The CENTROPE pilot project ‘Bio-Substances’: We create opportunities

Potatoes, maize and sugar-beet not only supply consumers with energy and vitamins when we eat them – they are also suited for manufacturing bio-synthetics or generating bio-diesel. “Biogenic resources” is the term used to describe substances of vegetable or animal origin that are not used as foodstuffs or fodder, but serve the purpose of energy generation or industrial processing. Experts believe that the economy will increasingly draw on such biological substances in the next years. The EU, too, subsidises the use of biogenic resources. What could therefore be more logical than to get abroad the ‘bio-train’? The pilot project ‘CENTROPE Bio-Substance’ was concerned with finding out whether the CENTROPE region has the potential to develop a competence focus relating to biogenic resources and thus to boost its competitiveness.

Analyses and in-depth talks with regional industry and technology experts as well as with enterprises, universities and R&D institutions have highlighted one important fact: the Central European Region certainly disposes of the potential to make commercial use of biogenic resources. Above all in the areas of bio-synthetics – the so-called ‘wood-plastic composites’ –, electricity and heating energy generated from biomass as well as bio-fuels, the region was lauded as harbouring excellent possibilities. However, most of these applications are still in their infancy; thus the existing basis in the region needs to be first of all strengthened and further developed. The main focus should be on projects that can be implemented within a short timespan, as this would boost a dynamic process to facilitate the ‘big breakthrough’, the experts recommend. Planned ventures should above all reflect the interests of the enterprises in the region and involve them into future projects. This, too, would bring CENTROPE significantly closer to its declared objective of becoming a ‘biosphere growth region’.