Rise of Europe’s bio-based industries


he Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) was created in 2014 within the EU’s Bioec-

onomy Strategy and Horizon 2020 framework as a 3.7 billion public- private partnership aimed at creat- ing a competitive and sustainable bio-based industry sector in Europe, with 975 million Euros coming from the EU and the remaining 2.7 bil- lion Euros coming from industry. In 2017, halfway through the programme, an independent evalu- ation by the European Commission confirmed that the BBI JU is on the right track, not just fulfilling the predefined KPIs, but achieving high levels of effectiveness, implementa- tion and transparency, an impres- sive 36% SME participation rate and a 97% satisfaction rate from participating co-ordinators. This is corroborated by the latest figures produced by Europe’s bio-based industries: not only has the BBI JU target of five operational biorefiner- ies by 2020 already been exceeded, on top of that the sector has seen an 11% growth in 2016 and the investment planned by Bio-based Industries Consortium members has risen from two billion Euros in 2014

Biochemicals derived from wood

Philippe Mengal, Executive Director of the BBI JU, is seen speaking at the partnership’s one-day Stakeholder Forum.

to five billion Euros in 2017. In future, the BBI JU aims at continuing its structuring and mobilising efforts, creating new markets for bio-based products and enabling the development of a circular and sustainable bio-based European economy, without chal- lenging food production and re- specting biodiversity and land use. Challenges include: maintaining continuity and stability – the key to fully de-risking investment; a higher level of self-sufficiency in terms of biomass supply; and a longer-term commitment of industry, policy- makers, thought-leaders, brand-

owners and retailers – needed to fully embed the infrastructure a bio-based economy requires. It is a systemic change, which will take time, and the organisation held its first Stakeholder Forum in Brussels on 7 December, last year. However, for bio-based industries to make a real and tangible impact on people’s everyday lives, the biggest challenge of all is, perhaps, a shift in conscience to increase public awareness and instil the idea of bio-based into the hearts and minds of consumers. More information from

Replacement for oil-based phenolic materials

The launch of Lineo™ by Stora Enso Oyj is another important step on the way to replacing fossil- based materials with renewable solutions. Lineo is available to companies seeking more sustain- able, bio-based alternatives. Lignin is one of the main building blocks of a tree and makes up 20- 30% of the composition of wood, yet it has traditionally been discarded by the pulp and paper industries. However, Stora Enso has recognised the potential of this versatile raw ma- terial, which can be used in a range of applications where fossil-based materials are currently used.

company is already selling Lineo to replace phenol and is also looking at many other applications for this very versatile material.

Lignin is a renewable replace- ment for oil-based phenolic materi- als, which are used in resins for plywood, oriented strand board, laminated veneer lumber, paper lamination and insulation material. Stora Enso has been producing lignin on an industrial scale at its Sunila pulp mill in Finland since 2015. The mill’s capacity is 50,000 tonnes of lignin per year, mak- ing Stora Enso the largest kraft lignin producer in the world. The

A stable, free-flowing brown powder, Stora Enso’s lignin is separated during the kraft pulping process of Nordic softwood. Lineo has a high dry content, superior dispersibility and long storage time. With a higher reactivity and purity, Lineo is consistent from batch to batch and Stora Enso can supply different levels of dryness, to meet customers’ demands. More information from

On 22 January, it was announced that FPInnovations and Resolute Forest Products intend to make a significant investment in the implementation of a TMP-Bio pilot project in Ontario, Canada. TMP-Bio is a patented technology developed by FPInnovations with financial support from Natural Resources Canada’s Transformative Technologies Program.

The pilot project will focus on developing new ways to efficiently produce and commercialise innovative bio-chemicals derived from wood, contributing to the development of a bio- economy in Northern Ontario, as well as elsewhere in Canada.

The $21 million project is part of an initiative to renew and transform the forest products industry, building on investments made in 2012 by Resolute, the Ontario Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-Economy and Natural Resources Canada. Resolute is contributing $3.5 million and will host the pilot project at its Thunder Bay pulp and paper mill in Ontario.

This project comes at a very opportune time as market interest for sustainably- sourced green bio-chemicals and bio-fuels continues to build. The development and availability in significant quantities of bio-sourced chemicals, such as the cellulosic sugars and high- quality H-lignin produced by the TMP-Bio process, is a key step in growing new market value for the forest products sector by connecting it to the bio-chemical supply chain. More information from

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