Public Deliverables

STAR-ProBio public deliverables:

Summary. This report details the methodology employed in order to identify, select and map exemplary bio-based value chains for further analysis within the STAR-ProBio project.  In order to determine their strengths, weaknesses, costs and benefits, a long-list of bio-based value chains was subjected to a systematic review of their promise with regards to a two-tiered set of criteria.  Tier 1 covered analysis of feedstock variability, multi-regional supply chain, a variety of end-of-life options, gaps in sustainability schemes, EU preference feedstock, multi-sector application and potential for growth, and Tier 2 examined their relevance to target feedstock and technology preferences of EU-based bio-economy initiatives and other relevant sustainability schemes.  The final resulting 4 bio-based values chains were mapped fully at each supply chain stage for visualisation of system dynamics, interconnections, chain actors, employed conversion routes, and existing/potential end-of-life options. These maps are made available in the report.

  • Deliverable D2.1: Report summarizing the findings of the literature review on environmental indicators related to bio-based products

Summary. This report reviews 83 scientific articles assessing bio-based products of relevance in the framework of the STAR-ProBio project (i.e. excluding biofuel, feed and food). The review presents in quantitative terms the environmental indicators used by this sample of literature, grouped by “clusters”, which are groups of similar indicators. These clusters are largely in line with those recommended by the key literature sources, such as the PEFCR guidance or the EN16751 norm.  However, although the indicators belonging to ‘Water availability’, ‘Land use’ and ‘Ecosystem quality’ clusters are considered highly relevant by the key literature, they are not used in the reviewed scientific articles as frequently as they should. Additionally, the impacts of wastes are not particularly addressed neither by the reviewed articles nor by the key literature sources, mostly because of the lack of methodology for the assessment of the risk that the presence of plastic in the environment represents.

  • Deliverable D2.2: Selection of environmental indicators and impact categories for the life cycle assessment of bio-based products

Summary. This report describes an environmental life cycle assessment (E-LCA) methodology developed by STAR-ProBio for biobased products that is based on selected relevant life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) methodologies and their respective environmental indicators. The chosen hierarchical assessment criteria for selection of the methodologies were defined as 1) ability be used for comparing bio-based materials amongst themselves and for comparing bio-based materials against conventional petrochemical products, 2) Scientific relevance, 3) Political and social priority, 4) Reliability and robustness, 5) Representativeness and 6) Stakeholder and market perception. A final set of 11 indicators and associated models are recommended to be used for the environmental assessment of bio-based materials and be tested through the STAR-ProBio case studies.

  • Deliverable D2.3: Life cycle inventory of feedstock production and upstream processing

Summary. This report has a three-fold perspective: 1) to assess the life cycle inventory (LCI) of upstream processes; 2) to show preliminary results of life cycle impact (LCIA) assessment and 3) to apply the hybridized indicators, assessed in the Deliverable 3.1 (WP3), for upstream processes. The uppermost purpose of this study is to summarize the LCI of feedstock production and upstream processing for sugar beet pulp, maize grain and maize stover and model sugar production. Sugars, such as glucose and xylose, are fermentable feedstocks capable of producing a variety of bio-products, such as polylactic acid (PLA) and polybutylene succinate (PBS). Maize grain is a starch-rich crop, easily broken down into glucose by enzymatic hydrolysis. Also, sugar beet pulp and maize stover are rich in ligno-hemicellulose, which can also be converted into a mixture of sugars (glucose, xylose, arabinose, galactose…) by enzymatic hydrolysis. However, it is necessary to carry out a pretreatment process to break the ligno-hemicellulosic polymers.

The materials and energy flows for maize and sugar beet agricultural activities and maize processing were gathered from literature and databases. Data for the pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis processes of the lignocellulose-rich maize stover and sugar beet pulp were designed and modelled by our AUA partners. 20 different fermentable sugar scenarios were considered, including 10 for maize grain, 4 for maize stover and 6 for sugar beet pulp. Although this study represents the life cycle inventory phase, it was decided to include and anticipate some preliminary LCIA results only for two agricultural systems, considering some of the environmental impact categories proposed in Deliverable 2.2. Among the hybrid indicators, four were applied for upstream processes: hazardous chemical use, feedstock efficiency, waste factor and energy efficiency.

