EU and industry leaders have today launched a new European Joint Undertaking on Bio-based Industries (BBI). The aim is to trigger investments and create a competitive market for bio-based products and materials sourced locally and "Made in Europe", tackling some of Europe’s biggest societal challenges.
€3.7 billion will be injected into the European economy between 2014 and 2024 - €975 million from the European Commission and €2.7 billion from the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) - to develop an emerging bioeconomy sector. Through financing of research and innovation projects, the BBI will create new and novel partnerships across sectors, such as agriculture, agro-food, technology providers, forestry/pulp and paper, chemicals and energy.
The aim of the BBI is to use Europe's untapped biomass and wastes as feedstock to make fossil-free and greener everyday products. At the heart of it are advanced biorefineries and innovative technologies that will convert renewable resources into sustainable bio-based chemicals, materials and fuels.
Berry Wiersum, CEO of Sappi Europe, one of the major European companies represented by the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) underlined his company’s commitment to investing in collaborative research, development and demonstration of bio-based technologies: “The BBI Joint Undertaking is special because it will drive the use of renewable resources and innovative technologies for greener everyday products. The public-private partnership structure increases the likelihood that a new and sustainable European industry will be born.”
Organised in five value chains – that range from primary production to consumer markets – the BBI will help fill the innovation gap between technology development and commercialisation, sustainably realising the potential of bio-based industries in Europe.
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, said: "The bioeconomy has huge potential that is attracting investments all around the world. With this new partnership, we want to harness innovative technologies to convert Europe’s untapped renewable resources and waste into greener everyday products such as food, feed, chemicals, materials and fuels, all sourced and made in Europe."
The BBI is a shift from a fossil- and imports-based society to increase Europe’s share of sustainable economic growth, and is expected to create tens of thousands of jobs (80% in rural areas), revitalise industries, diversify farmers’ incomes, and reduce GHG emissions by at least 50% in comparison to fossil-based applications.
The BBI will manage the investments in the form of research and innovation projects that are defined in annual Calls for Proposals and implemented across European regions. In line with Horizon 2020 rules, all stakeholders are invited to submit innovative proposals and demonstrate progress beyond state-of-the-art.
First BBI Call for Proposals focuses on high potential / high impact investments
Also launched today is the BBI’s first Call for Proposals. It is a €50 million Call (not including industry contributions, which are expected to reach up to €100 million) that is a first step in a long-term strategy that will deliver tangible social, economic and environmental results. The Call contains a total of 16 topics:
- 10 Research and Innovation Actions with a total budget of €15 million;
- 6 Innovation Actions (5 Demo and 1 Flagship) with a total budget of €35 million.