International Conference and Business Networking Event held on 17 September 2020
On 17 September 2020, an international conference was organised by the Lithuanian Biotechnology Association as a part of the BalticBiomass4Value project. Additional to the conference, three business networking events were offered by our German, Norwegian and Lithuanian partners.
The international conference Bio-based Industries Fast Forward was held in a semi-virtual format at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas. 146 participants from the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) and beyond took part in the conference. Opening remarks were held by Tomas Andrejauskas, President of the Lithuanian Biotechnology Association, and Henriette Vivestad, Managing Director of the Norwegian Bioenergy Association. Following the opening remarks, Astrid Schomaker, Director for Global Sustainable Development in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Environment, outlined the European Green Deal and stressed the commitment of the EU towards creating a bioeconomy, which is sustainable economically, socially and environmentally. The speakers that followed discussed various aspects of the bioeconomy and its development potential in the BSR.
After the plenary session, participants were invited to join one of the transnational business to business sessions. Topics included:
– innovative uses of various biomass resources for the production of high-value sustainable bio-based products,
– innovative uses of agricultural and aquatic biomass for the production of sustainable bioenergy and other bio-based products,
– innovative uses of forest biomass and municipal waste for the production of sustainable bioenergy and other bio-based products.
These sessions were opened with case studies of the Italian leading consortium in biotechnology Corsorzio Italbiotec, the German biogas sector and the Norwegian biorefinery company Borregaard AS. Various best practice examples in the BSR were provided during these sessions.
Parallel Lithuanian session: Relevant support instruments for Lithuanian businesses
The parallel Lithuanian session discussed relevant support instruments for Lithuanian businesses. The workshop was primarily a networking event and allowed businesses to exchange experience and express any issues that they face. Business enterprises were interested in learning about best practice examples in the BSR and discussed the limiting factors of strengthening the bioeconomy in Lithuania.
Parallel Norwegian session: Wrap up and ideas to follow up
The parallel Norwegian session discussed the potential of a bio-based economy. In the first section of the workshop, the possibilities in the BSR were outlined, including the EU and national policies on strengthening the bioeconomy. Afterwards, the business enterprises gave short pitches about their sector (forestry, fisheries, farming) and ways to solve possible challenges of a bio-based economy were discussed. Lastly, the participants discussed lessons learned from EU policies and whether there are alternative ways of strengthening the bioeconomy in Norway.
Parallel German session: Local heating networks with biomass and biogas as a fuel
The parallel German session discussed local heating networks with biomass and biogas as a fuel. Overall, all representatives of the small and medium-sizedenterprises were optimistic that the biogas and local heating network sector will be expanded in the coming years, thereby allowing sustainable energyproduction for transportation and the home. Nevertheless, it was frequently mentioned that a greater willingness is needed from politicians and vehicle manufacturers to strengthen the biogas sector. Regarding local heating networks, it was stated that the acceptance of the local population determined whether the project would be implemented. Moreover, there is a general lack of knowledge about the benefits of using biomass for heating. Most consumers falsely assume that a local heating network is very expensive, which is not the case.