The Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) is a €3.7 billion Public-Private Partnership between the European Union and the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC). Until today, BBI JU has funded 142 bio-based innovation projects involving 1,055 beneficiaries from 39 EU Member States and Associated Countries.
The most ambitious R&I initiative for the bio-based industry
BBI JU is a €3.7 billion initiative providing funding for projects in the bio-based industries sector for the 2014-2020 period.
The two founding partners contribute to the Joint Undertaking: €975 million in funding is provided by the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Union and €2.7 billion is contributed by the private sector, represented by BIC. By 2024, each euro of BBI JU funding is expected to have attracted a private contribution of €2.8.
The bio-based industries sector
The bio-based industry is an emerging sector linking interconnected value chains. It aims to transform renewable biological feedstocks (such as agricultural by-products, forestry residues, organic waste and aquatic biomass) into bio-based chemicals, materials, products and energy, replacing their fossil-based versions.
Accounting for 3.6 million jobs and around €700 billion turnover in the EU, this sector is key for the green economy. It plays an essential role in reducing Europe dependency on strategic raw material imports, spurring sustainable growth and boosting Europe’s competitiveness by contributing to the revitalisation of rural and coastal areas.
Despite its current size and expected growth, this sector is considered as emerging and is still facing relevant challenges. It is indeed fragmented across actors and regions, and investments remain risky. The value chains are still under development and need to become fully sustainable, producing zero waste and respecting the cascading principles.
BBI JU projects have three main focus areas:
• Feedstock: foster a sustainable biomass supply in Europe that does not compete with food production, and create new supply chains
• Biorefineries: optimise efficient processing through R&D and demonstrate the model’s efficiency and economic viability at a large-scale in demonstration actions and flagship biorefineries
• Markets, products and policies: develop markets for bio-based products and optimise policy frameworks to ease their market uptake
Tackling Europe's major challenges
The bio-based industries sector offers a vast potential to tackle today’s major societal challenges ranging from environmental degradation to climate change while having a positive socio-economic impact. As compared to 2014 figures, a strong European bio-based industrial sector will:
• Replace 25% of oil-based chemicals by 2030
• Drastically reduce EU’s dependency on the import of strategic raw materials, such as protein (by 50%), phosphorus and potassium (by 25%)
• Cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50%
• Create up to 700,000 green jobs by 2030, especially in rural and coastal areas
The key to a competitive and sustainable bio-based industries sector is to develop new technologies that transform renewable natural resources into bio-based products, materials and fuels. The EU has the industrial, research and renewable resources potential to be competitive at the global scale: it is now a matter of deploying it sustainably to compete in the global bioeconomy race.