Demonstration of integrated logistics centres for food and non-food applications
Most agro-industries[[post-harvest activities involved in the processing, preservation and preparation of agricultural production for intermediary or final consumption (mainly food industries)]] are surrounded by biomass such as agricultural/forestry residues and industrial crops, and produce by-products which could be used as raw materials for industrial and farming applications (e.g. biochemicals, biomaterials, bioenergy, organic fertilisers). These agro-industries work seasonally and could diversify their regular activity in non-productive periods by organising the logistics and pre-treatment of available local biomass, thus developing synergistic logistics centres for food and non-food uses. These centres will contribute to the efficient organisation of new biomass supply chains, while supporting rural development by creating logistical activities and jobs at local level.
Proposals should demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of integrated biomass logistics centres for food and non-food products under real operational conditions (TRL:6-8), taking advantage of the seasonal nature of the activities of agro-industries. At least two demonstrations of logistics centres should be performed in different Member States/Associated Countries. Decisions as to demonstration locations should be based on business models identified via a thorough analysis of biomass availability around existing agro-industries and market potential for intermediate products or bio-commodities to be delivered by logistics centres, while identifying potential industrial actors down the value chain, especially at local/regional level.
The logistics centres should develop cost-effective and environment-friendly logistics (e.g. avoiding biomass losses and greenhouse gas emissions) for the collection/harvesting, transport, storage and possible pre-treatment (e.g. biomass densification) of surrounding available biomass such as agricultural/forestry residues and industrial crops, while using agro-industries' existing facilities/equipment to reduce overall logistics costs. Proposals should also investigate the possibility of treating agro-industry by-products (e.g. from crops or livestock) to produce bio-commodities or intermediate products for industrial and farming applications. The environmental impact (e.g. effect on soil compaction, soil fertility and organic content, effect on biodiversity, impact on road transport traffic), economic impact (e.g. economic viability and added value for farmers, forest holders and agro-industry) and social impact of the integrated logistics will be assessed. Recommendations and best-practice guidelines for successful integrated logistics centres will be produced. Selected projects should cooperate throughout the project life and join forces for dissemination activities.
Proposals should fall under the concept of the 'multi-actor approach'[[See definition of the 'multi-actor approach' in the introduction to this Work Programme part]] engaging relevant actors such as farmers/forest holders, cooperatives, logistics providers, industries and researchers. SME participation is encouraged.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 6 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
This action contributes to the creation of new sustainable value chains for non-food applications based on available biomass at local level, fostering the bioeconomy. Applicants will measure the expected impact of the project on the basis of:
- improved technical, economic and environmental logistics for the demonstrated centres;
- improved knowledge of business models for logistics centres, including a thorough understanding of their potential for development, performance and interest in economic, environmental and social terms, and success factors or reasons for failures; and
- the diversification and increase of farmers'/forest holders', agro-industries' revenues in rural areas.
In the longer term, the results will increase the attractiveness of rural areas around logistics centres for new industrial players which can benefit from industrial symbiosis.