Innova Spain has delved into the intricacies of Brilian and has released an article you can’t afford to miss!
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Maider Gómez: «The primary sector has shown significant adaptability»
Project Manager at CIRCE, Gómez coordinates the European project BRILIAN, which brings the bioeconomy to the countryside with producers as key players in a new value chain.
Rural areas cover approximately 80% of the European Union’s territory and host 30% of its population, 137 million people. From Brussels, it is considered that bio-based economies can play a fundamental role in revitalizing these regions through sustainable economic and social development. In this context, the BRILIAN project is born, which positions primary producers as active agents in the supply chain. This leading role of the producer in the transition to a new economy is aligned with Europe’s objectives outlined in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the Green Deal, and the Bioeconomy Strategy.
The BRILIAN project, co-financed by the Circular Bio-Based Europe (CBE) initiative under the Horizon Europe 2021-2027 program, involves thirteen entities (companies, research organizations, clusters, and associations) from six different countries. The ultimate goal of the project is to expand the business model of agro-industries and harness their full potential. Over the next four years, BRILIAN will work with ten bio-based value chains.
Safflower and sunflower in Italy, potatoes in Spain, and rapeseed in Denmark are the raw materials from which the initiative develops high-value-added products. Primary producers will have the opportunity to diversify their sources of income and gain stability as bioplastics, biolubricants, proteins, bioadhesives, bioherbicides, or products for animal feed and cosmetics become part of their daily lives.
As Maider Gómez, Project Manager at CIRCE-Centro Tecnológico and coordinator of the BRILIAN project, explains to Innovaspain, the development of the bioeconomy is «an opportunity and a necessity» for both producers and society as a whole. In a new scenario that will be «constantly evolving,» Gómez emphasizes the need to focus on the efficient transfer of technical knowledge. She believes that other possible challenges for the project’s advancement may be related to the availability of financial resources, the development of an organizational culture, or the capacity for change management.
On the positive side, the coordinator of BRILIAN highlights that the primary sector has demonstrated significant adaptability. «Their willingness is to be part of the change and to tackle challenges such as climate change or resource depletion.» Maider Gómez acknowledges that changing the business model is not easy because it is focused on sectors and markets that are not typical for these producers. «Therefore, the development of measures, strategies, and tools to support the transition is essential.»
BRILIAN will work on validating various actions in three pilot projects. «In this way, we will show producers successful cases, best practices, and strategies, all with the flexibility for them to adapt them to the agricultural operations in their regions.»
Potatoes are the chosen crop in Spain as part of BRILIAN for various reasons. «Its resistance and adaptability are high. Potatoes can grow in a wide variety of soils and climatic conditions. Furthermore, they offer a higher yield than other crops, which could contribute to improving food security,» says Gómez.
PATURPAT (UDAPA) is the Spanish company selected to process the potatoes. «Their innovative and committed spirit has led the company to seek solutions to minimize rejects and improve the sustainability and circularity of the process.»
Potato peelings, rejects, and effluents contain a high starch content that will be valorized. If all goes well, it will serve as a raw material for the production of bioplastics, animal feed, or components targeted at the cosmetics industry.
Without leaving the country, the food+i food cluster in the Ebro Valley will also play a relevant role in BRILIAN. «It is not only about generating results during the project but also about conveying them with a clear and strong message to all key stakeholders or those who may have a role in promoting the bio-based value chains that we seek to promote in the initiative,» says Maider Gómez.
In this regard, the project coordinator indicates that the role of food+i goes beyond mere communication of actions. «The cluster acquires a strategic dimension in the dissemination and promotion of the results and the impact of BRILIAN aimed at a circular future for the rural areas of the EU.