Press Release 26 January 2016

«SEEMLA»

Sustainable exploitation of biomass for bioenergy from marginal lands.

The main objective of the H2020 funded EU project SEEMLA (acronym for “Sustainable exploitation of biomass for bioenergy from marginal lands”) is the establishment of suitable innovative land-use strategies for a sustainable production of plant-based energy on marginal lands while improving general ecosystem services. The use of marginal lands (MagL) could contribute to the mitigation of the fast growing competition between traditional food production and production of renewable bio-resources on arable lands.

The project will focus on three main objectives: 

  1. the promotion of re-conversion of MagLs for the production of bioenergy through the direct involvement of farmers and forester

  2. the strengthening of local small-scale supply chains

  3. the promotion of plantations of bioenergy plants on MagLs

 

Hence, SEEMLA will involve farmers and foresters directly to the process, in order to minimize conflict potentials with traditional agriculture, and will contribute to building up small-scale supply chains for biomass local sites. This will lead to increasing the production of bioenergy, farmers’ incomes, investments in new technologies and the design of new policy measures. An essential part of the project is ensuring the environmental and socio-economic sustainability of the foreseen actions: impacts on biodiversity, fauna, flora, soil and water will be analyzed by a life cycle assessment (LCA), as well as strategies, policy guidelines and handbooks will be elaborated. 

The project is coordinated by the FNR, the Agency for Renewable Resources (Germany), and partners are: IFEU – Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (Germany), BTU – Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg (Germany), Democritus University of Thrace (Greece), Decentralized Administration of Macedonia & Thrace (Greece), IBC-SB Institute of Bioenergy Crops and Sugar Beet of the National Academy of Agrarian Sciences (Ukraine), SALIX – Salix Energy Ltd. (Ukraine), and Legambiente Onlus (Italy). The project has a duration of three years from January 2016 till December 2018.

Has been launched in Bruxelles at the end of January, the project for the sustainable exploitation of biomass for bioenergy from marginal lands, whose acronym is SEEMLA. The Horizon 2020 funded project puts together eight partners from Germany, Ukraine, Greece and Italy and it will last until December 2018. Three years that will be focused on the reliable and sustainable exploitation of biomass from marginal lands (MagL), which are used neither for food nor feed production and are not posing an environmental threat. The fast growing competition between traditional food production and production of renewable bio-resources on arable land has been identified as one central problem of bio-economy strategies indeed. SEEMLA aims at overcoming this conflict by using marginal land sites that are widely available in the EU. For this reason, first challenge of the SEEMLA project is to assess good practices and refine current practices, making them more sustainable, in terms of environmental, economic, social issues.

 

The innovative land-use strategies will be tested in four pilot areas in Germany, Ukraine and Greece.

 

The project team is balanced between scientific and technical partners as well as national and regional organisations: the Agency for Renewable Resources (FNR, Germany), the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (Germany), the Brandenburg University of Technology (Germany), Legambiente Onlus (Italy), Democritus University of Thrace (Greece), the Decentralized Administration of Macedonia and Thrace (Greece), the Institute of Bioenergy Crops and Sugar Beet of the National Academy of Agrarian Sciences (Ukraine) and SALIX Energy Ltd. (Ukraine).

 

The second SEEMLA project meeting was held on 22 and 23 June in Cottbus, Germany, hosted by the Brandenburg Technical University Cottbus-Senftenberg. On the first day of the internal event, the consortium discussed about the implementation of the actions and upcoming tasks. In particular, the discussion focused on a clear definition of MagL to be used for selecting sites generally considered as suitable for the SEEMLA approach. In fact, the action related to “Understanding Marginal Lands – concept, indicator selection, evaluation criteria“ is taken into account several issues: the criteria to define a MagL; the soil indicators in respect of bioenergy crops growing; a classification of MagL and a database of MagL across Europe. 

On the second day the consortium visited the pilot case sites of the BTU on which the assessmentof sustainable (environmental, economic, and social) marginal land use will be developed and investigated. 

The basic aim of the SEEMLA project is to provide a complete analysis of the socio-economic performance and the environmental implications of both the general MagL use options and thespecific SEEMLA case study sites. 

The next SEEMLA project meeting will be in Italy (Rome) in November, 2016.