News & events

Necessary measures to achieve a level-playing field for bio-based products

20 June

Over the last three years the STAR4BBI project has studied policy and standardization hurdles that bio-based industries face. During the recent stakeholders’ workshop in Cologne, a set of seven measures...

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Major hurdles leading to a lack of level playing field for bio-based industry

24 April

The bio-based industry faces a number of regulatory and standardisation hurdles for market entry. Based on these barriers, a missing level playing field for bio-based products hampers investments in this...

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Biomonitor – Monitoring the Bioeconomy

19 June

Delft, 19 June 2018 On June 7 to 8 the kick-off meeting of the BioMonitor project took place in Brussels. Eighteen European partners coming from public and private research institutions...

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New version of Better Biomass scheme published for sustainable biomass certification

25 April

The updated Better Biomass certification scheme has been published by NEN. This scheme enables certification to the 2nd edition of NTA 8080, the standard including sustainability and chain-of-custody requirements. The...

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Developing standards for bio-based industries

26 March

Standards play a crucial role in supporting the growth of the bio-based products market. They can help to increase market transparency by providing common reference methods and requirements that enable...

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Past events
STAR4BBI Stakeholder Workshop 14th of May 2019 - Assessing Bio-based Product Value Chains

Assessing Bio-based Product Value Chains:
How Better Regulation and Standardisation can Promote a Level Playing Field

14th of May 2019, between 10:00h – 13:45h as a side event of the 12th International Conference on Bio-based Materials

Venue:
Maternushaus
Kardinal-Frings-Str. 1-3
50668 Cologne Germany

Program

10:00 – 10:15 Introduction of the STAR4BBI project
10:15 – 10:30 Presenting the results on market entry barriers and STAR4BBI proposals for elimination of hurdles
10:30 – 11:20 Discussion with the attendants
11:20 – 11:30 Retrospective on the results from a project advisory partner perspective
11:30 – 12:00 Break
12:00 – 12:15 Presenting the results on foresight study of technological trendsSTAR4BBI proposals for future supportive regulatory and standardization framework
12:15 – 13:05 Discussion with the attendants
13:05 – 13:15 Retrospective on the results from a project advisory partner perspective
13:15 – 13:35 Discussion on standards and certification for bio-based industry
13:35 – 13:45 General conclusions and ways forward
13:45 Closing
Third Webinar 15th of January 2019 – Algae and aquatic biomass for use in bio-based products

 

Third webinar: 15th January 2019 from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm
Focus group webinar on algae and aquatic biomass for use in bio-based products (excluding food, feed and energy purposes).

A focus group discussion will be organized with experts in order to discuss existing challenges and solutions linked to the development of emerging innovations in the bio-based economy. This particular focus group will concentrate on algae and aquatic biomass for use in bio-based products (excluding food, feed and energy purposes).

Here we will welcom input on specific products in the market as well as the experiences and thoughts of experts around (hurdles caused by) regulations and policies.

We are happy to have interested parties participating at this webinar.
For registering at the webinar please send your request to Ms. Janire Clavell Diaz: j.clavell@tu-berlin.de

 

STAR4BBI Stakeholder Workshop 23th of October - Improved Standards and Certificates for Bio-based Industries

 

23rd October 2018 – STAR4BBI Stakeholder Workshop on improved Standards and Certificates for Bio-based Industries

Venue: 

CEN-CENELEC Meeting Centre
Rue de la Science 23
B-1040 Brussels
Belgium

For the bio-economy standards have a crucial role to play in supporting the growth of the bio-based products market. In particular, they can help to increase market transparency by providing common reference methods and requirements that enable the verification of claims regarding the bio-based content, bio-degradability or environmental sustainability of different product. At the same time there are standards in place that bring obstacles to (enter) the bio-based economy. During desk research and interviews with companies within the bio-based economy several issues related to standards and certificates in the bio-based economy were identified.

Identified issues are related to the following subjects:

  • Climate test
  • Biodegradability definition in standards
  • Compostability standard: EN 13432
  • Certificates in the building industry
  • Harmonization of FSC/PEFC
  • Cooperation between ASTM-EU

STAR4BBI held a workshop on the 23th of October to evaluate the identified issues with stakeholders. During the workshop, the STAR4BBI project partners received feedback stakeholders concerning these identified issues related to standards and certificates. With the information resulting from the workshop the project partners of STAR4BBI will make proposals to make changes to the standards/certificates with the correct committees.

