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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Project presentation

Project presentation
© Biomass For The Future

Download the brochure of the project  

In the context of global warming and dwindling fossil fuel reserves, lignocellulosic biomass will provide a renewable source of energy, materials and chemicals.

The source of biomass can vary depending on local availability: by-products from agriculture, forestry, industry or households but also crops dedicated to the production of lignocellulosic biomass.

This dedicated biomass feedstock have several advantages: it can be produced locally, nearby its sites of transformation and the production system can be optimized more easily in terms of yield, environmental footprint and biomass quality.

At the moment, two major obstacles prevent the development of lignocellulosic pathways: for the farmer, there is a lack of good visibility on the markets and for the industrialists there is a lack of a guarantee of a sustainable supply of a quality biomass.

« Biomass For the Future » will tackle these two challenges simultaneously.

On the one hand, BFF aims at the development of cultivation systems and new varieties of sorghum and miscanthus and, on the other hand, new outlets are developed in the form of energy (heat and methane), automotive industry and concrete blocks-miscanthus carriers for construction.

Sorghum is an annual high-yielding, drought-resistant grass adapted to southern Europe. Miscanthus is a perennial grass adapted to more temperate climates, with a low dependence on fertilizers and phytosanitary products. Therefore these crops have the advantage of combining a high potential for biomass production, with minimal impact on the environment. In addition, maize is used as a model crop for comparative genomics.

The development of local biomass-based value chains is expected to overcome technological, sociological and institutional barriers to future larger-scale development of other value chains, which in turn will help consolidate local industry. This should create a positive momentum towards widespread adoption of a knowledge-based bio-economy in France.

PROJECT:

To reach the combined goals, the project should catalyze technological, economic and territorial breakthroughs.

Technological breakthroughs : 

  • Domestication of dedicated ligno-cellulosic biomass feedstock varieties starting from virtually wild species (miscanthus) or crop species with no selection history for biomass-related traits (sorghum).
  • Acceleration of the domestication process taking advantage of recent breakthroughs in genome sequencing, association genetics, comparative genomics, biotechnology, high throughput anatomical and chemical phenotyping and mathematical modeling.
  • Definition of the optimal feedstock/valorization combination through the association of specialists in plant biology, ecophysiology, genomics, material science and life cycle analysis, agronomists, breeders, farmers and process engineers.
  • Development of new technologies for the production of ligno-cellulosic biomass-based construction materials and composites.

Economic breakthroughs :

  • Promoting the establishment of local, economically viable industries by creating incentives for farmers (reliable demand for biomass, availability of optimized varieties, agronomic practices and logistics) and industry (reliable supply of guaranteed-quality biomass, novel bioproducts).

Territorial breakthroughs :

  • Promoting the development of a new local green economy through the establishment of a network of stakeholders for a given territory (farmers, industry, scientists, engineers, local authorities and citizens)
  • Contributing to the rehabilitation of “marginal” lands (polluted sites, water catchment areas, fallow land)
  • Key role of local authorities in setting up value chains with decision-making on local economic development, provision of infrastructure and testing grounds, support to farmers and communication)

BFF in few figures:

•      Period : 2012 - 2020

•      Budget : 28 M€ with 10 M€ government support

•      25 partners

–     9 public research institutes

–     14 private partners

–     2 local authorities