  • Deliverable D3.2: Assessing Sustainability of Managed End-of-life Options for Bio-based Products in a Circular Economy

Summary. This report describes the development of an environmental impact assessment framework dedicated to evaluating the sustainability characteristics of managed end-of-life routes relevant to bio-based products. This environmental assessment framework was developed in coherence with the recommendations made within the Product Environmental Footprint guidance which in turn complies with the ISO14040 and EN16760 standards for life cycle assessment (LCA) of products. The framework consists of a set of LCA impact indicators and novel, non-LCA ‘hybridised’ indicators which were developed based on the combination of principles of resource efficiency and green chemistry.

The aim of this extended framework is to quantify and highlight the use of potentially hazardous chemicals, describe effective resource utilisation and waste reduction strategies employed in given technology routes, alongside reporting the impacts and credits associated to resource production and consumption during the management of post-consumer products. In addition to these indicators, science-based relative thresholds have been proposed. These thresholds were developed based on the qualitative guidance presented within global initiatives and goals including the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Agreement. Nevertheless, this study does recommend the use of subjective thresholds based on consensus reached with a broad range of stakeholders.

To test the effectiveness of the framework, the developed methods and metrics were adopted for a follow-on environmental impact evaluation and applied to the end-of-life management of the selected bio-based products and their petroleum-derived commercial counterparts. As many managed end-of-life options as practical were captured within this study, following the guidance provided under CEN/TR/16957 for developing end-of-life inventory for bio-based products. The outcomes of this method evaluation, its strengths and limitations have been elaborated within this report.

  • Deliverable D5.1: Acceptance factors among consumers and businesses for bio-based sustainability schemes

Summary. The emergence of the bioeconomy is an important result of the need for a more sustainable economy for the 21st century. However, achieving the paradigm shift from the established fossil-based economy toward a bio-based economy is an ambitious goal. To accelerate the shift, consumers need to understand how and where scientifically proven “sustainability” outputs are available. This will allow sustainability to become a successful market driver. The present study focuses on the market assessment of bio-based products, to gain insight into which sustainability aspects are important to stakeholders. It summarizes the results of different foresight methods, including a two-round Delphi survey, to identify sustainably assessment preferences of end-consumers and professionals and their influence on buying decisions. The results show that both private individuals and professionals consider a broad spectrum of criteria important for sustainability. Being able to prove and communicate that sustainability criteria are met will be a key acceptance driver for bio-based products.

Summary. Efforts to promote a sustainable bioeconomy seek to enable markets that create value from renewable resources while satisfying sustainability requirements. Despite recent progress in several European countries in launching strategies to support a bioeconomy, market demand for bio-based products remains moderate. More analysis is required to better understand the drivers and barriers for enabling consumer demand for bio-based products, in particular as this relates to consumers’ sustainability concerns. A previous report developed within the scope of the STAR-ProBio project has presented the results of two rounds of a Delphi survey aimed at better understanding the sustainability preferences of procurement professionals and end consumers. Building on these results, the following tasks were completed: a third and final round of the Delphi survey was conducted with procurement professionals and a framed field experiment was conducted with end consumers to identify their willingness to pay a premium for different types of bio-based products with and without sustainability certification. This report presents the results from these tasks. In particular, it covers findings on the following: i) the relevance of information on final disposal and ii) preferences regarding information on the bio-based raw materials used, including questions related to the share and origin of bio-based raw materials and the form in which this information is communicated. In addition, the report discusses survey results on sustainability principles and potential policy options to promote the demand for bio-based products. The field experiment conducted on three products, i.e. coloured pens, hand soap and food storage bags shows that on average end consumers assign a higher price for bio-based products than conventional ones.