For interested parties to share their issues concerning standardization of bio-based products please contact STAR4BBI team:

Minique Vrins: Minique.Vrins@nen.nl

Netherlands Standardisation Institute NEN

 

Second webinar 16th October - Focus group webinar on gene editing technologies

 

From the ex-ante analysis executed under the STAR4BBI project, CRISPR related technologies, techniques for the valorisation of lignin into high value products and furan-based chemistry from sugars to produce 2,5 furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), resulted the three most promising technologies/innovations and were defined by the experts as potential drivers of change for the future of the European bioeconomy. However, their capacity for innovation and future development depend on favourable regulatory, standardization and investments conditions. Two focus group webinars were organized to learn from experts about the regulatory and standardization issues of these industries.

16th October 2018 from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm

A focus group was organized to discuss regulatory issues of gene-editing techniques. The aim was to collect the view of experts on the new decision of the EU Court of Justice (ECJ) on the 25th of July 2018, where it was decided that organisms obtained by mutagenesis are GMOs within the meaning of the GMO Directive, in so far as the techniques and methods of mutagenesis alter the genetic material of an organism in a way that does not occur naturally. Furthermore, existing and potential future challenges that could prevent the fully deployment of these technologies was discussed.

The results obtained in the webinar will be used in the upcoming deliverables of the project for designing suggestions and recommendations towards the establishment of a supportive and investment-friendly regulatory and standardization framework that enables a further/full deployment of these technologies and innovations.

For interested parties to share their issues on regulative and standardization issues concerning gene-editing methods, valorization of lignin and furan-chemistry technologies, please contact STAR4BBI team:

Luana Ladu: luana.ladu@tu-berlin.de
Janire Clavell:  j.clavell@tu-berlin.de
Technische Universität Berlin

 

First webinar 30th of July - Focus group webinar on valorization of lignin and furan-chemistry technologies from sugars to produce FDCA

 

From the ex-ante analysis executed under the STAR4BBI project, CRISPR related technologies, techniques for the valorisation of lignin into high value products and furan-based chemistry from sugars to produce 2,5 furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), resulted the three most promising technologies/innovations and were defined by the experts as potential drivers of change for the future of the European bioeconomy. However, their capacity for innovation and future development depend on favourable regulatory, standardization and investments conditions. Two focus group webinars were organized to learn from experts about the regulatory and standardization issues of these industries.

30th of July from 10:00h to 12:00h

The aim of this focus-group event was to discuss existing challenges that are hampering the fully deployment of the potential and opportunities of these two innovations: valorization of lignin and furan-chemistry technologies from sugars to produce FDCA.

For interested parties to share their issues on regulative and standardization issues concerning gene-editing methods, please contact STAR4BBI team:

 

Press releases
26th of March 2019 - Developing standards for bio-based industries

Standards play a crucial role in supporting the growth of the bio-based products market. They can help to increase market transparency by providing common reference methods and requirements that enable the verification of claims and certification regarding the bio-based content, biodegradability or environmental sustainability of different products. However, inadequate standards can also act as barriers for certain products. So, what are the current EU standards or other related issues that hamper the growth of bio-based products? The EU funded STAR4BBI project has analysed these barriers and proposed actions towards overcoming these.

During the desk research as well as interviews with industry, several issues related to standards and certificates in the bio-based industry were identified. The STAR4BBI project carried out a workshop to discuss a long list of the issues with the participants from the industry, associations, certification bodies, test houses and the European Commission. Considering the feedback received from the participants of the workshop and the urgency of the issues presented by them, STAR4BBI project partners will focus on drafting solutions for the following three issues:

Non-functional specifications

For many years, standards have been developed to evaluate the characteristics of materials to demonstrate their fitness for purpose whereas it would be more appropriate to evaluate the functionality of materials or products on the requirements of the application. For bio-based products to demonstrate their fitness for purpose they must comply with tests based upon these standards. An example of such standards that are applicable in the bio-based industry are climate tests, which ensure that the product is fit to various environmental conditions while it is being shipped. The conditions for these climate tests are however not based upon actual transportation situations and are not representative for real life situations. For instance, a climate test has been developed for fossil-based products, considering that plastic is 100% resistant to relative humidity, which is never the actual environment. Bio-based products sometimes have the challenge of not passing this test due to their hydrophilic nature, whereas they meet all real requirements for the application.

