The transition from a linear fossil-fuel based to a circular bio-based economy is a key EU objective. To achieve this objective, the Alpine Space (AS) regions have significant biomass resources, strong industry sectors, and knowledge centers. Unfortunately, no holistic cross-regional approach exists to connect all relevant actors. The huge potential remains untapped for lack of innovative bio-based value chains (VCs). Thus, the AS regions have a common challenge to bring together bio-feedstock producers, intermediates processors, product developers, brandowners, retailers and product end users to address pressing societal needs with novel cross-regional and sectorial value chains for implementing a circular bio-based economy. The project’s main objective is precisely to develop a cross-regional circular bio-based economic strategy that includes a roadmap and demonstrators for intelligently assessing, selecting and creating innovative VCs for the AS wood, agriculture, food/pharma and chemistry sectors. First, existing resources, actors and relevant policies are mapped to set up a cross-regional database. Second, a methodology (VC generator) is developed to match actors demand-oriented in new or alternative VCs. It enables new cluster activities for novel business development, and defining coherent data driven policies for stimulating the AS circular bio-based economy. Third, the project identifies previously untapped growth opportunities with demonstrators for each selected sector for the production of bio-based high added-value applications and products. Furthermore, a Masterplan on circular bio-based economy is delivered for establishing common framework conditions on innovation and data driven policy dialogues within the AS. The project targets all relevant stakeholders including, policy makers, cluster initiatives, sectoral agencies, research centres, SMEs and individual actors, who can benefit from the specific tools and engagement in the novel VCs.
The project has just started, please find below its intervention logic.
The AlpLinkBioEco project is based on a coherent intervention logic. The intervention logic depicts how a transnational territorial challenge is addressed through objectives and outputs within the project and results in a specific work plan for the project duration. As a first step, the main causes for the identified territorial challenge are identified. The main overall objective of the project is to address the identified causes. Considering the overall objective, the main project result is defined, which should reflect a durable improvement of the identified problems. To translate this analysis into a coherent workplan, specific objectives, outputs and target groups need to be defined. It is a crucial step in the construction of a convincing intervention logic to ensure the coherence between the specific objectives and the project outputs and to logically organize them into a coherent workplan.
Territorial challenge and causes
The AlpLinkBioEco project addresses one of the biggest common challenges of the Alpine Space: the transition from a fossil-based to a circular bio-based economy. This transition is needed to strengthen the regional economic activity and sustain high value-added businesses and jobs in the Alpine Space. The challenges are mainly caused by the traditional way of operating in a linear economy where a product necessarily ends as waste and where alternative, circular end of life solutions remain unexploited. In addition, there is a lack of understanding of the Alpine Space’s natural resources as alternative, bio-based inputs. The alpine regions possess huge biomass resources and the necessary knowledge and technology to use them in sectors such as green chemicals, biopolymers or bio-based materials. In a globalized economy interregional opportunities and solutions based on locally available resources often remain untapped. Due to a missing holistic transnational approach the Alpine Space actors in bio-based industries operate in a disconnected mode. Important value chains are not established especially for producing high value applications that address critical societal needs, such as economic durability, local employment and quality of life.
The project aims at tapping into the existing potential by setting up a methodology to connect diverse bio-feed-stock producers with intermediate product developers and end users of high value applications addressing critical societal needs, to create new cross-regional value chains for a bio-based circular economy. Four sectors will be targeted as a basis to create examples of such value chains: The agro- and wood-industry, both related to the feedstock, on the one hand, and chemicals and packaging, related to products that can be made out of these feedstocks, on the other.
The project is expected to result in four demonstrator value chains with identified individual actors. These demonstrators are examples of how a circular bio-based economy can work in the Alpine Space by connecting real actors across the participating regions into functioning new value chains. At policy level, the examples will contribute to the development of a crossregional and coherent circular bio-based economy strategy.
Three specific objectives have been defined:
- Facilitate tailor made matching of bio-based actors across the Alpine Space
- Facilitate initiation of high added value bio-based applications and products
- Recommendations for a common policy development on circular bio-based economy
The project directly addresses these specific objectives through the following outputs. To facilitate the tailor-made matching of bio-based actors across the Alpine Space the project produces an inventory of present and future actors in the circular bio-based economy. A methodology is then developed to link the identified actors into novel value chains. The methodology is used to create demonstrator value chains with identified actors in the agro-, wood-, chemical- and packaging-industry, aiming at the initiation of high added value bio-based applications and products. Finally, the project provides an overview of policies in place and recommendations for a common Alpine Space bio-economy framework.
The target groups of the project are the stakeholders of the novel bio-based circular value chains. Value is created by the companies in the targeted sectors. The target groups also include related and supporting actors such as higher education and research organizations, business support organization or sectoral agencies. The demonstrator value chains serve as examples for policy makers at the local, regional and national levels.
The project is managed by the Plastics Innovation Competence Center (PICC) of the School of Engineering and Architecture of Fribourg and organized in four work packages. The first work package, led by Poly4EmI Ljubljana and the Lombardy Green Chemistry Association, is dedicated to the identification of existing actors in the bio-based circular economy, the analysis of their activities and the description of their connections. The second work package, led by PICC Fribourg and Hub Innovazione Trentino, is concerned with developing a methodology to match actors into novel value chains based on mutual benefits. Based on this, the third work package, led by Business Upper Austria, BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg and CSALP Pieve Tesino, puts the methodology into practice and develops demonstrator value chains capturing new business opportunities across the alpine regions. The fourth work package, led by ClusterAgentur Baden-Württemberg and Poly4EmI, aims at formulating policy recommendations and documenting new insights on how to stimulate and facilitate novel value chains to create a bio-based circular economy in the Alpine Space. Dedicated communication activities under the lead of Confindustria Lombardia ensure the involvement of the target groups and the dissemination of the insights and tools during and beyond the lifespan of the project.