio-based feedstocks or intermediates can play a role;
3. the business case of several ‘sweet spots’ (the most attractive opportunities according to the priorities of the chemical industry).
In order to derive a holistic roadmap that can lead the way, the analytical part of the project is considering feedstocks, technologies and markets and regulatory issues, societal needs, consumer questions and communication. In order to create a roadmap with a great impact, the development was continuously supported by the involvement of stakeholders from the chemical industry, government, NGOs, brand owners, the financial sectors and academia.
"In WP1 an analysis of the most promising opportunities (sweet spots) for the chemical industry was conducted which covered i.e. markets, technologies and raw material analysis of the current status of bio- and fossil-based chemical value chains. In total, more than 500 chemicals were analysed for process chains, application groups and production quantities (D1.1). 120 chemicals identified with the highest potential to replace fossil-based chemicals were examined for ease of implementation, market size and prices. This formed the basis for selecting nine exemplary business cases: 1,4-Butanediol, Dodecanedioic acid, Ethylene, Furfural, Glycerol, Lactic acid, Methanol, PEF/PET and PHA. (D1.2)
Work Package 2 analysed the existing regulatory framework and the influence of public acceptance on bio-based chemicals, materials and products. A combination of literature research and direct involvement of stakeholders was applied to collect existing regulatory barriers on EU level and derive suggestions for overcoming these barriers (D2.1). Existing studies on public acceptance of bio-based products were examined and verified via interviews (D2.2 D2.3). The published results in D2.1-D2.3 were used to develop target group specific key messages, that considered potential contributions the bio-based economy can make to fulfill societal needs, and that consequently were fed into D4.1-D4.3. Because a number of relevant aspects for the bio-based economy also touch on the circular economy, it was furthermore investigated what possible interfaces and differences between the both concepts exist, with a particular focus on topics of the chemical industry (D2.5).
A remarkable feature of the project was the high level of dissemination activities and strong interactions with various stakeholders to increase the awareness as well as the acceptance of the roadmap through the integration of stakeholders' ""insider knowledge"" and feedback. For this a network has been built up. In the course of the project, the project results were broadcasted (website, social media, webinars (3), newsletters (14), conferences (over 20), articles (2), via partner´ and external newsletters). Fort he integration and receiving feedback from the stakeholders workshops (3)as well as interviews(5) on specific topics were conducted and stakeholder groups were invited to express their views on the draft of the roadmap, barriers and structure through surveys in order to develop a document that is practical and easy to use.
In addition to the analysis results from WP 1 and WP 2, the consortium conducted additional analysis on drivers for uptake of bio-based chemicals in different product groups in WP4. These together with stakeholder engagement informed the development of the strategy document, action plan and engagement guide. The roadmap set out clearly the actions needed to enable the use of bio-based feedstocks and intermediates in the chemicals industry between now and 2030.

Ways could be shown to enable the transition from fossil-based to more bio-based products of the chemical Industry. The consideration of the entire process chain from raw material and intermediates to the finished chemical product makes an important contribution to the identification of the opportunities of the chemical industry to biologise processes by using bio-based feedstocks or enzyme bases process steps.
Applying the results of the analysis of public perception can support the chemical industry in successful product advertisements and marketing. More targeted advertising can increase the demand for bio-based consumer products, thereby an increase in sales figures and thus an enhancement of the production of bio-based products and intermediates.
The manufacturing of chemical products, both fossil and bio-based, is subject to a whole series of regulations and these are mentioned as one of the most critical leverage points. By analysing existing laws at EU level and summarising them in a project report together with the developed set of recommended actions how to tackle the identified barriers (part of D4.1 and D4.2) this overview can provide valuable information and guidance on how to increase the bio-based resource utilisation and ideas and to transform the industry into a more sustainable and renewable one.
D2.2 and D2.3 (Reports on public perception of bio-based products) provide an easy access to build on and advance research in the field of socio-economic considerations. Applying the results can support the chemical industry in successful product advertisements and marketing. More targeted advertising, e.g. based on the key messages developed in D2.4 can increase the demand for bio-based consumer products, thereby lead to an increase in sales figures and thus an enhancement of the production of bio-based products and intermediates.
A significant feature of the project is the continuous involvement of different stakeholders from industry, academics, NGOs and governmental bodies. To bring these actors together increased mutual acceptance of their needs and aims. Their direct integration in the roadmap development process ensured acceptance of the jointly developed goals and subsequent implementation of the final roadmaps recommendations in existing processes.
The development of the roadmap with the continuous involvement of the chemical industry will be a significant step towards creating a more bio-based future for the EU. Support for bioeconomy and the circular economy in a wider context will strengthen the knowledge base in the European regions and will thereby ensure EU competitiveness in this field. This can result in economic and ecological benefits and will create new and innovative jobs for the bio-based future of Europe.
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