Integrating rape-seed-oil for asphalt creation

It is expected that bitumen prices will continue to increase over the next few years, making alternative raw materials more competitive and with increasing market share for this product.

Renewable materials such as rapeseed oil are used to replace a small part of the bitumen for road maintenance binders. As a result, the innovative procedure has been used to create a repair asphalt mix that can be installed in cold conditions. Around one-third of this pioneering binder consists of biobased materials.

Rapeseed oil is one of the basic ingredients for the product, which is a typical agricultural product. The yield of 1m² of a rapeseed field equals to 1m² of road surface material.

Forecasts assume that about three percent of the bitumen could be replaced by rapeseed oil, which corresponds to about 15,000 tonnes of rapeseed oil in Austria and 100,000 tonnes in Germany, per year.

The product is also sold in small units (e.g. 10 kg buckets) in do-it-yourself-stores for home applications.

The integration of this product into the mixture of bitumen and aggregate binder fits the traditional process for asphalt manufacturing.

Nikos Kyriakoulis
Biochar from agricultural waste

An Austrian company has developed a pyrolysis processes for the production of biochar from agricultural residues.

The biochar is made out of carbonized grain hulls. Straw, compost from biowaste and non industrial sewage sludge, residues of a biogas facility and mineral elements are added to create different product lines. All components are collected within a radius of 70 km and used to produce:

- Synthetic Terra Preta

- Black earth and synthetic chernozems (type of naturally occuring very fertile black earth)

- Synthetic terra preta (very fertile type of soil formed by human activity of the indigenous rainforest populace)

- Long term fertilizers for organic farming

- Gardening soils

- Soils for landscaping

- Feed coal enhancing animal growth and health

- Litter coal retaining odour of manure

Farmers are crucial actors for ensuring the circularity of the practice. They benefit of an economic advantage when selling residues as input material for the processing industry. This is transformed into a value added product for farming, cattle breeding and stock farming, which entails the following properties:

• Caching of nutrients in the "manure sponge"

• Nutrients plant-available on the field

• No leaching of manure nutrients into the groundwater

• Carbon storage in the field

• In case of long-term application simultaneously humus structure

• Better water storage capacity of the soil

Nikos Kyriakoulis
EIP-Agri Operational Group kick-off Ireland’s first small-scale biorefinery project with Carbery Group and Barryroe Agri Co-Op

Earlier this month, the “Biorefinery Glas” EIP-Agri Operational Group, co-funded by Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine and the EU, kicked off at Institute of Technology, Tralee (IT Tralee).

The project sees the Institute partner with University College Dublin, GRASSA B.V., Barryroe Agri Co-operatives and Carbery Group is one of the country’s leading international manufacturers of speciality food ingredients, flavouring systems and is also a leading producer of award-winning cheeses.

The Biorefinery project aims to address key sustainability challenges in Irish agriculture, by encouraging farmers into the circular bioeconomy, which will deliver and support new income streams and drive business diversification.

“Biorefinery Glas is one of the first bioeconomy initiatives in Europe, looking to move farmers further up the bioeconomy value-chain; to become bio-processors, rather than just suppliers of low-cost biomass,” said project Co-ordinator James Gaffey of IT Tralee.

“The EU Commission in its recent Bioeconomy Strategy update has highlighted the important role that primary producers, such as dairy farmers, can play within the bioeconomy. It also highlighted the role that small-scale biorefineries can play in allowing farmers to diversify their income base in a sustainable manner. This could be replicated across Ireland and the EU, helping to improve protein availability and reduce emissions, while also producing value-added co-products”.

The project team will bring a mobile multi-product biorefinery, which optimises the use of grass by separating it into a spectrum of co-products, for demonstration to various farms to show how it can improve value and resource efficiency.   The demonstration unit will first isolate the protein that cows process most effectively from the grass.  It will then take the remainder of the protein, which the cows don’t use, to produce a co-product feed for pigs or chickens.