Compostability (EN 13432)

The specific conditions for compostability are described in standards, such as the European standard on industrial composting EN 13432. The standard sets requirements for the rate of biodegradation (min. 90% to be broken down to CO2 within six months at 58°C +/- 2°C), disintegration, chemical composition and quality of compost. The general opinion is that when the characteristics of bio-based plastics are in line with the EN 13432 standard, they can be composted by industrial composters without complications. However, composters on the other hand run composting installations in less time that the described 12 weeks. The Dutch Waste Management Association (VA) states that composting time is around 2-3 weeks. At some composting installations the composting time is even shorter: between 5 and 18 days. This results in bio-based products producers developing their materials to co comply with EN 13432 standard, whilst their product is not accepted by industrial composters.

Double testing

When products cross borders, sometimes testing needs to be performed to guarantee national or regional safety requirements. Private parties in different countries may also request certain safety requirements compliance. Usually, these compliance tests are based on the same standards as in the “home” country. In practise this often comes down to performing the same or similar tests on products twice. The costs of these tests are in most cases covered by the producer. “Double” testing is costly as well as time consuming. Although, this is not a barrier only limited to bio-based products but also applies to non-bio-based products, bio-based product producers are usually not multinationals. The costs of testing are relatively high for smaller companies that enter a new market.

To deal with the identified issues, the responsible CEN, ISO or ASTM committees will be identified and contacted. In case the project partners do not have direct influence on the responsible CEN or ISO committees, “Industry champions” will be identified to propose the amendments to the standards to the technical committees.

24th of April 2019 - Major hurdles leading to a lackof level playing field for bio-based industry

The bio-based industry faces a number of regulatory and standardisation hurdles for market entry. Based on these barriers, a missing level playing field for bio-based products hampers investments in this industry, which limits the chance of future technological developments and innovations to mature and enter the market at commercial scales. Five main themes have been studied for several product value chains and first conclusions are drawn in a public EU research report.

Full press release

20th of June 2019 - Necessary measures to achieve a level-playing field for bio-based products
20 June

Over the last three years the STAR4BBI project has studied policy and standardization hurdles that bio-based industries face. During the recent stakeholders’ workshop in Cologne, a set of seven measures to achieve better policy and standards for bio-based industries had been concluded. These will be shared with the EC and industry associations via a soon to be produced report.

The EU funded STAR4BBI project has analysed the policy and standardization hurdles by collecting information from literature and several full product value chains. The partners have developed a set of proposals to legislators and industry to tackle these issues. At the concluding workshop, insights and feedback was provided by industry representatives, standards’ experts and policy makers via interactive table discussions. These helped to confirm and refine the following seven proposals:

  1. Develop an EU Renewable Materials Directive similar to the one existing for biofuels and bioenergy
  2. Develop sustainability certification of all products under the EU Ecolabel and the CEN standard EN 16751
  3. Implement a carbon tax at EU level
  4. Regulate at EU and municipal level the design of products and their end-of-life possibilities
  5. Update the EU Waste Framework Directive with a harmonized definition of end-of-waste and align it with the Circular Economy Package
  6. Make use of compostable plastic mandatory for certain products in order to assist consumers.
  7. Update the GMO definition in Directive 2001/18/EC based on the Cartagena Protocol

All these proposals will be presented to the EU policy makers as final results of STAR4BBI. For the public, these results will be available from September 2019, on the project website at the following address: www.biobasedeconomy.eu/projects/star4bbi/

STAR4BBI is an EU funded project focusing on Standards and Regulations for the Bio-based Industry. The project has started on September 2016 with the duration of 36 months. It is led by the Netherlands Standardisation Institute NEN and comprises the consortium members nova-Institute, TU Berlin and Wageningen University.

The project is funded from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 720685.

Responsible for the content under German press law (V.i.S.d.P.):
Dipl.-Phys. Michael Carus (Managing Director)
nova-Institut GmbH, Chemiepark Knapsack, Industriestraße 300, DE-50354 Hürth (Germany)

Internet: www.nova-institute.eu – all services and studies at www.bio-based.eu
Email: contact@nova-institut.de
Phone: +49 (0) 22 33-48 14 40

nova-Institute is a private and independent research institute, founded in 1994; nova offers research and consultancy with a focus on bio-based and CO2-based economy in the fields of food and feedstock, techno-economic evaluation, markets, sustainability, dissemination, B2B communication and policy. Every year, nova organises several large conferences on these topics; nova-Institute has 30 employees and an annual turnover of more than 3 million €.

