Copa and Cogeca underline need to step up innovation and invest in new technologies to unleash potential of biomass

Copa and Cogeca underlined the need to step up innovation, invest in new technology and enhance cooperation and communication to unleash the huge potential of biomass from the EU agriculture and forestry sectors at a major workshop organized in Brussels this week.

The workshop “What instruments/tools to develop logistics for the agriculture and forestry biomass supply chain?” gave an opportunity for farmers, forest holders and their cooperatives, researcher and EU organisations and institutions to have a good debate and identify solutions on how the agricultural and forestry sectors can better contribute to further developing the bio-based economy.

Speaking at the workshop, Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen said “Biomass from forestry and agriculture has much untapped potential in the EU which could be sustainably mobilized. In order to unlock this potential, we must seek solutions to better use existing resources, increase the engagement of farmers and forest owners, advise them and promote knowledge transfer and innovation, invest in new technologies and develop new business models”.

Speakers pointed out that biomass has many benefits ranging from reducing carbon dioxide emissions to cutting the EU’s dependency on fossil fuel. In Finland, for example, biomass is used in energy on a large-scale with one big CHP plant providing heat and electricity for a town of 50, 000 people. Approximately one third of energy comes from biomass mainly wood in both Finland and Sweden. Also small scale units are being developed and used on farms so that they can supply their own electricity and heat from biomass. But in other countries, logistics need to be developed further to unleash the potential. Costs are also a key factor. .And opportunities exist here under the new Horizon 2020 programme 2016-2017 to further develop and promote the use of biomass in Europe. Synergies between EIPagri and the European Network for Rural Development are also needed to enhance stakeholders engagement and support the implementation of Rural Development Policy for a more competitive and sustainable rural areas, speakers indicated.

Wrapping up, Mr Pesonen said “Training, knowledge exchange , support for resource efficient investments and implementation of innovative solutions are some of the solutions that help farmers and forest holders to better adapt to the market needs and to be more sustainable Three key words from my side: innovate, invest and communicate. This are crucial to continue to develop biomass supply chains in EU”.

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