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Researchers from the Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment of the University of Catania, are testing the best mix of local organic residues, mainly citrus skins, to compose the "diet" of five anaerobic digesters located on the University's farm. They aim to create a local source of renewable energy from the 400,000 to 700,000 tons of orange residue from fruit juice production, the disposal of which costs between €12 and 21 million every year. However, about 150 km from Catania, plans for a 21MV power plant between Enna and Caltanissetta have met with resistance from local communities and green activists. The plant was supposed to use fuel from one of the island's green lungs, which would have meant cutting about 6,000 hectares of Eucalyptus trees, thus increasing the hydrogeological instability in the region. For the moment the demonstrators have won their battle in Sicily. The contract between the power plant management and the regional government, which owns the woods, has been stopped. "Context is everything when evaluating sustainability," says Ben Allen, senior policy analyst at the Institute for European Environmental Policy, "because it determines the feasibility of a power plant, the availability of the resources, the conditions of supplying and the interaction with the wider business community." From this perspective, residues seem to be a promising solution for improving biomass sustainability, as shown by the report "Wasted – Europe's untapped resources," which weighs up the potential of farm and urban wastes to produce biofuels. The research has found that every year in Europe, 220 million tons of wasted cellulosic materials, which include crop residues, forest slash and municipal solid waste, can potentially be converted into biofuels, thus cutting GHG emissions by 60 to 85 percent and covering 16 percent of transport fuel needs by 2030. "The consultants looked into all alternative uses of waste—its displacement impact and its benefits, especially for municipal solid waste, resulting from avoiding decomposition and methane," explains Allen, who helped in coordinating the research for the project. Biomass, indeed, is not neutral in terms of greenhouse emissions, with a variable impact ranging from lower values for forest residues to the highest, related to palm kernel. Considering that the 2030 EU climate goal aims to cut greenhouse emissions by 40 percent compared to 1990, tight controls are required. In Spain, at Laguna De Duero, three biomass boilers are fed with woodchips from local forests to heat 1,488 dwellings situated in the Torrelago district. "In this way, we are able to cut CO2 emissions by up to 85 percent, which corresponds to about 3,000 tons per year," explains Javier Martín Sanz, engineer at Veolia and in charge of the European project CITyFiED. "Moreover, each boiler has a system that removes ashes through blasts of compressed air. The detached particles are then filtered out and collected, minimising the final dust emissions." The quality of wood biomass and the treatment of smoke are, indeed, key factors regarding types and quantities of GHG emissions. "We should only choose fuels from certified production chains," says Vito Pignatelli, chief of the Laboratory of Biomass and Biotechnologies at Enea. The agency is working on a new generation of ceramic filters able to cut particulate emissions by up to 92 percent. "These filters are made of silicon carbide and dipped in a copper ferrite catalyst, which makes them able to decompose particulates when heated," Pignatelli concludes. Explore further: Waste-biogas is at least ten times more effective than crop-biogas at reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ISIB-01-2014 | Award Amount: 3.01M | Year: 2015

EUs agricultural and forestry land provides a wide range of public goods (PG) and ecosystem services (ESS) on which society depends, yet land use decisions and society often under-value these . PEGASUS will develop innovative, practical ways of making PG and ESS concepts accessible and operational: it will identify how, where and when cost-effective mechanisms and tools for policy, business and practice can most effectively be applied, increasing the sustainability of primary production in pursuit of the EU2020 vision of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Recognising that the appreciation of PGs is context-dependent, PEGASUS uses social-ecological systems as an analytical framework to explore systemic inter-dependencies among natural, social and economic processes. It will adopt participatory action research with public and private actors and stakeholders to better understand the range of policy and practical challenges in different case study contexts (localities, sectors, management systems, etc.). An EU-level spatially explicit assessment of causalities between socio-political and institutional drivers, different land management systems and multiple delivery of PG will be complemented by fine-grained analysis within the case studies, and comparative meta-analysis will be applied to develop an operational framework for mapping, valorising and determining what PG and ecosystem service (ES) provision is needed and feasible within particular territories and sectors. New data-sets, transferable methods and tools that are fit-for-purpose and sensitive to the plurality of decision-making contexts will be generated. By improving recognition of the social and economic value of PG, PEGASUS will promote improved and innovative approaches to their provision by businesses and communities, and highlight specific policy improvements. It will provide specific advances in CAP, forestry and other relevant policies, underpinned by strong scientific evidence.

