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Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ISIB-04b-2015 | Award Amount: 4.00M | Year: 2016

European forests are expected to provide a broad range of ecosystem services (ES). This capacity is however threatened by the uncertainties of climate change, the complex dynamics of evolving global markets and the pressures for increased use of bioenergy. Such challenges cannot be effectively addressed with an uncritical regional or national commitment to traditional forest management models (FMMs), as these are unlikely to ensure the sustained long-term provisioning of desired ES, let alone their optimised delivery. ALTERFORs goal is thus to facilitate the implementation of FMMs better suited to meeting the challenges of the 21st century by: (1) Identifying and developing FMMs robust in their capacity to deliver ES and overcome projected socio-ecological risks and uncertainties; (2) Assessing the impact of different FMM combinations in terms of resultant ES baskets on the European and landscape level, and (3) Facilitating the implementation of desired FMMs and improving cross-national knowledge transfer regarding their benefits, costs, management, and utilization. The project will involve a consortium of 19 organisations from nine countries chosen due to their possession of the transdisciplinary expertise necessary to achieve these objectives, and for ensuring an encompassing representation of Europes socio-economic conditions and prevailing forest management paradigms. Based on carefully designed case studies, the consortium will make sure realistic models of forest owner behaviour are employed; guarantee the involvement of forest stakeholders throughout the project; anchor the desired FMMs to relevant forest actors; and help disseminate project findings to local, national and European stakeholders. The main long-term impact of ALTERFOR is the implementation of FMMs that secure the capacity of Europes forests to continue providing a balanced ES basket that societies will depend upon over the coming century.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SFS-04-2014 | Award Amount: 5.31M | Year: 2015

LANDMARK is a pan-European multi-actor consortium of leading academic and applied research institutes, chambers of agriculture and policy makers that will develop a coherent framework for soil management aimed at sustainable food production across Europe. The LANDMARK proposal builds on the concept that soils are a finite resource that provides a range of ecosystem services known as soil functions. Functions relating to agriculture include: primary productivity, water regulation & purification, carbon-sequestration & regulation, habitat for biodiversity and nutrient provision & cycling. Trade-offs between these functions may occur: for example, management aimed at maximising primary production may inadvertently affect the water purification or habitat functions. This has led to conflicting management recommendations and policy initiatives. There is now an urgent need to develop a coherent scientific and practical framework for the sustainable management of soils. LANDMARK will uniquely respond to the breadth of this challenge by delivering (through multi-actor development): 1. LOCAL SCALE: A toolkit for farmers with cost-effective, practical measures for sustainable (and context specific) soil management. 2. REGIONAL SCALE - A blueprint for a soil monitoring scheme, using harmonised indicators: this will facilitate the assessment of soil functions for different soil types and land-uses for all major EU climatic zones. 3. EU SCALE An assessment of EU policy instruments for incentivising sustainable land management. There have been many individual research initiatives that either address the management & assessment of individual soil functions, or address multiple soil functions, but only at local scales. LANDMARK will build on these existing R&D initiatives: the consortium partners bring together a wide range of significant national and EU datasets, with the ambition of developing an interdisciplinary scientific framework for sustainable soil management.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-RISE | Phase: MSCA-RISE-2015 | Award Amount: 2.00M | Year: 2016

Forest policy and decision makers are challenged by the need to balance the increasing demand for forest-based services (e.g. recreation, protection, conservation) and wood-based products (e.g. timber, fuelwood) with the foreseen scarcity of supply in different situations as for example disturbances (e.g. wildfires, droughts). Under these circumstances research on the impacts of different disturbances on the supply of services and goods is needed. To achieve these multipurpose forest managements and to integrate risk and uncertainty, New tools and models are needed. Furthermore, these tools and models may help to develop new policies that target the achievement of certain level of services while sustaining a certain level of goods supply. This project will take advantage of the knowledge on these topics in European and American organizations. It will further serve to exchange and generate knowledge on multipurpose forests, addressing risk and uncertainty as well as to strengthen research collaboration through active networking, staff exchange and dissemination activities between the participants.

The objective of SteamBio is to demonstrate a mobile processing concept that will enable efficient pre-treatment of agro-forestry residues for use as flexible feedstocks in chemical and process industries. These ligno-cellulosic materials originated from rural locations will be upgraded and densified into uniform sizes at source, allowing cost-effective transportation to existing industrial sites. The core enabling technology is superheated steam processing (SHS). SHS has been implemented in diverse drying applications at industrial scales, due to its superior heat transfer properties. At pilot scales, SHS has been proven to torrefy biomass at temperatures up to 300C with minimal ligno-cellulose breakdown. Unlike conventional torrefaction techniques, which use flue gases as heating medium, it does not contaminate the torrefied biomass and volatile fractions, allowing economic recovery of chemicals. Moreover, it is also readily scalable for continuous operation. In SteamBio, a transportable demonstrator unit will be operated at five different rural locations where it will be used to torrefy tonnage quantities of six different agro-forestry residues at a throughput of 500 kg/h. The demonstrator unit will be operated at these rural locations throughout the last twelve months of the project to allow for seasonal fluctuations in the composition of the materials being valorised. The torrefied biomass fractions (solid and liberated volatiles) will then be validated as green building blocks in commercially relevant chemical production and in bioenergy use. Life cycle experts will validate that SteamBio will have positive environmental impacts. A robust business strategy will be developed to enable the results to cross the valley of death post-project and to ensure widespread market replication. Project delivery will be achieved by an interdisciplinary team from research and from the entire industrial and commercial supply chain from fields through to factories.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: IA | Phase: SPIRE-02-2014 | Award Amount: 9.77M | Year: 2015

MOBILE FLIP aims at developing and demonstrating mobile processes for the treatment of underexploited agro- and forest based biomass resources into products and intermediates. The processes will be evaluated in terms of raw material flexibility, as the biomass resources are typically scattered and seasonal. Process concepts have been designed around the key technologies pelletizing, torrefaction, slow pyrolysis, hydrothermal pretreatment and carbonisation. The products vary depending on the process concept, being typically fuels as such or for co-combustion (pellets, torrefied pellets, biocoals), biochars for soil remediation, biodegradable pesticides for agricultural or forestry use or chemicals for wood panel industry and sugars and hydrolysable cellulose as intermediate for the sugar platform. Some of the products are marketable as such, while some others are intermediates to be further valorised by integrated large industries. In the latter case, the mobile unit pre-extracts the valuable components or densifies the biomass to reduce transportation costs. Over-the-fence integration to large industries will be one means to ensure the availability of utilities, such as steam and electricity, whereas in some mobile process concepts the utilities can be produced at site for internal or external uses. The concept evaluations are supported both by research and industrial (SME and large industries) partners in the whole value chains. Preliminary business plan is presented in the proposal and will be updated during the project. Dissemination, communication and exploitation activities will be an integral part of the project. A milestone is defined in the midterm of the project to identify the most feasible process lines for demonstration. Life-cycle analysis and a wide sustainability evaluation (economic, environmental and social assessment) will be carried out for the process concepts in order to clarify their potential for flexible raw material valorisation.

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