  • Deliverable D6.3: Criteria and indicators developed for conducting S-LCA social impact assessment

Summary. The objective of Deliverable 6.3 is to summarise the work performed in Task 6.3 regarding the selection of the most important impact subcategories for the social analysis of these products and the development of a specific methodology to measure them. In order to select the relevant impact subcategories to be included in the analysis, an extensive literature review was conducted (as part of Task 6.1), different workshops were organized (as part of Task 6.2) and questionnaires were distributed to stakeholders. Considering the final list of subcategories, a simple, flexible and practical methodology was developed and adapted to analyse the social performance of bio-products. As reflected in this report, the methodology considers the five categories of stakeholders: workers, consumers, local community, general society and value chain actors and uses quantitative, semi-quantitative and qualitative indicators. Finally, it provides a final score that embodies the overall social performance of the production of a specific bio-product.

  • Deliverable 6.4: Report on end-of-life social and socio-economic assessment

Summary. End of Life (EoL) management represents a great challenge to develop new opportunities towards sustainability. Indeed, international institutions, organizations, academics, researchers and practitioners highlighted the importance of EoL management, since it is associated with relevant environmental, social and economic impacts. Yet, the appraisal of EoL alternatives represents a particularly complex task to address due to the difficulties arising from the assessment of social and economic key-criteria. In this regard, several gaps related to bio-based products have been stressed by the literature, especially with reference to socio-economic indicators. This report focuses on the existing EoL options with the aim of identifying key community priorities for sustainable EoL management of bio-based products. This is achieved by developing a win-win asset-based model that has been tested on a selected case study, i.e. Poly Lactic Acid (PLA)-based packaging film. The results show that recycling (both mechanical and chemical) is the best EoL option for the considered product.

Summary. The objective of Deliverable 6.5 is to summarise the work performed in Task 6.5 regarding the actions to promote social acceptance. This report describes the work performed by USC and UNITELMA regarding Task 6.5 (actions to promote social acceptance). Given that STAR- ProBio activities should be made publicly available in various way (i.e. websites, patents, archives, etc.) in order to boost social acceptance, this report summarises the actions taken to complete this task. Social acceptance is stimulated through the development of promotional materials for different audiences. A good communicative strategy is crucial to ensuring that the message is properly received by different stakeholders.

  • Deliverable D7.1: Examination of existing iLUC approaches and their application to bio-based materials

Summary. The STAR-ProBio project aims to identify and mitigate the risks of negative Land Use Change (LUC) effects associated with the production routes of biobased products.  This report details the initial steps in this process which were firstly to assess the status quo and key findings of existing approaches to quantify GHG emissions due to dLUC (direct Land Use Change) and iLUC (indirect Land Use Change) in order to identify, categorise and structure the key drivers and parameters for future strategies to reduce iLUC risks in a developing bioeconomy.  The capacity of existing models to cover bio-based materials was then assessed, and links between the key drivers for iLUC and standardisation work related to the sustainability of biofuels and biomaterials were also identified. The outcome of this research has been used to identify specific risk factors that control land expansion (intensive margin, land suitability, co-products, demand elasticity, export – trade elasticity, trade share, supply elasticity) and establish the initial outline of a conceptual model to account for iLUC using a risk-based approach that will be developed further within the STAR-ProBio project.

Summary. Land use change effects induced by policies for the promotion of bio-based products have become one of the most important aspects for the development of a sustainable bioeconomy policy framework. The topic has first become relevant because of biofuel policies introduced by different countries and regions on a global level. Recent adaptations in EU biofuel policies have shown a diversification of strategies regarding iLUC mitigation and the general reduction of potentially negative impacts from EU biofuel policy targets. The recently passed recast of the EU renewable energy directive (RED 2) introduces a differentiation between high and low iLUC risk biomass as well as biomass and biofuels from “additionality” measures, which are also considered as low iLUC risk. A meaningful implementation of this concept into the policy framework for biofuels or even the EU bioeconomy requires appropriate and robust tools, which can be used to make the necessary differentiations regarding iLUC risks and can verify potential claims for low iLUC or additional biomass. Furthermore, it seems important to constantly monitor the effects of the RED 2 framework including, different elements for the differentiation and promotion of biomass and biofuels according to their iLUC risk. STAR-ProBio WP 7 is contributing to this general development, by providing a risk assessment tool, which can be used to support low iLUC risk certification, as well as the development of iLUC mitigation strategies on a producer level. This tool could be integrated in certification schemes and modules for low iLUC risk certification. Furthermore, producers of biomass or bio-based products can use it to understand the potential impact of possible additionality measures on their specific iLUC risk. Based on the outcome of this assessment, a producer might develop strategies regarding the selection and implementation of additional measures into their operation. This report summarises the solutions for low iLUC risk certification developed by STAR-ProBio WP7.