15th of November 2018 - Horizontal standards to deliver a better integration and support to bio-based industry

 

How can standards support the full deployment of innovation in the bio-based industry? Standards are used in all parts of the bio-based product market. Their application is specific to a product or an application and can differ from sector or value chain where it is applied.

As part of the work of the STAR4BBI research project an investigation was undertaken to determine concepts that could be laid down in standards at a more general or broader level. The work looked into possibilities to apply product specific test standards, certifications and labels on a more horizontal level through the so – called horizontal standards. Several aspects have been identified that create hurdles that currently prevent a better integration of the bio-based industry across boundaries. Interested parties are invited to comment and assist the project in achieving this objective for better integration and support to CEN in the industrial applicability and use of existing standards is sought.

For this purpose, a broad desk research and follow-up by gathering inputs from academic articles, conferences, developed standards in the bio-based industry and interviews with industry was carried out. This resulted in the following identified aspects:

  • Terminology
    • A common language across the value chain is of major importance. CEN/TC 411 has delivered a standard on common terminology (EN 16575). Although interviewees confirmed that they do not use the terminology set by EN 16575 and they have not experienced any communication problems, the research shows that consumers are sometimes confused when talking about bio-based products. Does it mean that the products are biodegradable? Does it mean that these are sustainable? Or does it mean that products are compostable? The different certificates for the characteristics are not always clear to consumers.
  • Test methods/Sampling
    • Bio-based content: It is essential to characterize the amount of biomass contained in the product by, for instance, its bio-based content or bio-based carbon content. However, it is important to note that bio-based content of a product does not provide information on its environmental impact or sustainability, which may be assessed through LCA and sustainability criteria. The carbon content was usually defined according to the US/international standard method ASTM D-6866. However, Europe has developed its own standards to determine the bio-based content of a product. Both work in the legal and policy environment that they are developed for, but when internationally traded one needs to be cautious about product claims, as the different tests of these standards result in different bio-based content of a product.
    • Standards developed for fossil-based products, applied for bio-based productsIt is challenging when requirements in standards/regulations that have been developed for fossil-based products are applied for bio-based products. Main challenges are related to “proving” that bio-based materials are equivalent to traditional materials. As a result in some cases these bio-based materials having different functionalities do not pass the tests. Furthermore, additional advantages of bio-based products are not always included in the standard.
  • B2B and B2C communication/ Labelling
    • B2B and B2C communication: The term “biomass-based” or “bio-based” refers to the origin of the raw material. The prefix “bio” can refer to different functionalities (biodegradable, biocompatible, etc.) or their origin (their origin (plant based and/or produced by biotechnological processes). As all these aspects are part of a bio-based product and are to be communicated to customers, for this reason, CEN/TC 411 has developed two standards, one for the business-to-consumer (B2C) and one for the business-to-business (B2B) communication. However, when conducting the interviews with companies operating in bio-based industries, the interviewees reported that they are unaware of the existing standards.
    • Labelling/certificationOver the last years many certification schemes have been developed by NGOs, authorities or certification bodies to help consumers, manufacturers, distributers, traders to choose the right products for their purpose. As a result, the market contains many different and sometimes overlapping certificates. Several of these certification schemes are only required (or used) in particular regions (or sectors). Performing business in these regions means that the products need to be certified by these specific schemes. When a company operates in different regions this results in the need of multiple certificates that are more or less similar and creates significant costs without adding significant value.
  • Sustainability criteria/ Origin of Biomass / LCA
    • According to the European Commission, for biomass to be effective at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it must be produced in a sustainable way. Biomass production involves a chain of activities ranging from the growing of feedstock via products to final energy conversion at end of life. Each step along the way can pose different sustainability challenges that need to be managed. According to the interviewees clear sustainability criteria are however missing; there is a lot of conflicting information around. What is sustainable is defined differently by governments, institutions, organizations.

In the following work packages of STAR4BBI project, proposals to alternative standards will be developed for improving the horizontal aspects identified in this report. An implementation plan will be created for new or revised standards suggested.

