19 Jul 2021

Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) of the Spanish Biomass and Bioeconomy sector

The Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) of the Spanish Biomass and Bioeconomy sector aims to serve as a facilitating instrument for the coordination of policies, strategies and financing in R&D&I, to promote the development of projects based on biomass that allow overcome existing barriers and position Spanish companies, universities and research centers at the forefront of the transition towards the bioeconomy and the sustainable use of biomass in Europe. Taking full advantage of the substantial added value that this sector is capable of generating.

The SRIA includes biomass and the bioeconomy in its broadest sense, from recoverable organic matter (waste, by-products, dedicated crops) to transformation / recovery technologies and applications such as bioenergy (generation of thermal and electrical energy, biofuels) and bioproducts. It addresses the biomass value chains as a whole, highlighting the relevant positive externalities that they induce, as a contributing element to the achievement of energy, sustainability and environmental policy objectives. Maintaining a multi-perspective approach, integrating decarbonization, industrialization, just and inclusive energy transition, sustainability and territorial structuring.

Within the area of ​​Raw Materials (biomass resources), it is defined as a priority area of ​​research and innovation: Optimizing the identification, obtaining and mobilization of biomass raw materials for different uses: bioenergy and bioproducts. For which the following research, development and innovation challenges are detailed:

  • Identification, quantification and geolocation of biomass
  • Standardization of biomass
  • Mobilization of biomass
  • Dedicated biomass crops
  • Biomass logistics
  • Biomass storage
  • Relationship between use of forest biomass and fire prevention
  • Traceability in biomass value chains
  • Activation of raw materials and biobased monomers

In Bioenergy, a priority area for research and innovation is defined: Extend and optimize the technical-economic and environmental response of the processes involved in the generation of bioenergy. For which the following research and innovation challenges are identified:

  • Analyze the possibilities of adapting old coal-fired power plants to biomass
  • Hybridizations between biomass facilities and other renewable technologies
  • Optimization of savings in the complete biomass cycle
  • Advanced pretreatments
  • Innovation in combustion processes to increase efficiency and control emissions
  • Integration of biomass as fuel for industrial processes
  • Use of the biodegradable fraction of municipal waste, sewage sludge or slurry, for the production of biogas or biomethane
  • Cost optimization of biogas upgrading to obtain biomethane
  • Analysis of the energy capacities of biomass in the electricity mix
  • Thermochemical, chemical and biological technologies for biofuels and bioliquids
  • Sustainable biofuel production technologies for aviation that represent an advance with respect to the hydrogenation of vegetable oils
  • Development of intermediate bioenergetic carriers
  • Introduction of processes to integrate residual biomass streams (pyrolysis processes, hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL)) in refineries
  • Hydrogen production technologies from biomass

The Bioproducts that should be investigated and innovated in Spain to achieve commercial productions are listed in the table below:

The socioeconomic and environmental added value generated by the valorization of biomass in the framework of the circular bioeconomy is transversal to raw materials, to the generation of bioenergy, biofuels and bioproducts. A series of areas are prioritized in which ancillary studies and analysis of sustainability, technical-economic, regulatory, market penetration, research and demonstration projects, educational and communication strategies, among others, from which will contribute to increasing knowledge about sustainability and excellence of the production of bioenergy and bioproducts.

This Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda was drafted within the framework of BIOPLAT, the Spanish Platform ‘Biomass for the Bioeconomy’, a nationwide and non-profit organization that promotes the sustainable development of biomass and the bioeconomy in Spain since 2006. It integrates all the public-private actors that make up the value chain of the biomass, to jointly promote the advancement of the sector and thus achieve an economy based on this abundant renewable resource. EERA Bioenergy members, such as CIEMAT and CENER, are members of the Steering Committee of BIOPLAT.