27th EUBCE 2019 Conference General Chair, Prof. Maria da Graça Carvalho: Chair's Message

It is a great honour to welcome you to Lisbon, Portugal is a pioneer country in renewable energy and in March 2018, Portugal generated more renewable energy than it needed. This country has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050 and is aiming for 35% renewable energy by 2030, in line with the new regulatory framework agreed by the European Parliament on 13th November 2018, which sets a binding renewable energy target of at least 32% in the EU by 2030, including a review clause by 2023 for an upward revision.

These set of targets will contribute to the Commission’s vision for a climate-neutral future in line with the Paris Agreement objective to keep the global temperature increase to well below 2°C and pursue efforts to keep it to 1.5°C. Biomass and waste accounted for about two-thirds of all renewable energy consumption in the EU. It should be stressed that for biomass to be effective at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it must be produced in a sustainable way.
The revised Renewable Energy Directive ensures the sustainability of bioenergy through different provisions. In particular, the directive addresses the negative indirect impact that the production of biofuels may have due to Indirect Land-Use Change (ILUC).

The use of biomass for production of power, heat, transportation fuels and materials, if the sustainability is ensured, is one of the most promising options to combat climate change. As of today, biomass is part of the only feasible scenario for delivering carbon-neutral solutions for aviation (long-haul flights), shipping and heavy road transport. Biomass will play a role in the development of climate neutral or negative emission solutions, for example in combination with CCU (Carbon Capture and Utilization) or CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) technologies.

Achieving the targets set for 2030 and 2050 will require the development of new, more efficient and less costly technologies and Europe clearly has the potential to develop a new generation of low carbon technologies. We will reach affordable, clean energy for all through strong investment in research, science and innovation, and deployment on industrial scale. This is why the European Commission has proposed 100 billion Euro for the new (2021-2027) EU Research and Innovation Programme, Horizon Europe.

The EUBCE 2019 Conference will be a meeting place to discuss all these new developments. EUBCE 2019 is about promoting research and innovation in biomass, bioenergy and biomaterials from frontier research to assessing the challenges and successes of industrial applications. EUBCE 2019 is about research and innovation but it is also about science and scientific evidence in policy making in the field of biomass, bioenergy and biomaterials. The theme of this year’s event is “The role of biomass in delivering the Paris targets and supporting sustainable development goals”. To discuss this topic, a roundtable discussion on 27 May will bring together senior representatives from national government, the European Commission, NGOs and industry.

On 29 May the European Commission is organizing the event Paving the way towards clean energy and fuels in Europe – Talks with research, industry and EU Member States on bioenergy, advanced biofuels and renewable fuels. This research policy workshop will focus on how to move forward the innovation chain in the EU for bioenergy, advanced biofuels and renewable fuels, contributing to the clean energy transformation in energy and transport, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and the EU Communication “Clean Planet for All”.
The present edition of the EUBCE will pay particular attention to the issue of science-based policy making, discussing the best ways to use the most up-to-date scientific results in the policy making cycle and will assess the successes of industrial processes using biomass for energy and materials applications toward reaching the EU 2030 and Paris targets.
Let us move science, innovation and science-based policy making in the area of biomass and bioenergy for a bright and de-fossilized future!

Prof. Maria da Graça Carvalho 
European Commission
Directorate-General Research and Innovation
Member Scientific Advice Mechanism Unit
EUBCE Conference General Chair

Maria da Graça Carvalho is currently member of the Scientific Advice Mechanism Unit of the Directorate-General Research and Innovation of the European Commission. She was a senior advisor of Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation from November 2014 to December 2015. She was a member of the European Parliament in the EPP group since July 2009 to May 2014. In this capacity she was one of the rapporteurs of Horizon 2020. She was Principal Adviser of President of the European Commission in the areas of Science, Innovation, Energy, Environment and Climate Change from 2006 to 2009. She was Minister of Science and Higher Education of the XV Constitutional Government and Minister of Science, Innovation and Higher Education of the XVI Constitutional Government of Portugal. She is a Full Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico (University of Lisbon) and she has acquired 30 years of experience in research in the areas of energy, climate change and science, technology and innovation policy. She has published 130 articles in international scientific journals and more than 300 articles in books and conference proceedings. She is, herself, the author of 2 books and the editor of 15 books and special editions of international scientific journals in the field of energy.