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lunes, 27 de noviembre de 2017

Profile: Task force AgriREFIN – Early steps towards an agricultural biorefinery in Almería


The European Innovation Partnerships (EIP) are one of the major initiatives driven by the EU research and innovation policies. They act across the whole research and innovation chain, bringing together all relevant actors at all levels (EU, national and regional). In practice, they intend to ensure that any breakthroughs are quickly brought to market. One of these EIP is focused on promoting the sustainable and productive agriculture providing an interface between agriculture, bioeconomy, science and other users: EIP-Agri.

In Spain, during the programming period 2014-2020 is manned by the Central State Administration with its National Rural Development Programme and by the Autonomous Communities under the framework of their Rural Development Programmes. The National Rural Development Programme offers a tool to bolster the innovation through the EIP-Agri: the supra-regional task forces. Formed by actors of different profiles, the groups look for an innovating solution to specific problem or an opportunity in the agri-food or forest sectors. AgriREFIN has been one of the beneficiaries under the Call 1016.

Factsheet of the task force AgriREFIN
Development of a project of agricultural biorefinery for the valorization of the plant debris from intensive horticulture using different biotechnological pathways to produce bioethanol, biofertilizers and other bioproducts. The task force intends to build an industrial scale plant in the area of intensive horticulture in the province of Almería.
Proposed technologies
- Fermentation of the sugars present in the waste to produce ethanol (biofuel and feedstock for other high-value bioproducts).
- Anaerobic digestion.
- Composting.
Phase I (task force): Establishment of the consortium and drafting of the project.
Phase II (task force): Selection of the location and the industrial partners, production test, technological validation, project in detail, financial plan, intellectual property development plan.
Phase III (private funding and other sources): industrial deployment and start-up.
- ANECOOP S. COOP.: Representative. Second degree cooperative. It is considered to be a large agri-food company.
- BIOMASA del GUADALQUIVIR: company devoted to the recycling of organic wastes and the production of compost and biofertilisers.
- BIOPLAT: Spanish Biomass Technology Platform.
- BIOPOLIS: Biotech company that offers services of research, development and production for the agri-food, pharmaceutical, chemical and energy sectors.
- BIOVEGEN: Spanish Technology Platform for Plant Biotechnology.
- COPROHNIJAR S. COOP.: First degree cooperative. Its main business is the tomato commercialisation.
- IMECAL: industry with capacity to design and build the biorefinery with proprietary technology (PERSEO Bioethanol process, more information here: WASTE2BIO project - From the organic fraction of the MSW to bioethanol through the PERSEO process and URBIOFIN and PERCAL projects – The urban biorefinery model in action).
- TECNOVA: Technology center of the auxiliary industry of the intensive horticulture.
Total: 43.376,24 €.
UE co-funding: 53 %.
4 months.

The task force components have held some meetings: September 19th in Madrid, September 28th in Almeria and November 17th in Valencia.

Figure 1. Visit of the members of the task force to COPROHNIJAR facilities (courtesy of Biovegen)

The idea of the proposed project is aligned with the goals of the circular economy: it uses synergies to close the materials cycles; it optimizes the production and consumption systems; it adopts new agricultural business models that use plant debris as feedstocks for other entrepreneurial activities. 

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