Allen B.R.,Institute for European Environmental Policy | Keegan D.,Institute for European Environmental Policy | Elbersen B.,Wageningen University
Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining | Year: 2013

Demands from land are increasing within the EU. Targets set out under the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) are driving the production of energetic biomass for use within the energy sector and, at the same time, changing populations, diets, and societal preferences are leading to increased demands for other types of biomass including food, feed, and fiber. As an inherently multifunctional natural resource, land is already meeting many of these demands as well as providing a wider range of services to society including clean and reliable water, carbon sequestration, and cultural services. However, as demands from land increase, its continued ability to support a range of different sectors sustainably is called into question. This review considers the EU demand for bioenergy and the biomass used to produce it, to 2020, within the wider land-use context. It reflects on the different demands facing the EU and global land resources beyond those emanating from the energy sector, their drivers, and the implications for land resources as a central element in the development of sustainable biomass supply chains in the EU. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Source

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: ENV.2009. | Award Amount: 987.39K | Year: 2010

KNOSSOS seeks to address the gap between science and society in the field of environmental research with a focus on policy makers and civil society, who are the main recipients of the project. We propose to take stock of available research results that are useful for policy-making. KNOSSOS will then add a knowledge management system, with innovative tools to guarantee fast and easy access to relevant information. This initial phase will also yield collaborative workshops on evidence-based policy making and training for policy makers in the field of environmental research. KNOSSOS puts an emphasis on disseminating research findings beyond Europe: through a number of Knowledge Fairs as side events of international conferences, but also by including DG Research findings in one of the worlds largest collections of Environmental Science Research, the Online Access to Research in the Environment (OARE). In order to ensure swift uptake of European environmental research into policy making, KNOSSOS, with its partner IEEP, the Institute for European Environmental Policy, will issue monthly policy briefs for European, national and international policy makers. Aiming for enhanced visibility of European mission to raise public awareness about emerging environmental issues. KNOSSOS strength lies in the composition of its consortium: UNEP, the worlds leading environmental authority, joins forces with the Institute for European Environmental Policy, a renowned independent not-for-profit institute with a strong reputation in giving policy advice; and with GLOBE EU/Europe, an excellent partner in training policy-makers and disseminating deliverables. KNOSSOS will have an impact on both policy makers and civil society in and beyond Europe. Our goal is to make European environmental science not only understandable, but also actionable and a preferred reference for all who seek information to pressing ecological questions of our time.

This paper explores cross-scale governance between the European Union (EU) and Member State level arising from the identification of key policy priorities by stakeholders in six river basins across Europe and their relationship to EU policy development and implementation. Particular emphasis is given to interpretation of Good Ecological Status in implementing the EU Water Framework Directive, climate adaptation for water management, application of agri-environment measures to reduce agricultural impacts on water and control of discharges from industry. The paper also examines lessons from wider sources of information such as legal analysis of transposition of EU law at national level and the rulings of the European Court of Justice. The analysis identifies a number of different types of 'information' transmission between the different governance scales. Information includes a range of governance issues, including transmission of rules. These are exact 'information' transmission (water quality standards), national elaboration of information transmitted (adapting to climate change), national simplification of information transmitted (industrial pollution control), distributed information transmission (in national transposition), fuzzy transmission of information (interpretation of Good Ecological Status) and barriers to transmission (available funding). The paper concludes by considering the importance of cross-scale analysis in assessing policy effectiveness and argues for further analysis drawing on cross-scale research derived from ecosystems analysis. © IWA Publishing 2011. Source

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