Tomorrow’s chemical industry will use platform molecules (raw materials) produced from agri-food waste. The realization that oil resources are limited is reviving interest in not only biomass as a source of molecules for the chemical industry, but also in industrial biotechnology. The Move2chem project, which began in 2014, has been used to develop an alternative biotechnology pathway for extracting value-added chemical molecules (organic acids) used in particular in the manufacture of preservatives, solvents, paints and polymers (plastic, rubber, polystyrene, etc.) from effluents or industrial co-products (rarely or not recovered).
From 1st January, a series of changes in the Common Agriculture Policy have been in effect. Agreed on 12th December, the so-called Omnibus was entered into the official EU record on 29th December. These changes are variously described as simplifications or improvements. However, as we’ve outlined, much of what’s been changed is a step backwards, with changes in Ecological Focus Areas to reduce the ecological dimension in particular being problematic. A positive in this regressive legislation is, however, the scope given to member states to define permanent grassland differently. This could well impact positively on upland farming, on High Nature Value farming, or agroforestry; it could reduce scrub fires and make farming more viable in upland areas in general. However momentum would need to develop in member states to encourage this.