The OLEAF4VALUE’s Stakeholder Meeting was held in Madrid on the 30th of January. The meeting took place in the School of Agricultural, Food and Biosystems Engineering of the Polytechnic University of Madrid, and was a hybrid event.

The meeting was hosted by NATAC and among the attendants were members of the O4V consortium, but also members of other organisations related to the bioeconomy. More than 20 members attended physically, and also more than 20 persons followed the meeting online.

The event focused on trends and opportunities in biomass and bioeconomy, providing valuable insights into how to harness them, with a special emphasis on introducing bio-based products to the market. Experts discussed sustainability, by-product valorisation and agri-food innovation, as well as opportunities and challenges, highlighting the promotion of sustainable bioeconomy in Europe and strategies for launching bio-based products.

The event started with the welcome and introduction of the event by NATAC. To start with, the importance of sustainability, circular economy and resource utilisation in olive cultivation was shown by María Gómez del Campo, Professor of Olive Growing at the Polytechnic University of Madrid. After that, an update on the status and results of the project OLEAF4VALUE was presented by José Carlos Quintela, Chief Scientific Officer at NATAC. Sophie Marson, senior consultant at NNFCC gave an overview of the opportunities and challenges maximising the value of industrial by-products. Then, Alberto Álvarez, EU Projects Coordinator at Innovarum, gave a presentation on how to boost agri-food innovation and bioeconomy in Europe, focusing on rural areas and introducing the success case of the project MainstreamBIO. Representing BIOPLAT, Margarita de Gregorio gave a lecture on the Biomass economy and sustainable development in Spain. Anne Christine Hastrup, Director at Centre for Bioresources at Danish Technological Institute gave a talk about the optimisation of biobased resources and materials. The last talk of the first half of the event was about project management and key leadership to succeed in the bioeconomy sector, by Franciscco Pizarro, Business Development Manager at Fundecyt-PCTEX. A panel discussion with the participation of BIOPLAT and Fundecyt-PCTEX was also performed.

Finally, the second half of the event saw four more presentations and another Pannel discussion. First one was the presentation of Rafael Castillo, project manager at Andalusian Technology Corporation, who show how to launch biobased products into the market, using the example of the project SCALE-UP. Then, Paula Jáuregi, from the Ikerbasque Research Associate at AZTI gave insights  on Food Processing and By-Product Valorization. The challenges and opportunities of rural areas and innovative projects were tackled by Ascensión Ciruelos, project manager at CTAEX. Finally, Alba Ramos, project manager at NATAC, presented their Flagship project SUSTAINEXT.

To end the event, a pannel discussion on the challenges in biomass valorisation and the importance of the involvement of public authorities and industry was held.

This event was a good example of the Oleaf4Value effort to contribute to the bioeconomy, trying to give new ideas and insights all over the bioeconomy field.