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Boosting sustainable use of regional biomass resources

Five rural regions with extensive biomass resources increased cooperation in the field of research and innovation activities and boosted biomass business competitiveness. The project strengthened regional biomass research and innovation capacities and competence and encouraged investment in biomass energy use.
Boosting sustainable use of regional biomass resources
Five rural European regions have extensive biomass resources, such as forests, agricultural products or by-products derived from agriculture, industry, municipal waste and forestry. Such resources have the potential to benefit the regions socioeconomically and support European climate policy and goals for reducing dependency on fossil fuel imports. However, related industries need considerable scientific and business input to utilise these resources economically, sustainably and efficiently. The EU-funded BIOCLUS project focused on boosting competitiveness and growth in Central Finland, Western Macedonia (Greece), Wielkopolska (Poland), Slovakia and Navarre (Spain).

The project promoted cooperation between regional research orientated clusters and strengthen the regional research capacities. The clusters focused research activities on supporting the sustainable use of regional biomass and developing innovation-related activities through mentoring partner regions. To achieve these aims, the clusters produced Strategic Research Agendas (SRAs) during the project's first reporting period. These were based on the analyses regarding regional biomasses use, biomass potential and business opportunities. The SRAs were facilitated by Joint Action Plans (JAPs) that specified essential activities for achieving strategic targets by 2015 and in the longer term. The SRAs, regional and mutual JAPs and analyses were published and disseminated via the project website .

BIOCLUS has been successful in many ways. The regional research orientated clusters were satisfied with the achievements and the project partners remain steadfast in their commitment. The project has strengthened regional capacity and competence, especially in the renewable heating and cooling technology sector. It also led to further R&D cooperation between the clusters. BIOCLUS improved research related innovation management by mutual learning at organisational, regional, national and EU level.

The project had some very concrete achievements. For example, it encouraged the investment of new bioenergy plant in Slovakia and supported the process for including biomass as an energy source in the energy plan for Navarra. BIOCLUS also offered a platform of Cardoon knowledge transfer from Western Macedonia to Wielkopolska, leading to practical experiments in cardoon production. Central Finland gained torrefaction expertise from Navarra and shared knowledge and experiences of biomass combustion technologies with project partners.

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