Developing a regional circular bioeconomy and transforming rural areas into prosperous, smart, specialised regions in the North Sea area

Bioscas is a research project of the professorship Environmental Impact of Circular Agro-Food Chains.

The issue

The North Sea region is one of the most prosperous parts of the European Union, but most of the economic activity and growth occurs in urban areas. The region’s rural areas are experiencing a steady population decline. Young, highly educated inhabitants are migrating because of the lack of jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities, leading to negative economic growth in many rural areas. However, the countryside boasts a wealth of agricultural expertise, there are abundant (surplus) quantities of biomass from many different sources, and there is land and space available to develop smart specialisations of biobased products. This could provide opportunities to break out of the negative economic growth in this region.

The project

The BIOCAS project seeks to initiate the development of a regional circular bioeconomy and to transform rural areas into smart, specialised regions for the integrated and local valorisation of biomass, based on cascade principles. Biomass Cascading Alliances (BCAs) include all the players involved in the biomass value chain (raw material > processing > product + waste streams/ raw material), which means that biomass can be converted more sustainably. The BCAs are achieved by means of a ‘triple helix’ partnership between science, industry and government. This will kick-start the development of a strong regional circular economy in the rural parts of the North Sea region.


New biocascade technologies, an overview of the environmental and economic impact of cascade chains on biomass and provisional alliances.

Associate professor: Jerke de Vries, Environ­mental Impact of Circular Agri- and Food Chains
Project duration: 2017 - 2021
Project partners: Province of Fryslân, Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen, Limm Recycling, Rinagro, NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, VHL University of Applied Sciences (VHL), Agrovi, CELF, Aarhus University, Business Lolland-Falster, Guldsborgund Municipality, University of Southern Denmark, World Perfect, University of Oldenburg, Landkreis Heidekreis, 3N Centre of Experts, KU Leuven and Ghent University



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