The role of the bio-based products as alternatives to fossil-fuel counterparts, and their importance in developing a sustainable economy based on renewable materials in Europe, has been recognized in the EU 2020 strategy and in the “Innovating for Sustainable Growth: A Bioeconomy for Europe” strategy.

The European Commission is devoting resources to better study the overall biomass available in Europe and its uses, and to assess the efficiency of the bio-based solutions through life-cycle analyses. The Commission has conducted a Review of the Bio-economy strategy and its associated action plan in 2017 and will update it on 2018.

Europe has a number of well-established traditional bio-based industries, including agriculture, food, feed, fibre, forest-based industries, pulp and paper and wood products, chemical, biofuels and bioenergy industries. It is estimated that the European bio-economy currently has an approximate market size of over 2 trillion €, employing around 22 million people, with prospects for further growth looking more than promising.

Source: JRC, Bioeconomy Report 2016, EUR 28468 EN – 2017

The transition towards a bio-based economy holds a great potential in terms of economic growth, rural development and decreasing fossil dependence, but requires tackling many, such as 1) the successful marketing of sustainable products with strong market potential, 2) a steady, reliable and affordable supply of sustainably produced biomass, and 3) a better link between biomass producers and the processing industry.

PANACEA Network will tackle the last two challenges, aiming at an increase of the NFC feed for different bio-based industries and the matching of biomass producers with bio-based industries, into new value chains.