Latest news

9 October 2017

EU funding for Metsä Fibre’s long-term development projects

Long-term development projects aim to prove the commercial viability of new technologies to produce lignin-based products and pulp-based textile fibres, bark as a replacement for coal

Metsä Fibre plays an important role in three new development partnerships that have been successful in project evaluations and thus secured multiannual funding from the EU. The concepts of relevance to Metsä Fibre in these partnerships include new technologies to produce lignin-based products and pulp-based textile fibres, as well as the utilisation of bark as a replacement for coal in the production of heat and electricity. The recently initiated long-term development projects aim to prove the commercial viability of these concepts.

“Operating within the EU’s research and development networks demand perseverance and world-class competencies. The EU funding now granted to us is a clear indication of the high quality of Metsä Fibre’s research and development activities and the new concepts."

"It also indicates their relevance in respect to finding solutions that help mitigating some of the greatest challenges facing society, such as population growth and resource scarcity,” says Niklas von Weymarn, Vice President, Research at Metsä Fibre.

More information can be found here.

4 October 2017

The ick factor: Dutch project making bike lanes and bottles from used loo roll

A pilot scheme in the Netherlands is sifting sewage for cellulose, which it says can be recycled into valuable products

When you flush the toilet, you’re probably not thinking about bike lanes or home insulation. But that’s where your used loo roll could one day end up if a Dutch project to extract cellulose from sewage rolls out. At the Geestmerambacht wastewater treatment plant near Alkmaar in the Netherlands, a two-year pilot project is using an industrial sieve to sift 400kg of cellulose, the natural fibres found in loo roll, from toilet sludge each day.

The cellulose, which would otherwise be incinerated at the end of the sewage treatment process, is cleaned and sterilised with very high temperatures and turned into a fluffy material or pellets. These are sold on as a raw material for products like asphalt and building materials.

A portion is also exported to the UK, where Brunel University is working on technology to transform it into an energy source, bioplastic bottles and other products.

More information can be found here.

29 September 2017

Use of bio-based products and innovation procurement by Dutch province for road works

Located in the south-west of the Netherlands, the Province of Zeeland’s government recently undertook an innovation procurement to commission a public works contract to widen a major road in the Netherlands (N62 Tractaatweg) - from one to two lanes, and to build four new viaducts. To take into account the challenges of purchasing bio-based solutions (such as geotextiles, biodegradable underground tree anchoring systems, etc), as these are not widely available on the mainstream market, Zeeland carried out a process of competitive dialogue.

This type of approach enabled them and potential contractors’ greatest flexibility in meeting their needs. During the dialogue process, the companies who responded to the initial expression of interest were asked to deliver two specific bio-based products, plus one or more products from a pre-identified list of market-ready bio-based options for on-site piloting.

The company who was awarded the contract chose one of each of the proposed solutions for the products’ application and piloting. The bio-based products were applied to the road construction itself for construction of the road’s under-layer. Piloting of was undertaken for the installation of cabinets for traffic light installations made from bio-based composites.

A case study of the Province of Zeeland’s experience has been published as part of the EU-funded InnProBio project. The case study is available here.

18 September 2017

Enhancing cooperation between public contracting entities and vendors of bio-based products in Germany

A new national research and communication project dealing with bio-based products in public procurement is being carried out by the University of Würzburg, Germany. The project’s aim is to bring together and intensify information exchange between public contracting entities and vendors of bio-based products. As a result more bio-based products should be purchased by public contracting entities so that the vendors will be put into a better market position. The intensified procuring of bio-based products by public contracting entities will give positive signals to private companies and consumers to do the same.

In order to bring together public contracting entities and vendors of bio-based products, scientifically sound knowledge of procurement- as well sales-related processes and issues is needed. Empirical studies are to be conducted periodically in order to analyze developments in time and the effects of measures taken during the project.

In the first empirical study more than 1000 public entities answered a questionnaire to determine their knowledge of procuring bio-based products. Based on the results a web-based communication platform that brings together public contracting entities and vendors of bio-based products was developed and implemented.

Public procurers can access the German communication platform here.

Suppliers of bio-based products can use this link.

7 August 2017

European Commission launches Knowledge Centre to provide scientific evidence on bioeconomy

Bioeconomy Knowledge Centre marks an important step in bringing the different policy areas of the bioeconomy closer together

On 20 July, the European Commission launched the new Bioeconomy Knowledge Centre to better support EU and national policy makers and stakeholders with science-based evidence in this field. The platform will not primarily generate knowledge, but will collect, structure and make accessible knowledge from a wide range of scientific disciplines and sources on the bioeconomy, the sustainable production of renewable biological resources and their conversion into valuable products.

The Knowledge Centre is being created by the Commission’s in-house science service, the Joint Research Centre, in cooperation with Directorate-General for Research and Innovation. Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, responsible for the Joint Research Centre, said: “The Bioeconomy Knowledge Centre builds on the Joint Research Centre’s expertise in knowledge management, offering policy makers relevant information in a timely manner and a format that is easy to use."

