CIRCE heads up a European project to promote the use of agrarian woody refuse for energy purposes

CIRCE has set to work on a project funded by the European Commission to reuse the woody refuse generated in certain agrarian tasks. The launch meeting was held last month at CIRCE’s head office as the coordinator of the project and was attended by a score of professionals from the seven countries involved.

The overall aim of the initiative is to take advantage of the potential of agrarian woody refuse as a source of energy, as well as proving the feasibility of creating new logistics chains and business models that would enable its use. More specifically, the project will focus on agrarian pruning and plantation removal (APPR) wood, especially that obtained from vineyards, olive groves and fruit tree plantations. The project will seek to overcome the current situation of stagnancy caused by the fact that neither the agricultural sector nor the energy sector are interested in changing the waste management model to use this refuse as a source of energy. Yet this alternative use has its advantages as it would help the agricultural sector to lower the cost for farmers of managing such waste, which is usually disposed of by burning or shredding on the plantation’s land.

This would mean generating value from waste that is currently put to no use and is almost entirely disposed of in controlled fires. Moreover, uP_running will encourage the development of rural areas and enhance competitiveness in the agricultural sector by making its activities more diverse and giving rise to new business lines for local companies, not to mention electricity bill savings for biomass consumers.

With this in mind, uP_running will be implementing a series of specific actions geared towards rebutting the misconception in the agricultural sector, the public sector and the energy sector that this type of waste has little or no value. To do so, the project will reveal success stories and best practice models that will encourage the use of biomass waste.

This will be done by developing tools, roadmaps, guidelines and technical material targeted towards the public and private sector through which to understand the sector’s obstacles and overcome them. A network of qualified consultants will also be set up to solve queries raised by the sectors involved in the value chain and to support new entrepreneurs. These measures will be implemented in seven European countries, four of which will create a total of twenty new value chains.

Thanks to its significant international involvement, the uP_running project can guarantee that the results obtained will be used and spread to other countries The consortium comprises representatives from eleven partners in Spain, Greece, Italy, Ukraine, Croatia, Portugal and France. The list includes a series of agrarian cooperatives, agro-industries, universities and research centres which will be working under CIRCE’s guidance throughout the project’s three-year duration. The other Spanish representative is ASAJA Huesca, who will be contributing to the project with its agrarian expertise and its experience driving change in the agricultural sector. The project is also backed by the European Commission with two million euros of funding.