Danube Alliance

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International Danube Festival in Ulm, Germany from July 1st until July 10th 2022

The Miscanthus Case

Miscanthus (elephant grass) was selected by the Danube Alliance as the first use case for the analysis and modeling of a value chain. It was initiated through cooperation with Advanced Ecologics GmbH, a German company that is pursuing the goal of establishing a sustainable biogenic circular economy in the Vidin region in northwestern Bulgaria with the help of a transport and storage system and a central biomass processing plant. Among other things, residual materials from corn straw and the cultivation of miscanthus serve as biomass.

 

Miscanthus is a reed grass that has a number of characteristics that make it interesting for bioeconomic value chains due to its versatility. It shows high adaptability in terms of location, temperature and water availability, it contributes to humus formation and it is a renewable, perennial, low-cost material with high yields.

It appears particularly suitable for replacing fossil fuels with biogenic raw materials. In addition, miscanthus can also be used to establish a biogenic recycling economy. As a building material, it can be used in pressed boards for insulation on the one hand, but also as a renewable additive to cement in concrete production. Here, too, the good yield and negative CO2 balance play an important role. Under favorable conditions, tons of dry matter can be obtained per hectare. This can produce enough building material for a single-family house and at the same time remove 30 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. In addition to building material, miscanthus is also suitable as bark mulch, livestock bedding, heating material, and for use in paper and plastics production.*

 

To better understand and analyse the entire value chain, according to the Danube Alliance multi-method approach, the consortium invited miscanthus experts to gain a deeper understanding of the plant and potential uses. Social and environmental factors were also included as part of the knowledge building process. By gathering relevant data for the value chain model, a simulation for input-output scenarios in the value chain model was built within the consortium. Now, according to the third step “Act & Adapt” of the Danube Alliance approach, a trip to Vidin is planned in order to meet relevant regional stakeholders, and to present and discuss the value chain model. The goal is to develop implementation strategies and also to involve regional SMEs to create smart solutions that help increase the resilience of a Miscanthus value chain that starts in the Vidin area and can be expanded across the Danube region and Europe.

 

*Sources:

Lewandowski et al. (2000): The modelled productivity of Miscanthus x giganteus (GREEF et DEU) in Ireland: In: Industrial Crops and Products 12(2), 97-109.

Kahle, et al (1999): Effects of Miscanthus x giganteus cultivation on chemical and physical soil properties. In: Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science 162(1), 27-32.

Brosse et al. (2012): Miscanthus: A fast growing crop for biofuels and chemicals production. In: Biofuels, Bioproducts & Biorefining 6, 580-592.

Emmerling & Pude (2017): Introducing Miscanthus to the greening measures of the EU Common Agricultural Policy. In: GCB Bioenergy, 9(2), 274-279.

Collaborative Platform

To support SMEs, the Danube Alliance will act as an open collaborative platform for stakeholders from the Danube region (s. figure on the right).
The established partner network will include regional development entities, clusters, business associations and more. The platform will incorporate needs of the Danube region and incubate value-chain project ideas with significant potential in terms of resilience and circularity. Moreover, capacity building will be promoted by the Danube Alliance consortium through coaching and skill development towards modelling resilient value chains as well as creating digital business solutions that can help increase value chain resilience. Also, the Danube Alliance as a collaboration platform will support the creation of tailor-made partnerships and consortia for further (cross-regional) value chain related projects, and identify adequate funding options for the project initiation. Besides, the Danube Alliance platform shall create visibility and knowledge transfer with regard to resilient value chain activities and involved actors of the Danube region. It will share relevant research insights and project findings that are associated with resilient and circular value chain development. The goal is to expand the Danube Alliance partner network and to raise awareness on value chain resilience and corresponding methodologies and good practices at a macro-regional level.

Contact

Team member
Benedikt Sedlmayr
+49 89 5108963-043
benedikt.sedlmayr@vdivde-it.de
Team member
Hannah Herzig
+49 711 658 355-16
hannah.herzig@vdivde-it.de
Supported by
Ministerium für Wirtschaft, Arbeit und Tourismus Baden Württemberg
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Supported by
Staatsministerium Baden-Württemberg
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The Danube Alliance Consortium
BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH
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The Danube Alliance Consortium
STEINBEIS EUROPA ZENTRUM
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The Danube Alliance Consortium
Hochschule Reutlingen
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The Danube Alliance Consortium
VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH
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