This approach improves the efficiency of nitrogen use for milk production, while providing pigs and chickens, who would otherwise not be able to access grass protein, an indigenous source of protein concentrate. Given the EU’s dependency on feed imports, and the commissions focus on developing a protein plan for Europe, a mechanism for improving protein efficiency is timely. An expected benefit of improving the nitrogen use efficiency for milk, includes a potential reduction in nitrogen loses and ammonia-related emissions for the dairy sector.

Said Enda Buckley, Director of Sustainability, Carbery Group: “For the past fifty years Carbery has conducted its business, while embracing strong sustainability principles.  Sustainability is foremost in our minds and we are constantly striving to improve our approach and that of our shareholders every day.  It was an easy decision for us and our farming partners to participate in this project and we are all looking forward to seeing the mobile grass biorefinery in action, to see where it can take us from both a sustainability and farm income perspective.”

 An additional, value-added co-product, is fructooligsaccarides, which will be extracted from the deproteinised grass whey.  It has a potential application as a prebiotic in animal or human nutritional projects and as an ingredient in cosmetic solutions. As processing takes place close to the farm, the nutrient-rich grass whey residue, can be reapplied to the field as a fertilizer or as a co-substrate for biomethane production, through anaerobic digestion for on-farm energy use.

The project comes at a critical moment for both Ireland and the EU, with the Commission’s proposal for the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) aiming to make a much stronger contribution to the sustainable development agenda.

Nikos Kyriakoulis
Behind the scenes at Omegabaars and Tomato Masters

Wednesday the 24th of April, partner Innovatiesteunpunt was welcomed with open arms in both companies, Omegabaars (fish grower) and Tomato Masters (tomato grower), with a diverse group of Belgian growers and other stakeholders. The Enabling project is convinced that this collaboration is unique and therefore one of our best practices!

Through this visit, growers were able to learn and see this collaboration in real life. Johan Vlaemynck from Tomato Masters and Vincent the production manager from Omegabaars were willing to answer every question.

We had a look at production hall from Omegabaars. We are told that Omegabaars is completely circular in regard to water use. Yearly, 30 million litres, is circulated between them and Tomato Masters. Tomato Masters catches rain water through the roofs of their greeneries and their cisterns. Omegabaars also has their own cistern (to catch rain water) of 10.000m3 as well as a big water treatment plant. Therefore water is circulated in two directions; waste water from the fish bassins is treated and then transported too Tomato Masters to water their plants. Caught water at Tomato Masters is transported to Omegabaars in return. An additional benefit for Tomato Masters, is that they need less fertilizers and save around €22.000/year.

Next to this, we are made aware of the tropic temperature inside the production hall. This is because the original fish is coming from Australia and their natural habitat needs to be imitated. They also make their own O2 and send it through the bassins.  Therefore electricity and heath are needed. Because the starting point of Omegabaars was to grow a sustainable fish, renewable energy was needed. Luckily, Tomato Masters has both solar panels and a Combined Heat and Power (CHP). Tomato Masters produces energy for around 500 families, but now also for Omegabaars. They made an arrangement that was better for both. Next to this, the rest heat, produced by the CHP, is transported to Omegabaars.

Additionally, we learned a lot about the production process from the fish and the fact that the fish is not fed with fishmeal, but with a vegetarian diet. This is much more sustainable than common aquaculture, because to grow a fish with fishmeal, fish from the see is needed to produce the fishmeal. We even got to taste the vegetarian feed, but the fish tasted better!

Jana Roels,

Nikos Kyriakoulis
ENABLING Workshop in Athens

Partner Core Innovation co-organized and participated in Biomass Day 2019 that took place in Athens on 19 April 2019.