"It is the fourth Knowledge Centre launched by the Commission in the last two years, after the ones on migration and demography, territorial policies and disaster risk management, and another important step in further strengthening the sound evidence base we need to tackle the societal challenges facing the EU.”

For more information, visit here.

7 August 2017

New biobased bridges in port of Rotterdam will last at least 100 years

InfraCore's patented technology allows to building polymer composites in bridge constructions

This year, 14 new biobased polymer composite footbridges made by FiberCore will be installed in the port of Rotterdam, bringing the total to 22. “This project perfectly aligns with our sustainability ambitions. The realisation of the bridges demonstrates how as a Port Authority, we are investing in sustainable innovation in the region. Through such initiatives, we hope to stimulate other companies to follow suit,” says Port Authority project manager Matthijs Tromp.

The footbridges – which have a truss bridge design – consist of units made from fibreglass and resin, among other things. Twenty-five percent of this resin is biobased. But technical developments haven’t stopped there. “We can presently increase the share of bioresin to 45 percent without sacrificing any mechanical properties,” says Ed Hoogstad, Director Operations COO at FiberCore Europe.

“The project also promotes the current energy transition, thanks to its positive contribution to the reduction of CO2 emissions,” continues Tromp.

For more information, visit here.

14 July 2017

New factsheet on Life Cycle Assessment and Life Cycle Costing

The InnProBio team has issued its factsheet #5 focused on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Costing (LCC). The document gives an insight as to what the LCA method is and the environmental impacts it assesses – such as climate change or impact on natural resources. It also explains what the results of LCA can be used for, for example in comparing different products and services. The factsheet also highlights the advantages of using LCA, as well as its link with green public procurement.

LCC – an assessment of all costs which are related to a certain product, directly covered by one or several actors in the life cycle of the product (Hunkeler et al. 2007) – is also covered in this factsheet, which also lists different LCC tools for use in public procurement.

The factsheet also shows the common ground between LCA and LCC, as well as the main differences between both concepts, and why they are important for increasing the procurement of bio-based products.

For more information, and to download the factsheet, visit here.

7 July 2017

Moving Europe towards a greener plastic lifecycle

A new EU-funded initiative aims to transform plastic waste into a resource by developing a more sustainable, re-usable form of packaging. CIRC-PACK (Towards circular economy in the plastic packaging value chain) will create, test and validate alternative bio-based and recyclable (including biodegradable or compostable) plastics for the manufacturing of trays, bottles, coffee capsules, jars, films and pallets, and new types of multilayer and multimaterial packaging.

A 22-partner consortium led by the Zaragoza-based Research Centre for Energy Resources and Consumption (CIRCE)is running the project. The CIRC-PACK team will carry out three large-scale demonstrations through an eco-innovative approach that will involve actors across the whole value chain, including consumers, plastic suppliers, converters and retailers, as well as those responsible for waste recovery.

Launched in May, the project will support market uptake of the new packaging, promoting a transition to a circular economy. CIRC-PACK will last three years.

For more information, read the press release.

29 June 2017

Deadline extended for 2017 Procura+ Awards

ICLEI has extended the deadline for applications to the 2017 Procura+ Awards until 18 July 2017 for the Sustainable Procurement, Innovation Procurement and Tender Procedure of the Year categories. The competition rewards sustainable and innovative public procurements leading to significant improvements of public good, services, process and infrastructure.

The 2016 edition of the Procura+ Awards saw the City of Copenhagen (Denmark), Transport for London (UK) and Rijkswaterstaat (Netherlands) win awards for Sustainable Procurement of the Year, Innovation Procurement of the Year and Tender Procedure of the Year, respectively.

The 2017 Procura+ Awards ceremony will be held at the Third Major eafip Event on Innovation Procurement in Tallinn, Estonia on 17 October. Winners will be featured in a variety of ICLEI publications and web platforms, and at the next EcoProcura conference.

For more information and to download an application form, visit the Procura+ website

23 June 2017

Workshop on environmental assessment of bio-based products

Within the framework of the BioBase4SME project, a workshop on the environmental assessment of bio-based products will take place next 28th July. The event is targeting small and medium enterprises, as well as start-ups that are involved in the development of bio-based products and services.

The workshop will focus on the importance of life cycle assessment (LCA) and how to understand and communicate LCA results and how an environmental assessment should be performed. First session will give answers to the common question “Why should I prove it’s green if it’s bio?” Next, attendees will learn about how to communicate LCA and sustainability across bio-based product value chains. There will also be a presentation of guidelines for environmental assessment of bio-based chemicals. The event will finish with a bio-based networking cocktail.

In the coming weeks, the InnProBio team will issue its fifth factsheet on life cycle assessment and bio-based products.

To register to the event, click here