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Rural BioReFarmeries

Green BioReFarmeries - Small-scale Circular Green Biorefineries for increasing farmer sustainability and competitiveness and building resilient rural areas

Project details

Type of project
Innovation Action - Demonstration
Project focus
Market, policies & awareness
Feedstock origin
Agri-food waste
Feedstock type
Crop residues
Project period
1 December 2024 - 30 November 2028
Status
Upcoming
CBE JU Contribution
€ 7 349 886,54
Call identifier
HORIZON-JU-CBE-2023

Summary

Europe's primary producers - farmers, foresters, and fishermen - are important stakeholders of the circular bioeconomy. They provide biomass to produce food, feed, materials, and energy. In the case of Europe’s grassland’s this represents a significant opportunity through the development of green biorefineries. However, current green biorefinery models yield marginal profits and need improvements to gain the support of grassland farmers and stakeholders. 

The Rural BioReFarmeries project aims to showcase the first small-scale decentralised green biorefinery model and facilitate its widespread adoption to enhance local resilience, sustainability, and economic prospects throughout Europe's rural grassland areas. By bringing together farmers, industries, and collaborators across Europe, the project demonstrates a farmer-centric bioeconomy. The project’s goal is to optimise grasslands and alternative green biomass feedstocks with a decentralised approach that empowers farmers through biomass value creation. This will allow for co-production of essential farm inputs (feed, energy and nutrients) and high-value products (human grade protein, flavours, anti-microbials and biomaterials) with industry partners. 

Through the enhancement of green biorefinery standards, Rural BioReFarmeries fosters collaboration and sustainability. The project will allow farmers to diversify their income sources and reduce emissions across the agri-food sector. Supported by inclusive business frameworks and practical training, the initiative plans to replicate its blueprint across Europe, providing a scalable solution for grasslands. This not only addresses sustainability and profitability for farmers, but also boosts rural resilience and promotes efficient use of local bioresources.

The Rural BioReFarmeries project aims to demonstrate an improved green biorefinery model, empowering farmers and enhancing economic returns across Europe's regions, by:

  • Developing a Smart Biomass Supply Chain (SBSC) tool and using ICT technologies to improve the chain’s logistics, ensuring high-quality biomass delivery.
  • Optimising a decentralised green biorefinery system, demonstrating small-scale processing of green biomass into farm products and high-value ingredients, while also exploring the potential for multiple small-scale biorefineries to feed into larger centralised plants.
  • Establishing cascading rural biorefinery value chains to support farmers in balanced use of primary green resources, as well as developing new revenue streams through the efficient use of resources and collaboration with industry partners.
  • Testing and implementing new business models to ensure fair income distribution at the farm gate, emphasising the development of high-value ingredients and materials to improve farmer diversification potential and competitiveness.
  • Demonstrating a more environmentally sustainable model for grassland farmers by using grass-based co-products to replace imports, reduce food spoilage, and create fertilisers and energy, while also evaluating socio-economic and environmental impacts.
  • Focusing on scalability and replication potential, aiming to transfer its model to diverse grassland regions of Europe through workshops, training activities, and a Rural Green Biorefinery Network, while also examining social acceptance and developing policy recommendations.

  • Ensuring that farmers actively participate in value creation, fostering balanced, cooperative models for sustainable grassland management and carbon sequestration.
  • Demonstrating innovative production technologies, products, and systems aimed at advancing the state-of-the-art in small-scale green biorefineries.
  • Significantly improving resource efficiency from grassland and other green biomass sources, promoting circularity and longer bioeconomy value chains.
  • Enhancing industrial competitiveness and strategic autonomy, supporting inclusive business models and boosting Europe’s economy.
  • Increasing economic returns and generation renewal in rural areas through diversified income sources and job opportunities.
  • Creating skilled job opportunities and extending product portfolios in primary production sectors and small businesses, particularly in regions with underdeveloped capacities.
  • Supporting farmers and rural communities to become more resilient and competitive based on better use of their bioresources to create essential products for their communities and the EU economy.
  • Creating six adaptable business models for diverse European regions together with farmers and other stakeholders. A 25% revenue boost is expected by drawing from demo innovations and partner insights.
  • Enabling a significant reduction in land use and other climate and environmental benefits through improved resource efficiency and diversified product streams.
  • Promoting sustainable farming, assessing impacts with LCA and biodiversity evaluations. The target is to achieve a 15% reduction in GHG emissions from dairy farms and 20% from pig diets, while also boosting pollinator abundance and enabling energy and nutrient recirculation.
  • Promoting efficient recycling of nutrients and reduction of transportation and logistics costs through a circular approach to biomass use.
  • Fostering social acceptance of circular bio-based solutions and products, informed by social life cycle assessment and acceptance studies to drive societal uptake and adoption of biorefineries.

Consortium map

Project coordination

  • MUNSTER TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY Cork, Ireland

Consortium

  • POLITECHNIKA POZNANSKA POZNAN, Poland
  • AARHUS UNIVERSITET Aarhus C, Denmark
  • MTU AUSTRALO ALPHA LAB Tallinn, Estonia
  • UNIVERSITY OF GALWAY Galway, Ireland
  • UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND, DUBLIN Dublin, Ireland
  • FARMB PSIFIAKI GEORGIA ANONIMI ETAIRIA THESSALONIKI, Greece
  • SEGES INNOVATION PS Aarhus N, Denmark
  • THE PROVOST, FELLOWS, FOUNDATION SCHOLARS & THE OTHER MEMBERS OF BOARD, OF THE COLLEGE OF THE HOLY & UNDIVIDED TRINITY OF QUEEN ELIZABETH NEAR DUBLIN DUBLIN 2, Ireland
  • CARBON HARVESTERS LIMITED DUBLIN, Ireland
  • KILPATRICK INNOVATION LTD Cork, Ireland
  • BARRYROE CO-OPERATIVE LTD CORK, Ireland
  • AGRAREN UNIVERSITET - PLOVDIV Plovdiv, Bulgaria
  • PAPERFOAM B.V. BARNEVELD, Netherlands
  • ALGANED BV BILTHOVEN, Netherlands
  • CARHUE PIGGERIES LIMITED CORK, Ireland
  • CARBERY FOOD INGREDIENTS LIMITED Cork, Ireland
  • UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI ROMA UNITELMA SAPIENZA Roma, Italy
  • STICHTING WAGENINGEN RESEARCH Wageningen, Netherlands