Biomass Day 2019, under the title "Moving towards a bio-based economy in energy and environment: supply chains and innovation", was organized by BIOENERGY NEWS magazine and SHAPE Business Events, under the auspices of the Hellenic Biomass Association (HELLABIOM), and in cooperation with Core Innovation, the Center for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH), the Agrarian Association (INASO - PASEGES), the Center for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving (CRES) and the Cluster of Bioenergy and Environment of Western Macedonia (CLuBE).

Important representatives, stakeholders and field experts from the national and regional biomass sector were present, either as speakers or as members of the audience, and keynote presentations created interest and stimulated the participants to engage in discussions and exchange of views, ideas and opinions.

The event was divided into two sections.

The first module concerned Bioenergy & Supply Chains with presentations about:

  • The latest developments in European policy on Bioenergy

  • Actions for the collection and harvesting of prunes in Greece within the framework of the projects uP_running & AGROinLOG

  • Roadmap for the Introduction of Non-Food / Industrial Crops in European Agriculture as a Raw Material for the Production of Bio-products and Bio-energy

  • Sustainable development in the solid biofuel sector

  • Supply Chains of Biomass for Small and Large Teleheatings: The cases of Amynteus and Ptolemais within the framework of the projects Agrowchain and Disheat

  • The contribution of biomethane to bio-based transport and gas networks

  • Biomass handling practices for Biogas and Biogas production and Disposal of the Produced Residues

The second module concerned Bio-based Products & Processes with presentations about:

  • The EU funded project "ENABLING": Good Practices, Coaching Services and BiomassTrade Platform

  • The single-use plastic problem solution with bio-based materials: The Biodegradable Straw of Vegetable Origin

  • PHEEkia acquire a second life and claim a bit of our everyday life

  • Developments and financing opportunities in the field of bio-economy (EU Bioeconomy Strategy and Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking)

  • The EU funded project "RUBIZMO": "Cultivating" Fresh Ideas for Rural Business and Entrepreneurs

  • Case Studies: Implementations of Bioeconomy and Greek Entrepreneurship

Finally, an interactive workshop was held within Biomass Day 2019 that involved demonstration and discussion on materials and products from the Bioeconomy Industry.


Nikos Kyriakoulis
Microfibrillated Cellulose from spruce

A Norwegian company has built the world’s first commercial-scale production facility for Microfibrillated Cellulose (MFC). It has a capacity of processing 10.000 metric tonnes/year for deriving 10% paste (1000 metric tonnes dry matter).

The input material is derived from Norwegian spruce. The fiber improves rheology and stability, and has the capacity of enhancing structure in many different product formulations.

Thanks to a fibrillation process, the cellulose fibres are converted into a three dimensional network of microfibrils with an ultra-high surface area. These microfibrils are called MFC.

The fiber results a suitable material for the production of adhesives and sealants (performance enhancer), paint and coatings (improves rheology and stability), agricultural chemicals (performance enhancer for pesticides), personal care products (performance enhancer for skin creams and sprays), home care products (replaces surfactants in laundry soap), and construction (additive for cement).

The practice moves collaboration between spruce growers, the MFC producer and end users applying the material. This contribute to bring benefits for farmers given the increasing demand of spruce and the value creation of cellulose feedstock.

The establishment of a biorefinery with a new high-value product has contributed to create new direct jobs (57 Full-time equivalents by 2020) and indirect jobs throughout the entire value chain.

Nikos Kyriakoulis
Fish-Tomato farm partnership

A Belgian tomato grower has entered into a unique collaboration with a fish farm. The tomato farm supplies electricity, rain water and residual heat to fish nursery while receiving back filtered water as a reciprocal service. The water becomes an excellent product full of nutrients for the tomato crops, reducing the use of fertilizers with clear benefits for the farmer and the environment.

Both companies need large quantities of water for their productions. The tomato farm collects sufficient rainwater thanks to the large roof surface of the greenhouses and is able to supply part of it to the fishing farm.

The fishing farm water, soiled by feces and feed debris, but rich in nutrients, is drained regularly and mixed with fresh water.

