The TWG aims to introduce and inform the member states representatives about the future research and innovation priorities and funding schemes of the next Horizon Europe framework program with specific regard to bio-based industries including the energy sector. The TWG provides the opportunity to the representatives to comment and to engage in a dialogue with European policy-makers on issues specific to their national and regional priorities in Central and Eastern Europe. The TWG meetings also allow BIOEAST stakeholders to get to know each other and bring their positions closer together on a specific topic. The group’s terms of reference, action plan in the context of the future BIOEAST Strategic Research and Innovation agenda is currently being written by the TWG members.
In light of the new position of bioenergy within bioeconomy, which shifts the focus from market-based energy production to the climate benefits that a bioenergy project could achieve, such as GHG emission savings from the whole supply chain, generation of new value-added products from byproducts of bioenergy, sustainable intensification of agriculture, increasing soil carbon and organic matter, etc., this TWG focuses on two bioenergy related concepts:
Integrating the existing bioenergy plants within the bioeconomy by generating new value-added products from by-products of bioenergy (waste heat, ash, CO2, digestate and nutrients…) Developing new bioenergy plants that would either increase the competitiveness of the agro-food and forestry sector of the BIOEAST macro-regions or benefit from producing a range of bio-based products in biorefineries.
Lessons learned from the previous decade indicate that, although bioenergy demand is determined in the energy sector, the trade-offs are related with sectors where biomass supply occurs: agriculture and forestry. Bioenergy including biofuels represents about 1/5th of the biomass demand within the EU 28 bioeconomy. The material use including the chemical sector go up to 1/5th of the total biomass demand. Unfortunately, today in Central and Eastern European countries the public discussion concentrates only on food-feed and energy aspects. The broader, systemic approach of biomass supply and demand is needed. As such, it could make undesirable agro-food and forestry disturbances if well-rounded concerted policy is lacking. Bioenergy production did not achieve synergy with rural development policies, not because bioenergy itself but because of poor national policy framework. RED II1 is minimizing the space for negative practice in bioenergy but it is up to the agriculture and regional policies to maximise the benefits from bioenergy production in rural areas. Moreover, the agricultural policy, also including rural development, should establish a strong influence of the biomass supply covering the food-feed, material-chemical use and energy-fuel demand.
A new approach is required, the biomass potential allows to produce food-feed and energy-fuel, but the value–added process and the sustainable use of the available bioresources requires the material use including the chemical sectors development. The benefit to the primary production sector cannot be achieved without the cascading use of the available biomass.