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The economic situation for European farmers deteriorated constantly during the last decade because of increasing cost pressures on agricultural products. Priorities in the EUï¿½s Common Agricultural Policy changed and today foresee to strengthen farmersï¿½ role in rural development and fulfilment of quality standards for environment, animal protection and food safety. To be competitive, farmers are obliged to adapt their business activities in terms of alternative products and quality requirements. Short-Rotation-Plantations (SRP) are a very promising alternative source of income by cultivating fast growing tree-species as a source for bioenergy, raw material for biofuels or the chemical industry by reusing wastewater and sewage sludge for irrigation and fertilisation. Due to this procedure SRPs are not only high efficient biomass production systems but can also contribute to a low-cost and environmentally safe biological wastewater and sludge treatment especially in regions where no treatment facilities exist. Thus SRPs perfectly meet general requirements not only for farmers in the former EU15 but especially in the new Member States and Candidate Countries.
The aim of the participating IAGs in BIOPROS is to gain knowledge about the economic, ecological and technical feasibility of SRPs for different local conditions and market requirements and to transfer this know-how to their SME members (farmers, biomass processors, engineers, decisions makers). This will contribute to promote SRP biomass production between SMEs throughout Europe and abroad. Main focus will lay on the safe and efficient application of wastewater and sludge to guarantee high yields and a sufficient treatment performance without any negative environmental or hygienic impacts. Lack of knowledge about the high SRP potential and prejudices against the reuse of human wastes for non-food biomass production shall be minimised during the project as well as reluctances against the application of SRP-biomass. For this reason a wide range of aspects will be subject of research including SRPsï¿½ best practice and economics.
01/09/2005 ï¿½ 31/08/2008