Thanks to this concept, it is possible to have aquaculture without wasting water. In addition, the tomato farm is saving money on buying extra fertilizers.

Around 40-400 m³ fishwater/day are channeled toward the tomato farm from March to October, which amounts to the 90% of the total water processed by the fishing farm.

The tomato farm counts a cost reduction of €22000/year in fertilizers while the fish farming has considerably reduced the amount of wastewater that had to be purified before being discharged into nature.

There is a 50% less distribution costs for the fishing farm and a fixed price for a part of the electricity provided by the tomato company.

Nikos Kyriakoulis
ENABLING Workshop during the 10th South-East European Waste Management & Recycling Exhibition & Conference

Within the framework of the 10th Specialized Exhibition and Conference on Waste Management and Recycling 'Save the Planet' held in the International Expo Centre Sofia 16 - 18.04.2019, the National Biomass Association (BGBIOM) organized the first seminar and workshop within the context of the ENABLING project, funded by Horizon 2020. The list of attendees included 69 representatives from related entities. Presentations of the aims and tasks, as well the instruments of the project were presented by representatives of the BGBIOM. Experts from different fields presented the perspectives for re-use of agricultural residues and waste as raw materials for biobased products.

Prof. Anna Aladjadjiyan from National Biomass Association in Bulgaria has been interviewed during their workshop in Sofia by the local agricultural TV station Agrotv, and discussed material about bio-fertilizers (interview in Bulgarian).

Nikos Kyriakoulis
Candle cubes from apple wood

The apple industry turned out to be a big opportunity for the region of Hasepngouw (Belgium). The high availability of wooden residues from apple trees, prompted a Belgian company to create new value added products out of this specific biomass.

About 800.000 apple trees (30.000 tons of wood) are stubbed in the region every year. Before of this practice, the generated biomass was kept under-exploited or left beside on the field.

The candles and fire pit made out of wood chips and paraffin became a local alternative to the paraffin pots traditionally used by farmers.

The product is sold to practitioners and used as frost protection for the blossom in orchards (both open field and covered), with 8 hours-burning-time. Candles can also be used in gardens, with a burning time of 3 – 4 hours;

The practice follows a circular approach, with several benefits for practitioners:

1. Ashes turn into organic fertilizer for the orchard

2. The farmer does not have to collect the empty pots

3. Optimized logistics due to the cubic shape of the candles

4. The product is cheaper than the normally used pots (1500€ / night / ha instead of 2500€)

5. Producing no smoke makes them suitable for protected crop areas as, for example, Sherries

6. Smaller in size, farmers can drive over with tractors

7. Farmers can reuse their own wood as a source material

8. They contain only a limited amount of paraffin

Nikos Kyriakoulis
Bio products from thistle

The green industrial requalification of a former petrochemical area in crisis led to the establishment of a bio refinery for the production of bio-based materials from thistle.

The raw material, extracted by thistle plant, is selected to create an innovative range of bio-products (bioplastics, bio-lubricants, plant protection, additives for the rubber and plastics industries, food fragrances, proteins material for feed).

An important feature is the production of bio-extender oils that have been specifically designed for the tyre industry and are allocated to replace partially, or fully, those from fossil origin.

The bio-plasticizers, which are used in the flexible PVC industry, results as a valid and effective alternative to the more commonly used phthalate esters.

The thistle practice has revived strategic partnership amongst several actors such as thistle producers, cattle farmers, beekeepers, the bio-based companies and end users.

The activity is triggering positive benefits for local farmers, encouraging the development of new crops led by the new market opportunities offered by the thistle plant. In addition, business diversification and new forms of income have been created for those farmers involved in the business.

The cultivation of the thistle allows them to obtain a net profit of at least 245 euros per hectare thanks to the incentives of Measure number 10 of the PSR, Regional Rural Development Program.

