Project budget5 873 743 €
ERDF amount3 381 513 €
The project addresses the need for an environmentally friendly and resource efficient economy focusing on horticulture, using plant resources in a more sustainable, efficient and integrated manner. Although the horticulture industry presents multifaceted societal benefits, the need for transition towards bio-economy is largely overlooked so far. There is much potential, but development, testing and uptake of green innovations is slow due to suboptimal interaction between researchers and SMEs, problematic financing and lack of cross disciplinary working and effective support strategies.
To accelerate the transition to a bio-economy by implementing regional test and pilot projects for development of new techniques, methods and products in the horticultural sector and supporting their development towards market uptake.
Central challenges are to strengthen the supportive role of public authorities to better facilitate and support SMEs to develop more innovations and bring them to the market, to valorise horticultural waste streams and byproducts by extracting valuable plant compounds, and to encourage support from SMEs for the bio-economy and understanding the opportunities.
- Specific approach to support the transition to a bio-economy
- 3 Regional bio-economy partnerships that facillitate SMEs (UK, BE, NL)
- 3 Regional action plans (UK, BE, NL)
- Bio-economy awareness and activation campaign
- Open innovation platform Bio-based Horticulture
- 9 Pilot projects dealing with horticultural waste streams and byproducts for use for food, feed, green pesticides, materials, pharmaceutics and cosmetics
Cross border approach
The bio-economy, green innovations and its markets are developments that go far beyond regional and national scale. Developments towards a bio-economy are relatively new and it is of the greatest importance that parties forge links, share perspectives, and build new approaches.
Therefore there is potential and need for the front runners to engage in cross-disciplinary, and cross border thinking in creating the solutions. Vice versa these front-runners have a strong impact on the actual implementation of green innovations and thus cross border cooperation increases this impact considerably.
The project ended in 2020, many products were delivered during project life time:
• Seminar 'Saving waste in horticulture: Optimising resources', in Cambridge-UK with strong interest from industry, research institutes and public authorities.
• Seminar 'Agro-food waste streams: from cost to source of income', in Beitem-BE. Project activities were presented and entrepreneurs shared success stories.
• Project's own website, with results of all project activities, 90 news articles and the publication of 10 newsletters have contributed to obtaining more attention for the circular economy and opportunities in horticultural industry.
• Reports about 'Stabilisation tests of horticultural waste streams', about 'Green pesticides' with tests to determine the performance of biocontrol agents made of organic by-products, 'Lab scale & pilot scale experiments with mealworm and black soldier fly' with focus on insects as a promising way of converting horticultural residues into valuable protein, oil and derived products, 'Valorisation of crop co-products to produce colourants and new products for cosmetics', 'Pretreatment methods and techniques', with food applications made from residual flows, 'Harvesting and logistic chain', for optimisation of collecting horticultural residuals.
• Regional collaborations (horticultural industry, researchers, public authorities) (co)organised in total over 90 activities in the participating regions in the UK, NL and BE with in total over 12,000 participants.
• Campaign 'More profit, less waste', to increase awareness in the horticultural industry for applications of green residuals. A short movie was made and campaign posters, 4 theme weeks were organised.
• Bioeconomy Learning Module Horticulture and a related educational boardgame, also an online version.
• The digital BioBoost Platform was launched to stimulate and connect biobased initiatives in horticulture. The core consists of examples of new applications of horticultural residues. Presently 71 examples. Continuation is secured after project lifetime.
• A strategy to 'boost' utilisation of horticultural residues is developed and summarised in the strategy brochure 'From waste to source of income', presented to 17 public authorities (NL, UK, BE).
• Successful pilots were implemented in preparation of full scale production installations for insect breeding and production of chipboard from green residuals.
• Online end event in which the main results and the strategy were presented.