Updated EU Bioeconomy Strategy and New BBI JU Country Fact Sheets Showing Great Potentials in Europe

The European Union recently updated the 2012 Bioeconomy Strategy to ensure a more sustainable supply and a better management of resources at both EU and global level, whereas European countries already host several bioeconomy projects. Let’s have a look.

The 2012 EU Bioconomy Strategy

Bioconomy is a broad term generally encompassing those sectors of the economy employing renewable biological resources from land and sea such as crops, forests, fish, animals and micro-organisms to produce food, materials and energy. A bioeconomy-based approach therefore constitutes a great opportunity for societies to be more innovative, resource-efficient by reconciling food security with the sustainable use of biotic renewable resources for industrial purposes, while ensuring environmental protection at the same time.

The 2012 Bioeconomy Strategy for Europe identified 5 main sectors of intervention: ensuring food security, a sustainable management of natural resources, climate change mitigation and adaptation, reducing dependence on non-renewable resources, creating job opportunities and supporting EU competitiveness. The related Action plan was particularly effective in the mobilization of R&I investments across Member States, in terms of bioeconomy funding in the framework of Horizon 2020 programme as well as in terms of EU support to national financings. The BioBased Industries Joint Undertaking, a €3.7 billion partnership between the EU and the Bio-based Industries Consortium, successfully supported dozens of projects in the field of the bioeconomy.

Even though several 2012 Bioeconomy Strategy objectives have been included in many European national and regional bioeconomy strategies such as the Smart Specialisation Strategies (Cohesion Policy), a recent review of the Strategy underlined a poor correspondence between the strategic objectives and the actions as defined by the Action Plan. Furthermore, an insufficient and monitoring framework hindered the achievement of policy coherence, especially in the light of recent global policy developments.

The 2018 Update of EU Bioconomy Strategy: same goals, actions refocused

By consequence, the aim of the Updated Bioeconomy Strategy for Europe, launched by the European Commission in October 2018, is to maximize the support to a modernisation and a strengthening of the EU industrial base to build a sustainable bioeconomy as a renewable segment of the wider, circular, economy in line with the process of the Energy Union constitution. For this purpose, the 2018 update determined 14 concrete new actions.

As far the first action area is concerned, related to the strengthening and scaling-up of the bio-based sectors by unlocking investments and markets, the EU committed  to:

  • mobilise both public and private stakeholders in relation to Research & Demonstration and Deployment projects;
  • develop the Circular Bioeconomy Thematic Investment Platform, a targeted financial instrument for about EUR 100 million;
  • identify bottlenecks, enablers and gaps as well as to provide a voluntary guidance to the development of bio-based innovations;
  • promote and/or develop standards and market-based incentives and improve labels referring to bio-based products;
  • facilitate the development of new sustainable biorefineries;
  • ease the replacement of fossil-based materials with bio-based resources as well as the implementation of bio-remediation methods to contribute to plastic-free and sustainable European seas and oceans.

Concerning the deployment of local bioeconomies across Europe, EU decided to:

  • develop a Strategic Deployment Agenda to link actors in supporting innovations and best practices within sustainable food and farming systems, forestry and bio-based production;
  • support several pilot actions in the field of blue bioeconomy, rural and urban development;
  • set up a EU bioeconomy policy support facility and a Bioeconomy forum for Member States;
  • foster new education, training and skills in the field.

A deep knowledge and understanding of specific bioeconomy areas need more data to be acquired and subsequent information increased in parallel with systemic analyses. For this reason, EU aims at:

  • ehancing a better comprehension of bioeconomy to make it accessible through the Knowledge Centre for Bioeconomy;
  • implementing an international coeherent monitoring system on the status of biodiversity, ecosystem, degraded land areas and land at risk of climate change impacts;
  • providing a voluntary guidance for operating the bioeconomy within safe ecological limits;
  • better integrating the benefits of biodiversity-rich ecosystems in primary production through a specific support to several sectors i. e. agro-ecology.

The Renewed European Agenda for Research and Innovation has the scope of increasing the impact of UE Research and Innovation. Horizon 2020 programme and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will keep on delivering important output in a complementary manner: EUR 10 billion are foreseen within the Horizon Europe cluster “Food and Natural Resources”.

Cities will play a key role as bioeconomy hubs, as stated by the 2018 update of the Bioeconomy Strategy. The development of circular urban development plans and the implementation of strategies of bio-waste valorisation may have many positive effects, as bio-waste flows contain that could be turned into bio-based products.

BBI JU projects across Europe

The Bioeconomy Country Fact Sheets which have been released by BBI Joint Undertaking on the 7th of November, give a short overview of current bioeconomy policies and financings as well as BBI JU projects within each European state. Germany, followed by The Netherlands, Spain and France, is the country which received the most of financing so far.


  • BioCannDo Bioeconomy Awareness and Discourse Project
  • BIOBRIDGES Bridging Consumers, Brands and Bio Based Industry to improve the market of sustainable bio-based products
  • BIOWAYS Increase public awareness of bio-based products and applications supporting the growth of the European bioeconomy

Policy support

  • STAR4BBI Standards and Regulations for the Bio-based Industry

 ICT Tools

  • ICT-BIOCHAIN ICT Tools in Efficient Biomass Supply Chains for Sustainable Chemical Production

BBI JU Aggregated Data From Country Fact Sheets.
BBI JU Aggregated Data From Country Fact Sheets.