Nikos Kyriakoulis
Bio product from grape processing – the Polyphenols practice

A winery and distillery company, located in the northern-east of Italy, turned to be an excellent example of biorefinery able to use its agricultural residues to produce a varied range of bio-based products.

Thanks to the total usage of biomass generated by grape processing (540,000 tons/year), the wine company has brought waste production close to zero (0.1% of the discarded materials).

In order to obtain the best valorization of organic residues, the owner has equipped the process with modern technologies able to extract natural antioxidants and oils from grapes seeds.

Polyphenols: is a natural antioxidants used in the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, food and cosmetics industries. The oil obtained by the process, is recommended for its high content of polyunsaturated components, which are higher than all other vegetable oils.

The company counts numerous production partners including 30 wine cooperatives producing wine from 12,500 vine growers over an area of 35,000 hectares, equal to 7 million quintals of grapes produced every year.

A number of factors has contributed to trigger new market opportunities for this company:

  • Consistent and steady availability of biomass

  • Increasing requirements for biodegradability and environmental compatibility of products

  • Activated agreements of partnership with other stakeholders (within the region or other regions and/or inter-sectorial)

Nikos Kyriakoulis
Soil Nutrients from Wool

An “Interreg-europe” project has developed activities for the re-use of remaining coarse wool from sheep farming, which resulted unserviceable for further textile application. Wool residuals are converted into soil conditioner fertilizers using small-scale, local hydrolysis plants. Heated water treatments convert wool keratin into fertilizers. Sheep wool has elements beneficial to plants like azote and carbons; moreover, its capacity to absorb humidity is important to those soils less able to store water.

The activity fosters collaboration amongst several and different actors such as research centers, manufacturing companies, local farmers and companies producing organic fertilizers and soil/plant amendments.

The organic fertilizers produced from wool contributes to reuse a considerable amount of waste (200.000 tons of coarse wool generated in the EU every year). The process requires the establishment of small scale, local hydrolysis plants.

The practice is delivering a number of benefits and new opportunities for practitioners:

•       Reduced transportation costs of both fertilizers and wool waste

•       Better control of the coarse wool waste

•       More integrated environmental management

•       Elimination of transportation costs and environmental damages related to coarse disposal

•       Production of fertilizers for the processing companies without supplement of dangerous chemicals

•       Better management of the coarse produced by farmers, with the possibility of additional profit generation

Nikos Kyriakoulis
Phone Bio-based cases from flax crop residuals
flaxseeds (2).jpg

A Canadian based company is producing phone cases for smartphone devices that are biobased, 100% compostable, BPA, lead cadmium & phthalates free.

It makes use of a material called FlaxsticTM, a combination of non-food crop residuals such as flax shives and fibres, together with biopolymers.

The supply chain considers a close involvement and collaboration of different actors such as flax producers, logistics companies, the bio-based company for phone cases and final consumers.

The region of Saskatchewan is abundant in oilseed flax. The activity is fostering the creation of new market opportunities for these crop residuals, which are now turning into a new form of revenues and incomes for farmers.

The whole business model is also contributing to reduce the amount of plastic employed by consumers, alleviate the dependency from non-renewable fossil fuels and oil-based plastic while enhancing awareness on plant based solutions. The company benefits of a solid market share due to the uniqueness of the product/process. The practice promotes cooperation among similar stakeholders in the agri-food sector while encouraging research for a different use of the FlaxsticTM.

Nikos Kyriakoulis
Rural and agri-industrial wastes: Valorization in new and innovative products

In the first year of the project, collaborations among Enabling partners and its stakeholders have been very promising!

During the 2nd edition Science Festival Fermhamente*, held in Fermo last October 2018, Itabia and Stiftinga Vestlandsforsking / Western Norway Research Institute (WNRI) had the opportunity to participate in the conference “Rural and agri-industrial wastes: Valorization in new and innovative products”. The conference was organized by ITT Montani di Fermo an active stakeholder of the Enabling project, in close collaboration with Fermo's Municipality.

