Funding: Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, European Union
Coordinatator: Institution for Agrotechnique and Bioeconomy of Leibniz (Leibniz-Institut für Agrartechnik und Bioökonomie, ATB), Germany
Time period: October 2019 - September 2023
Consortium partners: The GO-GRASS project brings together altogether 22 partners form eight European countries.
The GO-GRASS project will develop a set of small-scale bio-based solutions to unlock the overlooked potential of grassland across Europe and create new business opportunities for rural areas.
About 28% of the area of the EU is covered by grasslands and green shrubs. These resources are not being utilized, which means they are simply decaying after costly mowing, while their individual and societal benefits are being lost. The aim of the GO-GRASS project is to make use of this neglected resource, thus reinforcing the rural communities of Europe. During the next four years, the project plans to elaborate grass-based circular business models, thus facilitating nutrient supply, improving raw material self-sufficiency, and decreasing power consumption.
The project is built on the promising work carried out on four regional demonstration farms in the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and Denmark, where they have already started to establish new value chains based on non-utilized green fodder.
The Netherlands: The Dutch demonstration farm makes good quality packaging materials and paper from grass clippings collected from roadsides.
Sweden: Here they produce briquettes from reed canary grass after chopping - which is an innovative litter material in livestock farming. After fulfilling this function, the briquettes can be used as manure or used to produce biogas or heat.
Germany: The German demonstration farm is located in the idyllic Lowed Oder Valley National Park. Here they make biocoal from wetland grass, which can be used as a fertilizer or to increase the water retention capability of soils.
Denmark: Here they extract proteins from grasses, mainly from alfalfa, clover and reed canary grass in a small-scale refinery. This organic protein concentrate can be used to fortify the diet of pigs and poultry, and to enhance milk production in dairy cows.
The purpose of the project:
- Developing cost-effective, sustainable, circular business models, considering the societal, economic and environmental conditions in the rural areas of Europe.
- Diversifying and revitalizing rural farms, providing good quality jobs and opportunities in cooperation with agricultural operators and local authorities.
- The raw materials collected from the demonstration farms support the production of degradable products, thus replacing current fossil alternatives such as chemical fertilizers and plastic packaging. Recovering otherwise lost natural resources can have a significant impact on the reduction of greenhouse gases across the EU.
- The project aims for large-scale replication, especially in distant communities with untapped resources.