  • Deliverable D8.1: Recommendations concerning current sustainability standards associated with bio-based products and amendments to current standards of bio-based products

Summary. This report describes the outcome of WP8.1-3 given the main results from WP1-7. It provides a review of the current sustainability standards associated with bio-based products as the output of T8.1 and amendments to current standards of bio-based products as output of T8.2 and T8.3. The identified gaps in sustainability schemes were the basis for a SWOT/PESTEL analysis and led to the identification of potential performance indicators grouped according to adequate sustainability domains. The results were discussed in the context of a general certification scheme organized into principles, criteria and indicators for the three pillars of sustainability; the elaboration of the results also comprised the operationalisation of the indicators, benchmarking and guidance to identify a reference product, feasibility of sustainability thresholds as well as communication of environmental aspects. The STAR-ProBio consortium agreed to prepare a blueprint of the Sustainability Assessment Tracking/Tool of bio-based products called SAT-ProBio. Such a blueprint capitalizes on current standards and with respect to these includes additional and revised principles, criteria and indicators. The sustainability scheme blueprint to be developed in the STAR-ProBio project, will be proceeded in the process of CEN Workshop Agreement (CWA). It will include a list of aspects and related technical requirements to provide sustainability of bio-based products. Therefore, this blueprint can be considered as an overarching umbrella, describing sustainability principles, criteria and indicators as well as the methodological background for their application. For the future STAR- ProBio activities two internal draft documents were elaborated: “The Scoping Paper” and CWA- related “The Project Plan”. The scoping paper provides methodical background on combining the STAR-ProBio results into the sustainability assessment framework of SAT-ProBio with the three components: (1) Technical requirement for the assessment of bio-based products (CWA), 2) Guidelines for a certification scheme based on the proposed framework (Rules of game), and 3) Application of the proposed certification scheme to bio-based case studies (Product Category Rules). The Project Plan for the CEN or CENELEC Workshop on“Sustainability qualification framework for bio-based products” under the acronym: SAT- ProBio, provides detailed information on the assumed procedure. The CWA lays down sustainability principles, criteria and indicators for bio-based products and the standard describes a methodological framework for qualifying the sustainability of bio-based products. It will be based both on CEN/TC 411 work and the work of the STAR-ProBio consortium.

  • Deliverable D9.1: Comprehensive overview of existing regulatory and voluntary frameworks on sustainability assessment

Summary. This report aims to show potential policy gaps with regard to the establishment of a sustainable bio-economy and to develop recommendations to bridge these gaps based on STAR ProBio results. Therefore policies, strategies and legislative documents from EU member states and the European Union, potentially affecting or promoting sustainability assessment and certification were investigated. Furthermore, results of ongoing and finalized projects within the research area were incorporated in this task and a mapping of the SDGs with the results of the analysis of policy documents was conducted in order to assess links between the SDGs and sustainability requirements given in the policy documents of the analysed sample. The investigation showed that, currently, no coherent and comprehensive framework exists for the EU bio-economy. Instead, many different types of policies with different scope and degree of detail are available. There is a lack of measurable targets within the policies. Certification was found to be an accepted instrument for the assessment of sustainability. The focus of requirements included in the policy framework is on environmental sustainability, while economic and social aspects are less represented.

