PANACEA. Non Food Crops For a EU Bioeconomy
New strategies for the development and promotion of NFC in Europe
The Panacea project has investigated the role of Non-Food Crops (NFC) in the rural renaissance by approaching the bio-based industries and ask them for demands for biobased feedstock and the potential of new NFC’s that are near-to-practice. Therefore enquiries and interviews were held among different companies in the chain from post-harvest processing to the marketing of end-products. The main objective of this was to analyse the driving forces and thresholds for the penetration of NFC into EU agriculture.
It is of interest to identify the innovative and new biobased industries that have emerged as a result of growing interest in renewable resources and understand the concerns of the persistent traditional industries using biobased feedstock. The existing and emerging needs and interests are analysed of:
- industries producing materials and green chemicals from lignocellulosics
- industries producing chemicals from oil crops
- needs and trends of the bioenergy/biofuel industries
The outcomes of this study are:
Key bottlenecks for companies that are inclined to changing to bio-based feedstock is the cost price. Next in line are the purity of the biobased products (especially in the specific oils for chemical production) or the consistency/homogeneity of the feedstock supply (in the lignocellulose fibre processing). Related to the possible improved sustainability of biobased alternatives, it is mentioned that so far customers won’t pay for improved sustainability. The use of pesticides isn’t a key concern to the respondents. The high importance given to child labour suggests that the image of bio-based feedstock may be negatively associated.
The availability of suitable volumes of particular bio-based feedstock is considered insufficient to meet demand. Here the link with the farmers crop production should be established. The discussion on competition with food appears less relevant for the respondents. This may be related to either only small volumes of bio-based feedstock being used for non-food applications so far, or to affordable food prices worldwide currently.
Majority of the respondents indicate that the EU and national projects in which they partnered show positive results related to increased options for bio-based feedstock and conversion technologies. However, developments rarely have a market readiness level which allows commercial implementation at the end of a project.
The outcomes of these questionnaires combined with the farmers questionnaire will serve to analyse the role that NFC can play in the renaissance of the rural areas by generating an additional and diversified income to farmers and providing jobs at regional level and find ways to stimulate the interest of biobased industries and farmers’ in production and use of NFC based products. The information will be shared on the PANACEA platform and PANACEA websiste.
Fore more information contact: WAGENINGEN University & Research
M. Martien van den Oever firstname.lastname@example.org
M. Jan van Dam email@example.com
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