BioBoost – Catalysing Investment into Catalan Bioeconomy via One-Stop-Shop Accelerator
Updated on 31.01.2023
Catalonia has a huge potential to become a model region for Bioeconomy innovation and deployment in Europe. The region is a hub of high-tech manufacturing, research, and industry (including vehicle, chemical, health industries), has extensive forests (>60% coverage), agricultural production and fisheries, and it is backed by strong institutional support for the bioeconomy with the Catalan Bioeconomy Strategy launched in September 2021.
However, circular bioeconomy projects involve a wide range of stakeholders, complex business models and demand strong technical and legal knowledge from developers, investors, regulators, and local planning authorities. For these reasons, many viable bioeconomy projects are overlooked and are unable to raise sufficient investment.
BioBoost aims to accelerate the growth of the bioeconomy in Catalonia by delivering Project Development Assistance (PDA) services that address the specific and systematic barriers preventing bioeconomy projects from reaching the investment stage. PDA services will be delivered via a one-stop-shop office in Barcelona, the ‘Accelerator’. The needs of bioeconomy projects will be assessed, Project Development Plans will be developed, and a package of PDA services will be offered. The office will also work together with the investment community and public institutions to prepare these stakeholders for investment and construction phases.
PDA services will be delivered by a powerful consortium of sector specialists that bring together all the core components of successful project development:
- Facilitation and Coordination (Symbiosis)
- Technical Feasibility and Engineering (Aeris)
- Legal and Public Administration (Roca Junyent)
- Business Development and Financing (Inveniam)
Inveniam Group, Spain
Scope and objectives
The overall objective of the BioBoost project is to catalyse EUR 30 000 000 of additional investment into small and medium size bioeconomy projects in the Catalonia region by the end of 2025, which represents an 18 times multiplier on EU investment.
To achieve this goal, the BioBoost project will establish and operate an Accelerator Office (‘the Accelerator’ hereafter) to provide PDA services to regional bioeconomy projects. A comprehensive range of tailor-made services will be offered to projects at different stages of development, covering (1) facilitation, (2) technical, (3) legal & administrative and (4) business development.
Service delivery through the Accelerator will lead towards the production of investor-oriented business plans that minimise risk and streamline the investment process.
The ultimate goal of the BioBoost project is to create a Bioeconomy Accelerator Best Practices Model that can be replicated in other Regions.
D1.2: Catalonia Bioeconomy Ecosystem Report (February 2023)
D1.3 Legal and Regulatory Barrier to BioEconomy in Catalonia Report (May 2023)
D2.2: Accelerator Operational and Monitoring Plan Dossier (February 2023)
D2.3: Catalonia Bioeconomy Potential Report (May 2023)
D4.2/D4.4: Investor database (November 2023, May 2026)
D4.3: Innovative Financing Solutions Report (May 2025)
D5.4: Launch Event (May 2023)
D5.5: Accelerator Business Plan and Replication Strategy, linked to T5.3 (May 2026)
D6.4: Final Data management plan (May 2026)
Description of future collaboration with CCRI-CSO
A collaboration that works synergistically in both directions is envisaged: BioBoost receives support from the CCRI to speed up the CE implementation in Catalonia, network with other projects and initiatives, etc. BioBoost will share the knowledge gained during the project so that the best practices and business model can be replicated to other regions. It is foreseen that the project supports the Thematic Working Groups of the CCRI-CSO.
Findings: regulatory bottlenecks
- Complex and overlapping regulation: region-specific laws and regulations form barriers for bioeconomy.
- The ‘legal’ definition of waste: ‘Legal clarity’ of regulations is needed. Furthermore, progress remains to be made regarding the status of a ‘by-product’, ‘end-of-waste' or the concept of ‘reuse’, to comply with the waste management hierarchy, which emphasises reuse before recycling.
- Insufficient recycling targets and lacking descriptions of actions in legislation: the formulated collection and recycling targets is sometimes too low, vague, and incentives and implementation are unclear. The focus of the legislation could be more on the prevention of wastes and not only on the recycling of wastes, as prevention has priority in the waste hierarchy.
- Limits derived from regulatory frameworks.
- Lack of aid and public incentives to favour the implementation of bioeconomy.
- Administrative complexity in the implementation of the project.
- Difficulties in accessing the market due to legal obstacles.
Findings: regulatory drivers
- Establish standards and guidelines.
- End-of-life regulations: to remove any unnecessary regulatory obstacles to the use of ‘waste’.
- Ban toxic materials and modify accounting systems to price in externalities (e.g. landfill costs, energy consumption and carbon emissions).
- Public procurement: obligations on public-sector agencies and government departments to purchase resource efficient and cradle to cradle products.
- Policy support for innovation: policy is crucial in setting the framework to encourage private-sector investments in innovation, for example in new materials or supply-chain resource tracking.
- Project financing in Special-Purpose Vehicle (SPV), with equity part from project developers, infra funds, industrial groups and/or public bodies, and possibly with debt financing as well.
- Corporate financing (with corporate WACC).
- Corporate joint ventures or partnerships (e.g. co-investment in drying equipment to prepare an industrial subproduct as input in another industrial process).
- Output-based financing (e.g. the sale of future CO2-capture credits in the produced biochar).
BioBoost will also create synergies and complementarities with other financial schemes for CE projects. Several initiatives are under development to facilitate greater investment from the private sector, based around developing frameworks and standards for evaluating projects and measuring/accounting for externalities.
Some of these initiatives include:
- The European Commission Technical Expert Group (TEG) on sustainable finance, which develops methodologies for EU climate benchmarking and guidance to improve corporate disclosure of climate-related information.
- The Equator Principles (EPs), which is a risk management framework adopted by financial institutions.
- The Private Finance for Energy Efficiency (PF4EE), which is an instrument developed by a joint agreement between the European Investment Bank and the European Commission.
- The Green Economy Financing Facilities (GEEF), which operates through a network of more than 140 local financial institutions across 26 countries supported by more than EUR 4 billion.
Environmental outcomes of circular economy solutions
The BioBoost environmental outcome will be done by accelerating projects that contribute to the:
- reduction in reliance on resource extraction;
- creation of healthier ecosystems;
- reduction of climate change & pollution;
- reduction of harmful waste.
Social outcomes of circular economy solutions
The BioBoost environmental outcome will be done by accelerating projects that contribute to:
- creating healthier ecosystems;
- mitigating and adapting to climate change & and reducing waste disposal and pollution;
- growing job creation.
Economic outcomes of circular economy solutions
The key focus of the project is on accelerating investment in regional bioeconomy projects. Therefore, economic impacts of the project, measured in terms of investment made, is the key metric used to measure the project success (EUR 30 000 000 in signed projects by the end of the project).
With the creation of the regional bioeconomy, there will also be new value chains. These value chains will incorporate more stakeholders from the local areas who may not otherwise have an opportunity to participate in larger economic opportunities. This will then drive and provide an increase in support for local economies and increase the overall investment in the area.
Through the opening of PDA facilities and an economic transition into the bioeconomy, including an increase in investments, there will also be an uptake in available jobs. Monitoring, distribution, storage, and other tasks in the sector will require jobs to be filled. This increase in available job placements and size of the workforce will have a direct and positive affect on the local economy, where the Accelerator operates.
Main project stakeholders
Industry, public administration, financial institutions
- Aeris Tecnologías Ambientales