  • Deliverable D9.2: Recommendations for standards and criteria for eco-labels for bio-based products

Summary. The European Bioeconomy Strategy aims at achieving an innovative, resilient and low carbon economy that replaces fossil raw materials with biological ones, promoting resource efficiency and contributing to a more sustainable economy. Bio-based industries are aware of the need to create trust in bio-based products by implementing suitable measures to support their market uptake and by providing consumers with appropriate information on their characteristics. Eco-labels offer great opportunities to provide such consumer information, and in this report, a list of key eco-label criteria and standardisation options for selected case studies have been considered and analysed. Based on four case studies, the report provides a number of recommendations, which also address broader public policy and existing regulations and mechanisms. They also highlight the need to update other independent mechanisms and labels.

  • Deliverable D9.4: Potential links to BE monitoring activities and their support by STAR-ProBio results

Summary. The STAR-ProBio project aims to assist stakeholders of the European Bioeconomy with tools, appropriate for the sustainability assessment of biobased products. In that sense, products from STAR-ProBio can be integrated into different activities, supporting for example sustainability certification and standardisation.

The growth of the EU Bioeconomy is closely and critically observed by civil society. Concerns about sustainability and “bad examples” from previous projects in different sectors of the Bioeconomy (e.g. from the Biofuels sector) have raised the awareness, that strategies for a growing bioeconomy have to be monitored and accompanied by appropriate instruments. Thus, several institutions on EU level have started activities to monitor the development of the bioeconomy or single bioeconomy sectors as well as the potential impacts of Bioeconomy policies. While this general development is progressing, it might be necessary to combine elements from the different sectors of the Bioeconomy in order to develop efficient structures for effective monitoring instruments, which can help to understand the impact of Bioeconomy policies and their future development. An obvious example, which will be the main object of investigation in this report, is the combination of data and information from sustainability certification with Bioeconomy monitoring activities.

We have analysed current activities for a monitoring of the Bioeconomy and its sectors and discussed the potential contribution with data from sustainability certification, which can be considered a growing activity in the EU Bioeconomy. This analysis has revealed a huge potential of useful data from certification activities, which could potentially support Bioeconomy monitoring in the future, when the overall share of certified biomass has increased and more, centralistic database structures would be established.

Summary. This report outlines activities undertaken to effectively share information and make available future project outputs such as sustainability assessment tools, examples and case studies which will be developed throughout the lifetime of the project.

Summary. Projects participating in the Horizon 2020 Open Research Data Pilot are required to deliver and regularly update a Data Management Plan (DMP), with the aim of improving and maximising access to and re-use of research data generated by Horizon 2020 projects. This document fulfils this requirement and aims to provide the STAR-ProBio consortium members with a harmonised approach and guidance to data management. The DMP is intended to be a living document in which information can be made available on a finer level of granularity through updates as the implementation of the project progresses and when significant changes occur.   The Annex to the document provides details of the 26 identified datasets that have or will be generated throughout the project duration.

  • Deliverable D10.3: First year report on communication, dissemination and publication activities + Appendix

Summary. Communication, dissemination and publication activities play a vital role within STAR-ProBio. This report lists the activities carried out within all STAR-ProBio Work Packages during the period May 2017 – April 2018. These activities include framework activities for the whole project such as the establishment of a brand identity and ICT channels, and the elaboration of a Data Management Plan, as well as specific communication and dissemination activities such as interviews, surveys, workshops, webinars, meetings, scientific and general publications, etc. The report describes for all these activities the target groups reached and messages delivered. An indicative list of expected communication, dissemination and publication activities for the second year of the project (May 2018 – April 2019) is also included in the report.  The Annex includes the detailed proformas for all individual activities.

  • Deliverable D10.4: Second year report on communication, dissemination and publication activities

Summary. Communication, dissemination and publication activities are key elements within STAR-ProBio. A special effort has been made during the second year of the project to ensure these activities are properly developed, implemented and managed. These activities follow the guidelines established in the Communication and Dissemination Strategy developed in the starting phase of the project within Work Package 10 (WP10) “Knowledge transfer, training and dissemination”.