The basic idea behind this multi-party conference was to present the recent progress achieved in the scientific field of replacing fossil fuels use in the manufacture of products, such as plastics. The use of rural and agro-industrial residues, as key-ingredients for producing Biobased products, was the central focus.

WNRI has performed a detailed analysis of rural and agro-industrial wastes from Western Norway and their potentials for use in production bio-based products.

Itabia has highlighted several European Good Practices focused on virtuous use of agricultural wastes in several innovative supply chains, from bioplastics to tires, and finally to producing biofertilizers.

The ITT Montani Institute has shared the latest progress on fossil-based plastics substitution via upcycling of the food industry to produce new composites. More in depth, they showed their concrete experiences derived from numerous laboratory experiments focused on valorizing of agro-industrial and fishing residuals towards the sustainable production of new bio-materials. ITT Montani has also analyzed the molecular fingerprint of the composites volatiles in order to demonstrate that the priority air pollutants released by fossil plastics that pose a significant public health threat are missing.

The issues addressed are in line with latest emerging political concept on circular bio-economy. The exploitation of residual wastes towards sustainable production in biodegradable biomaterials, integrated with the new concept of biorefineries, reduces the enormous environmental impact caused by the accumulation of non-biodegradable wastes, globally. This leads to avoidance of higher costs of waste disposal. At the same time, it avoids using food resources as a starting material for bio-based composites, and results in a non-food bio-based output that can be integrated with several common steps of the circular economy (bio-fuels or bio-energy pathways).

Thanks to sharing of mentioned experiences, concrete examples of which opportunities can have innovative biomaterials, what impact will have on society behaviour and potential opportunities of job and economic growth, have been presented.

Enabling Partners : Dr. Otto Andersen and Dr. Hønsi, Torunn (WNRI), Dr. Carla de Carolis (ITABIA)

Benerficiaries from ITT Montani Fermo: Prof. Teresa Cecchi and Headmaster Dr. Margherita Bonanni (ITT Montani)


* ;

Nikos Kyriakoulis
First Enabling webinar: presentation of selected good practice examples

On Monday, January 28, at 14:00 CET, the first ENABLING webinar will be held. The coordinator, Giorgia Noaro, will give a general introduction of the ENABLING project and its objectives, followed by the presentation of three selected good practice examples from Belgium, Italy and Bulgaria. These good practice examples show how to sustainably use biomass and biomass residues while adding value to the by-products. The webinar aims at anybody who is interested in bioeconomy, circular economy, bioeconomy projects and sustainable use of biomass residues. There will be the opportunity to ask questions to the presenters and to discuss about the topic with the other participants. The webinar will be in English. If you want to participate in the webinar, please write an e-mail to Christine Beusch:, then we will send you the dial-in details.

Nikos Kyriakoulis
BiomassTrade Platform will be launched in 2019

Within the last months, EPC developed the most fundamental key legacy of the ENABLING project, the BiomassTrade Platform. This trading platform is an online venue where biomass producers and biomass processers meet to directly exchange currently unused biomass residues and by-products. The BiomassTrade Platform allows interested users to search and offer biomass residues and by-products, bio-based products as well as services in the different sectors of bioeconomy. The BiomassTrade Platform will operate EU-wide but aims to connect stakeholders on a regional level to foster the exchange of goods and services on a regional level.

Right now, the BiomassTrade Platform is in an extensive testing phase that will last several months, where its functionality is checked thoroughly. When all technical amendments are made, the platform will be translated to all ten languages that are present in ENABLING. Then, in 2019, the BiomassTrade Platform will be launched stepwise, within the duration of ENABLING it is intended to make the platform available EU-wide.

We will keep you updated!

