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Bio-based products of the future and sustainable alternatives

Agriculture in Europe is under pressure to meet environmental requirements, maintain high production and meet demands for a sustainable food supply. The use of fossil fuels and products, as well as imports of soy protein, have serious environmental and climatic consequences for vulnerable areas of the world. At a seminar and exhibition on 28 April in the European Parliament, decision makers, stakeholders from industry, research and civil society from across Europe will meet and discuss new innovative solutions and opportunities for green biorefining in Europe.

2020.03.02 | Camilla Brodam

Photo: Anders Trærup

The seminar is based on "A European Green Deal" and the goal of a climate-neutral continent in 2050. (Read more about A European Green Deal here). The purpose is to show the potential of new local biorefineries as a contribution to the EU's self-supply of plant protein and new bio-based products, while supporting the EU's environment and climate policy.

“For several years we have made an intensive effort to develop the entire chain for green biorefining from optimal cultivation in the fields through extraction in the biorefinery to feeding experiments with different livestock. It is currently a very Danish venture with smaller activities in the Netherlands, Ireland and Sweden. We have had meetings with representatives of the European Commission who were very interested, but for them the thinking and the derived effects on climate, environment and employment in rural areas is brand new. That is why, through this event, we want to extend our knowledge and concept to a wider circle in the EU. The technology is relevant for utilising several different types of green biomass, and it is especially relevant for the whole of north-western Europe, where there is abundant rainfall and where the grass grows a large part of the year, ”explains Senior Researcher and Centre Manager of Aarhus University Centre for Circular Bioeconomy (CBIO) Uffe Jørgensen from the Department of Agroecology at Aarhus University.

Commercial players appearing

The use of fossil fuels and fossil products poses a serious threat to the climate. Likewise, the extensive European import of soy protein has major environmental and climatic consequences for vulnerable areas of the world. Therefore, innovative solutions for a sustainable protein supply are needed.

Research in the production of protein extracted from grass and clover crops has shown great potential. These crops have very positive effects on the environment and climate. And they are very productive at the same time. With further research and innovation in the field, it will be possible for Europe to produce its own sustainable protein and also other new bio-based products. Companies, both large and small, have also begun to show interest, and several new innovative collaborations have emerged. These new solutions and collaborations between public institutions and companies are in line with the EU's protein strategy. In addition, they will be able to contribute new content to the EU framework conditions on agriculture, the environment and climate, including the CAP and the Horizon Europe program. 

“It is very interesting that commercial players in Denmark want to establish biorefining of grass on near-commercial terms. Furthermore, there is great interest in whether, in collaboration with the food industry, it is possible to utilize grass, clover, or alfalfa protein directly for human nutrition. These actors also attend the seminar to give an industrial angle to the discussion,” says Uffe Jørgensen.

The research behind the development of green biorefining from grass and clover crops, biogas as fuel and the development of green biomass for food are some of the topics that will be discussed at the seminar and will be shown at the parallel exhibition.

Facts about the seminar and the exhibition

Time and place:

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Kl. 5 pm - 8 pm

Seminar: European Parliament, Brussels

Exhibition: European Parliament, Mezzanine above the Yehuhi Menuhin Space

The exhibition is open from 28 April to 30 April.

Registration for the seminar and/or exhibition takes place by mail to: lg@centraldenmark.eu

Read more and see the program here.  

Organisers:

Aarhus University, The European Parliament, Renew Europe and EPP Group

Seminar, Agro, DCA