European projects

BIOTRANSFORM

Development of methods and assessment tools for the regional transformation of linear fossil-based value chains into circular bio-based value chains. 

Recent events at the beginning of the 21st century have shown that a fossil resource-based economy designed according to a linear business model is very fragile and hardly resilient to external crises. Moreover, this linear economic model of fossil resource exploitation often leads to unsustainable encroachment on natural ecosystems. This reduces their productivity and degrades the economic potential of our ecosystems.

Furthermore, rural areas in particular are facing a number of challenges and are becoming less attractive to younger generations due to a lack of employment opportunities. Out-migration, aging communities, and economic impoverishment are side effects of this development. The economy of such areas is often dominated by primary producers and therefore offers many opportunities to counteract these negative trends. BIOTRANSFORM helps to awaken the transformation forces in regions towards a circular bio-economy by making unused potentials visible. Often there are a lot of unused renewable secondary resources available that would be excellent for use in a circular bio-economy. However, many of these biomass residues are already used as animal feed or for reintegration into the soil as organic material.

However, most of these applications are usually of low economic value. In addition, the value-added of by-products (e.g. organic waste and wastewater), which are often generated in primary production, is usually very low. Together with the lack of knowledge about novel processes to add value to these by-products, this results in insufficient utilization of such secondary material flows. At the same time, many companies, policy makers and other stakeholders are not yet aware of the benefits and opportunities of switching industries to a bio-based circular economy.

Exactly this circumstance will be addressed by the project BIOTRANSFORM. The overall objective is to support policymakers in enabling the transition from linear fossil-based value chains to circular bio-based systems across the EU. This will be achieved through the development of a comprehensive impact assessment tool. Apart from supporting and facilitating decision-making, this tool illustrates the complex interactions of transformation pathways and promotes an understanding of their interdependencies.

It will include content such as resource flow analysis, a logistical optimization model, and a governance tool to assess the best possible decision available. Based on this development, structured interventions will be assisted by concrete interactions with the support of transition brokers. This enables a tailor-made regional methodology for the transition towards a circular bio-economy. Finally, this structured transfer tool will be tested across six economically underdeveloped sample regions in the EU.

Expected outcomes:

  • Knowledge base and evaluation methodology developed to help policymakers decide best pathways toward transition
  • Policies are designed to enable the transition from linear fossil-based systems to circular bio-based systems, setting priorities and milestones.
  • Expansion of BIOTRANSFORM’s results to other EU regions, to support the overall circular bio-based transition in the continent.
  • Reach a variety of different carbon-intensive value chains across the EU and provide circular bio-based alternative pathways for these value chains, which are lower in toxicity and environmental impact.
  • Enhance the valorization of waste and side streams in targeted value chains.
  • Increased and more attractive jobs in rural areas due to novel circular bio-based value chains (increased valorization, skilled jobs). Increase the overall market share of bio-based products/bio-based industry in targeted regions.

The role of alchemia-nova
Alchemia nova provides knowledge on the resource flow analysis tool, which will be an important part of the assessment tool. Moreover, it plays a crucial role in the implementation of the assessment tool in the different EU regions. It takes lead in translating the results of the assessment tool into easy-to-understand guidance steps. It also promotes the training of transition brokers and brings together key stakeholders, thus facilitating the transformation phase towards a circular bio-economy.

biotransform

Project coordinator
Teknologian tutkimuskeskus VTT Oy

Partners:
Alchemia-nova GmbH
Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology
Vlaamse Instelling Voor Technologisch Onderzoek N.V.
Fundación Corporación Tecnológica de Andalucía
Cluster of Bioeconomy and Environment of Western Macedonia
Cluster Industrielle Biotechnologie – CLIB eV.
BioEast HUB
Association of Cities and Regions
Q-PLAN international Advisors PC