I am very honoured to welcome you in Marseille for the 28th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition.

Biomass is the corner stone of the bioeconomy which has become an important issue in research and innovation, policy making and business in Europe and around the world.

The use of biomass has tremendous growth potential and substantial benefits. Biomass through it diversity is expected to play a major role to contribute to global food supplies but also to energy (heat, electricity, transport), chemicals and materials demand. Biomass, thanks to its essentially renewable nature, is also a key factor in reaching the European climate targets. Lastly almost all the biomass used originates in Europe leading to the development of a local bioeconomy which open opportunities to maintain jobs in rural and coastal areas.

For example, Biomass is by far the main renewable energy source within the EU28 accounting for more than 10% of the gross final energy consumption in 2017 (Source Eurostat) and the use of biomass for the primary energy production of renewables is steadily increasing.

In this promising context, the main issues for the bioeconomy are the sustainable production and efficient conversion of primary biomass and the mobilisation of residual biomass, including waste and by-products, without generating negative impacts on the environment and society. A lot of trade-off exist such as conflicts for land use, intensification of production in agriculture and forestry leading to soil degradation and biodiversity decrease, GHG emissions from the primary production to the resources conversions.

There are also issues related to management of innovation and business models. The transition towards a bioeconomy needs radically new and disruptive innovations, not just incremental. These innovations require new interdisciplinary approaches between a large number of sciences and technologies as well as cooperation between different actors to modify existing organizations and traditional value chains. The adoption of biobased products by final consumers is also challenging.  And last, but not least, the fragmented policies on food safety, CAP, energy, waste treatment…add complexity to the challenge to face.

How to estimate the available biomass? How to improve synergies between agroecology and bioeconomy? How to develop innovation pathways for new carbon neutral technologies? How to improve carbon and nitrogen recyclability? How to promote biobased products?  How to develop tools for decision-making?

I look forward to seeing you soon in Marseille to address all these questions and many others!

I look forward seeing you in Marseille.

Philippe Mauguin

President and CEO INRAE

EUBCE Conference General Chair