Promoting the penetration of agrobiomass heating in European rural areas

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AgroBioHeat: 2nd project meeting in Zagreb

The second project meeting of the AgroBioHeat project, funded by the Horizon 2020 programme, was held last week (3 – 5 July 2019) in Zagreb, hosted by the Green Energy Cooperative – ZEZ. The overall aim of the project is to promote heating solutions on agrobiomass in rural areas of Europe.

“The AgroBioHeat project aims to transform the rural heating sector through the use of a currently underexploited indigenous and renewable energy resource: agrobiomass. Main project activities will be implemented in six European countries with a strong agricultural sector – among which is Croatia. Our local partner – ZEZ – is a pioneer in implementing renewable energy projects in Croatia, especially ones with strong ties in the local community. Till the end of AgroBioHeat we aim to employ this experience towards the development of agrobiomass heating sector” emphasizes project coordinator Manolis Karampinis, from Centre for Research and Technology Hellas – CERTH, Greece.

Over half of the total territory in Croatia is agricultural land, of which majority is arable areas. Istria is an example of a region where a growing olive oil and wine industry has led to a corresponding increase in available agrobiomass, which is however not properly managed and disposed of. Using agrobiomass as a heating fuel, especially in public buildings and industries that are still using on fuel oil, a solution to the management issue of these residues can emerge, coupled with local growth and sustainable development.

“Today agrobiomass is still regarded as a waste, and not as a resource that can be energetically recovered. Sustainable agrobiomass management can have a positive social impact on the community in creating new jobs at the local level, and low emissions and high energy efficiency contribute to environmental conservation. Equally, promoting heating solution on the agrobiomass brings us closer to higher use of renewable energy resources, energy independence and the achievement of the EU 2030 goals,” – says Lucija Nađ, a professional associate from the Green Energy Cooperative.

During the three-day meeting, intensive discussions were held regarding the activities to be implemented by the AgroBioHeat project partners in the coming six months’ period; these include, among others: meetings with local and regional stakeholders, identification of new agrobiomass initiatives that will be supported by the project and a strong presence in relevant agricultural and energy fairs. The meeting was concluded with a workshop on the use of crowdfunding for financing agrobiomass heating projects, and site-visits to the first photovoltaic plant in Križevci (funded by the micro-loan model by citizens) and to the stove manufacturer Senko ltd.

“The Green Energy Cooperative during the project will connect producers and consumers of agrobiomass in Croatia, advocate changes to legislation for greater use of this type of bio-fuel for heating, identify and strengthen a new initiative that will serve be an example of successful implementation of an agrobiomass heating project and a model for replication, while providing guidance and recommendations for citizen involvement in the financing of agrobiomass projects”, emphasized Hajdana Rukavina, project manager of Green Energy Cooperative.

More information on the upcoming AgroBioHeat project activities will soon become available on the project website and social media.

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