Algae and Microalgae, aquatic micro-organisms valorisation

  • SpiralG Production of phycocyanin from the spirulina arthrospira sp. Revisiting the sourcing, extraction and co-valorisation of the whole algae in the frame of an industrial biorefinery concept
  • MACRO CASCADE MACRO CASCADE – Cascading Marine Macroalgal Biorefinery
  • MAGNIFICENT Microalgae As a Green source for Nutritional Ingredients for Food/Feed and Ingredients for Cosmetics by cost-Effective New Technologies
  • VALUEMAG Valuable Products from Algae Using New Magnetic Cultivation and Extraction Techniques
  • BIOSEA Innovative cost-effective technology for maximizing aquatic biomass-based molecules for food, feed and cosmetic applications


  • AQUABIOPRO-FIT AQUAculture and Agriculture BIOmass side stream PROteins and bioactives for Feed, FITness and health promoting nutritional supplements


  • BIOMOTIVE Advanced BIObased polyurethanes and fibres for the autoMOTIVE industry with increased environmental sustainability
  • ReInvent Novel Products for Construction and Automotive Industries Based on Bio Materials and Natural Fibres

Agricultural biomass to bioproducts

  • GRACE GRowing Advanced industrial Crops on marginal lands for biorEfineries
  • OPTISOCHEM OPTimized conversion of residual wheat straw to bio-ISObutene for bio-based CHEMicals
  • FIRST2RUN Flagship demonstration of an integrated biorefinery for dry crops sustainable exploitation towards biobased materials production


  • ReSolve REnewable SOLVEnts with high performance in application and improved toxicity profile
  • RoadToBio Roadmap for the Chemical Industry in Europe towards a Bioeconomy

Biomedic, Cosmetics

  • POLYBIOSKIN High performance functional bio-based polymers for skin-contact products in biomedical, cosmetic and sanitary industry


  • EXCornsEED Separation, fractionation and isolation of biologically active natural substances from corn oil and other side streams


  • DEMETER Demonstrating more efficient enzyme production to increase biogas yields

Bioplastics & Packaging

  • RefuCoat Full recyclable food package with enhanced gas barrier properties and new functionalities by the use of high performance coatings
  • SHERPACK Innovative structured polysaccharides-based materials for recyclable and biodegradable flexible packaging
  • FRESH FRESH – Fully bio based and bio degradable ready meal packaging
  • NEWPACK Development of new Competitive and Sustainable Bio-Based Plastics
  • HYPERBIOCOAT High performance biomass extracted functional hybrid polymer coatings for food, cosmetic and medical device packaging


  • NEWFERT Nutrient recovery from bio-based Waste for Fertiliser production
  • SUSFERT Sustainable multifunctional fertiliser – combining bio-coatings, probiotics and struvite for phosphorus and iron supply
Food Industry

  • Pro-Enrich Development of novel functional proteins and bioactive ingredients from rapeseed, olive, tomato and citrus fruit side streams for applications in food, cosmetics, pet food and adhesives
  • PROMINENT Protein Mining of Cereal side-streams Exploring Novel Technological Concepts
  • AgriChemWhey An integrated biorefinery for the conversion of dairy side streams to high value bio-based chemicals
  • Prolific Integrated cascades of PROcesses for the extraction and valorisation of proteins and bioactive molecules from Legumes, Fungi and Coffee agro-industrial side streams

Forestry Management

  • EFFORTE Efficient forestry by precision planning and management for sustainable environment and cost-competitive bio-based industry

Lignocellulosic Valorisation

  • LIBRE Lignin based carbon fibres for composites
  • LigniOx Lignin oxidation technology for versatile lignin dispersants
  • LIGNOFLAG Commercial flagship plant for bio-ethanol production involving a bio-based value chain built on lignocellulosic feedstock
  • NEOCEL Novel processes for sustainable cellulose-based materials
  • SmartLi Smart Technologies for the Conversion of Industrial Lignins into Sustainable Materials
  • SWEETWOODS Production and deploying of high purity lignin and affordable platform chemicals through wood-based sugars
  • UNRAVEL UNique Refinery Approach to Valorise European Lignocellulosics
  • US4GREENCHEM Combined Ultrasonic and Enzyme treatment of Lignocellulosic Feedstock as Substrate for Sugar Based Biotechnological Applications
  • ValChem Value added chemical building blocks and lignin from wood
  • WoodZymes Extremozymes for wood-based building blocks: From pulp mill to board and insulation products
  • Zelcor Zero Waste Ligno-Cellulosic Biorefineries by Integrated Lignin Valorisation
  • iFermenter iFermenter – conversion of forestry sugar residual streams to antimicrobial proteins by intelligent fermentation
  • GreenSolRes Demonstration of solvent and resin production from lignocellulosic biomass via the platform chemical levulinic acid
  • PROVIDES PROcesses for Value added fibres by Innovative Deep Eutectic Solvents
  • PULP2VALUE Processing Underutilised Low value sugar beet Pulp into VALUE added products
  • BIOFOREVER BIO-based products from FORestry via Economically Viable European Routes
  • BIOSKOH BIOSKOH’s Innovation Stepping Stones for a novel European Second Generation BioEconomy
  • EXILVA Flagship demonstration of an integrated plant towards large scale supply and market assessment of MFC (microfibrillated cellulose)

Mushrooms Valorisation

  • FUNGUSCHAIN Valorisation of mushroom offcuts to obtain high value products

Waste & Wastewater

  • URBIOFIN Demonstration of an integrated innovative biorefinery for the transformation of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) into new BioBased products (URBIOFIN)
  • PERCAL Chemical building blocks from versatile MSW biorefinery
  • AgriMax Agri and food waste valorisation co-ops based on flexible multi-feedstocks biorefinery processing technologies for new high added value applications
  • AFTERLIFE Advanced Filtration TEchnologies for the Recovery and Later conversIon of relevant Fractions from wastEwater


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