Contact:
Minique Vrins
Netherlands Standardisation Institute NEN
Email: energy@nen.nl
Tel: +31 (0) 15 26 90 326
www.biobasedeconomy.eu/projects/star4bbi/

Responsible for the content under German press law (V.i.S.d.P.):
Dipl.-Phys. Michael Carus (Managing Director)
nova-Institut GmbH, Chemiepark Knapsack, Industriestraße 300, DE-50354 Hürth (Germany)
Internet: www.nova-institute.eu – all services and studies at www.bio-based.eu
Email: contact@nova-institut.de
Phone: +49 (0) 22 33-48 14 40

nova-Institute is a private and independent research institute, founded in 1994; nova offers research and consultancy with a focus on bio-based and CO2-based economy in the fields of food and feedstock, techno-economic evaluation, markets, sustainability, dissemination, B2B communication and policy. Every year, nova organises several large conferences on these topics; nova-Institute has 30 employees and an annual turnover of more than 2.5 million €.

Get the latest news from nova-Institute, subscribe at www.bio-based.eu/email

 

3rd of December 2018 - Common language across the value chains of bio-based products – where are the real challenges?

Terminology and common language used across the whole value chains from farmer to consumer is of major importance to facilitate the market uptake of bio-based products. The study carried out within the EU funded project STAR4BBI concludes that challenges are related to misuses of terms and to the lack of knowledge of characteristics of bio-based products. The need for additional standardisation of terms is not perceived as a challenge. Interested parties, such as producers and users of bio-based products are welcome to contact STAR4BBI team for questions and requests.

To facilitate the market uptake of bio-based products, it is important to clearly communicate their benefits to all parties that have a stake in either manufacturing, use or disposal, including producers, distributors, users and consumers, public authorities, NGOs, universities and schools. It is of major importance to have a common language for all these stakeholders to effectively communicate the benefits of bio-based products.

The above mentioned terms are widely used in the bio-based economy. Most of these terms are product characteristics that are communicated at various points in the value chain. Very often these terms are not fully understood by the users, or may have more than one meaning, hence they can cause confusion in relation to the underlying bio-based product. An example of a term that has a double meaning is the seemingly simple term ‘bioplastics’. Often it refers to plastics made from biomass, but it is also being used as a synonym for biodegradable plastic. When the same term is used for different characteristics of products it causes confusion on the market. Misunderstandings of terms can halter the growth of the bio-based economy as this unclarity on specifications of products can influence the decisions taken by companies and ultimately consumers to make the switch to these materials.

The Expert Group on Bio-Based Products (BBP-EG), which advised the European Commission on the development of bio-economy sector, underwrites the importance of clear terminology and communication in their final report (November 2017)[1].

The EU funded project “Standards and Regulations for the Bio-based Industry STAR4BBI” has analysed the vocabulary used across the value chains to identify terminology challenges and issues in the bio-based economy that could be solved via standardization. However, the study showed, that the existing terminology standard (EN 16575:2014 Bio-based products – Vocabulary) is not widely used and that adding additional terms to this standard is not the solution to the current miscommunication in the market. This was confirmed by the experts in the European Standardization Committee on Bio-based products, CEN/TC 411.

Nevertheless, there were other challenges that were identified during the interviews and the desk study:

 

 

The study carried out has concluded that there are two main challenges in the current bio-based market around terminology: Terms that are being used with no-singular meaning and existing unclarity on the meaning of characteristics of bio-based products. CEN will be asked to consider appropriate action.

The issue of limited consumers/user awareness on bio-based products’ characteristics/terms is a challenge but this is not solved with further standardization of terms. Stimulating further communication is considered a priority at this moment.

Contact:
Minique Vrins
STAR4BBI Work package Co-ordinator
Netherlands Standardisation Institute NEN
Email: energy@nen.nl
Tel: +31 (0) 15 26 90 326
www.biobasedeconomy.eu/projects/star4bbi/

Responsible for the content under German press law (V.i.S.d.P.):
Dipl.-Phys. Michael Carus (Managing Director)
nova-Institut GmbH, Chemiepark Knapsack, Industriestraße 300, DE-50354 Hürth (Germany)
Internet: www.nova-institute.eu – all services and studies at www.bio-based.eu
Email: contact@nova-institut.de
Phone: +49 (0) 22 33-48 14 40

nova-Institute is a private and independent research institute, founded in 1994; nova offers research and consultancy with a focus on bio-based and CO2-based economy in the fields of food and feedstock, techno-economic evaluation, markets, sustainability, dissemination, B2B communication and policy. Every year, nova organises several large conferences on these topics; nova-Institute has 30 employees and an annual turnover of more than 2.5 million €.

Get the latest news from nova-Institute, subscribe at www.bio-based.eu/email

[1]

This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 720685.

 

This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 720685.