Nikos Kyriakoulis
Next stop Plovdiv

The 3rd partners’ meeting of the ENABLING project took place from 21 to 23 of November in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. National Biomass Association (BGBIOM) hosted the consortium in the Work Centre NOVIZ. There were 22 participants representing the 16 partners’ institutions. Best practices, innovation brokerage platform and coaching services were at the top of the agenda. Last day of the meeting, partners visited cosmetic company” Rosa Impex” Ltd., which is an example of good practice in the field of Bulgarian Bio-Based products.

Nikos Kyriakoulis
So, what is a good practice?
So what is a good practice.jpg

During the 2nd project meeting, Richard van Lijssel from Darling Ingredients presented ECOSON as a good practice showcase. Let’s have a closer look into ECOSON and their approach.

Pig manure is so rich in phosphate that in the Netherlands, a country known for its intensive livestock farming, it has become the cause of a significant mineral surplus. As a result, Dutch pig farmers are legally required to find an acceptable processing solution for their excess manure. ECOSON created a solution.

ECOSON is a specialist in repurposing residuals into renewable resources. Working with local partners, they collect manure, organic food waste and swill from restaurants and food manufacturers, and use these materials to create high-quality, high-value solutions. Combining state-of-the-art technology with uniquely sustainable processes, ECOSON produces renewable electricity and renewable gas for the local energy market and organic phosphate-based fertilizer for agriculture.

ECOSON is an example of closing the loop on economic and ecological sustainability for urgent challenges in (national) agricultural sector. Through chain collaboration ECOSON is able to make a farmer’s challenge/problem an economic opportunity to combine fertilizer production for farmers abroad with renewable energy production for local society.

Nikos Kyriakoulis
Why do we collect good practices?

On our first issue, we presented the concept of good practices. The collection and identification of these good practices is very important since it will lead us to the next milestone which is a permanent coaching service. The coaching service will be available through an online interface provided via the website, to support biomass producers or the BBP Industry (Bio-Based Products and Processes) for the uptake of emerging best practices.

Farmers and/or Biomass Industries can utilize this service to ask for advice and guidance on how to adopt ongoing good practices. Through this online platform they can connect with industrial partners and maximize business opportunities. Furthermore, they will have access to scientific and technical papers on BBPs, studies on the economic, environmental and social impact related to BBPs and they can request for legal support for future or existing BBP businesses.

Nikos Kyriakoulis
Study visit in WNRI

ENABLING project is the first step in a process that will create, structure and expand the EU Community of Biomass and BBPs stakeholders.

Within this framework, one of the stakeholders of the Italian cluster led by partner Itabia, Montani Institute, has started a collaboration with the partner Western Norway Research Institute (WNRI).

During the 1st week of September, three Italian guests from the Chemistry department of the Montani Institute (Fermo, Italy) participated in the study visit in the WNRI (Sogndal, Norway). Otto Andersen welcomed the students Ilaria Caffarini and Annalaura Luciani and their tutor Teresa Cecchi. He introduced them to the activities of the WNRI that supports local industries in the management of municipal, fishery, agro-food, and forest waste and their upcycling by using a "cradle to grave" vision. The smart disposal of bioplastic (PLA) glasses has been one of the most interesting aspects of this work experience.

The two institutes are sharing a similar approach to overcome some environmental impacts linked to the waste recycling, with a further valorization of residues. The Chemistry department of Montani Institute has created innovative pathways for the valorization of fishing and rural waste to produce bioplastics using mussel and clam shells or agro-food residues.

That shared approach is principally based on smart upcycling of agro-industrial wastes to produce new composites in order to:

(i) avoid the cost of waste disposal

(ii) reduce bio-based composites price (the high-cost prevents the take-off of this sector)

(iii) avoid taking edible resources as a starting material for bio-based composites

(iv) result in a bio-based output different from the usual ones (bio-fuels or bio-energy)

(v) reduce environmental pollution

The exchange and dissemination of best practices for the emergence of biomass value chains are crucial for a circular and sustainable economy and for a thriving bio-based sector, to kick off innovation by a promotion of biomaterials

Nikos Kyriakoulis