‘Biomass availability gap’ looms large over EU’s green bioeconomy

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Growing demand for biomass is putting pressure on industry to deliver sufficient quantities without destroying the environment, the European Commission has warned, pointing to a looming “availability gap” which could be as big as 40-70% by 2050.

The bioeconomy – the use of biological resources from land and sea to produce food, materials or energy – is touted in Brussels as one of the solutions to shift society towards a low-carbon, circular economy that is less dependent on fossil fuels.

A June report by the EU executive shows Europe is on track to meet the objectives of its bioeconomy strategy, which was first launched in 2012, said Patrick Child, deputy director general at the Commission’s research and innovation department.

“The bioeconomy is contributing to the European Green Deal objectives, and can contribute further…in finding solutions to the current food security and energy crisis,” he told a bioeconomy conference organised by the Commission last week.

However, the report also underlined the need for bio-based industries to respect ecological boundaries – the level at which more biomass production starts harming the environment.

And as demand for biomass continues to grow, the potential for an increase in sustainable production is limited by ecological factors like the need to protect biodiversity and maintain Europe’s carbon sinks.



By Valentina Romano| EURACTIV

This article is part of EURACTIV’s special report The bioeconomy: doing more with less.

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