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SECURECHAIN Report Summary

Project ID: 646457

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SECURECHAIN (Securing future-proof environmentally compatible bioenergy chains)

Reporting period: 2015-04-01 to 2016-09-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

SECURECHAIN,, is one of the first HORIZON 2020 projects on biomass, focused on promoting the market uptake of bioenergy in six European model regions. The main objective is to promote a Sustainable Supply Chain Management (SSCM) practice that meets the highest environmental quality and financial viability standards and targets local biomass suppliers, energy producers and financial sector players. The project specifically aims to support SMEs in mobilising currently unused amounts of solid biomass and securing supplies through existing or novel bioenergy value chains.

Untapped volumes of residues from agriculture and managed forests constitute today’s quintessential renewable raw materials suitable for bioenergy production. However, given the multiple existing and emerging competing uses (i.e. construction, paper, furniture, fuel, chemicals, new materials), the European domestic demand for solid biomass is growing rapidly and projections anticipate a substantial scarcity of the resource in the near future. It is therefore necessary to establish effective solutions that prove the sustainability of the resource mobilisation for bioenergy use in a clear, traceable and cost-effective way.

SECURECHAIN aims to support SMEs mobilising currently unused amounts of solid biomass and secure supplies through pilot projects in six European model regions: North Rhine-Westphalia / Germany, Gelderland and Overijssel / The Netherlands, Småland / Sweden, Catalonia / Spain, Western Macedonia / Greece, and Tartu / Estonia. The specific project objectives are to: 1) Better integrate local supply chains in their organisational setup, information flows, biomass mobilisation and logistics, 2) Gain high efficiency and low impacts by enhancing quality control and fuel refinement of biomass, and promoting efficient technologies and systems, 3) Ensure sustainability of supplies according to the international state-of-the-art and certification standards, and 4) Leverage investments in bioenergy pilot projects by developing applicable guidance and facilitating critical financial proofs for market actors and financiers.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

SecureChain’s activities are aimed at technical support to SMEs’ pilot projects (WP2 and WP3), which rely on constant feedback loops with dedicated tasks targeting Sustainability (WP4) and Financing (WP5) as a means to enhance the pilot project business concepts. The main project stages and actions are summarized in the flow chart (see attached).

Phase 1 prepared the ground for the selection of pilot projects. Bioenergy opportunities were mapped in six condensed regional reports. The Innovation Voucher Competition launched an open call for SME pilot project proposals. 38 submitted proposals were checked and evaluated for technical feasibility by an expert committee, and the best pilot projects showing high potential were selected as demonstration examples for sustainable bioenergy solutions. Learning Lab workshops then were initiated by the pilot teams in each region and helped to prioritize their objectives and prepare plans for implementation.

Phase 2 pushes the implementation of the pilots. In total 21 SME pilot projects in six model regions have each signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the consortium. The pilots are now guided by the Regional Lead Partners during their realization in close cooperation with the SMEs. The thematic scope of pilots is wide and includes specific topics along all steps of the bioenergy value chain, ranging from biomass harvesting in the forest, upscaling of fuel production, energy conversion in efficient boiler systems, and even ash recycling at the very end of the chain. The Innovation Vouchers permit the SMEs to obtain dedicated analysis and advice from technical experts for their pilot projects. A series of feasibility studies, technical appraisals and market surveys were set up to assess and enhance the capacities of the pilot projects.

Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) of the pilots using consequential modeling were initiated to measure the direct and indirect environmental impacts in view of eligible quality and sustainability criteria. Selected pilot projects also started the preparations for independent sustainability audits fulfilling eligible international standards. A Market Segmentation and Financial Pre-check were carried out to characterize the portfolio of SMEs and pilot projects according to risks, ownership structures, maturity of services or products and financial feasibility. The assessment of financial needs for the implementation and market deployment of the pilots was initiated and a survey of regional grant schemes fit as investment support was carried out.

First results of the project have been disseminated on various platforms, including events organized and hosted by SecureChain beneficiaries as well as events of other European consortia, the EC or other international organizations, to communicate the pilots good practice examples and key messages among various communicators across the regions and to establish a mutual exchange with other initiatives.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

SMEs are central players in the local bioenergy value chains, undertaking a variety of activities, from forestry management to fuel processing, energy plants operation and maintenance. Therefore SMEs are the main target group for promotion of a Sustainable Supply Chain Management (SSCM) model notably through the dissemination of best practices across the EU. The common driver for the project is to better integrate local SMEs in biomass-to-bioenergy chains. Fostering an Innovation Mentoring package that comprises technical appraisal of products and processes, tailored training and coaching support to SMEs, SECURECHAIN tests a broadly transferable practice of sustainable biomass mobilisation and a proactive promotion of efficient solutions into regional bioenergy markets. The LCA and sustainability certification provides critical proof for business models, to convince financiers as well as concerned stakeholders, i.e. energy consumers and regional authorities.

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