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IAR Cluster: the point of reference for the French bioeconomy sector

The Industries and Agro-Resources (IAR) cluster is the point of reference for the bioeconomy sector in France. Its aim is to enhance the value of all plant components, and their byproducts, for industrial purposes, within the principles of sustainable development.

IAR: the French bioeconomy cluster

Located in Picardy since 2005, the IAR cluster has nearly 400 active and innovative members across the entire bioeconomy value chain.

The IAR cluster works in all areas related to the production and development of biological resources (agriculture, forestry, marine resources, byproducts, and residue) for food, industrial, and energy purposes.

The IAR cluster has established three objectives:

  • Make France the European bioeconomy leader, taking full advantage of its regional roots
  • Strengthen and support the competitiveness and industrialization of businesses through innovation, by structuring, coordinating, unifying, and stimulating an ecosystem that is unique in the world
  • Promote the bioeconomy sector and those working in it

In order to meet these objectives, the IAR cluster has developed four strategic initiatives, organized into various activities:

  • The production and mobilization of bioresources: agriculture, forestry, marine resources, insects, byproducts, and residues
  • Biosourced products: chemistry, biotechnologies, materials
  • Food: human and animal
  • Energy: biogas, hydrogen, biofuels, etc.

As of today, the IAR cluster has invested €1.7 billion and has financed and certified more than 270 projects. 

What is the bioeconomy?

The bioeconomy is the economy of photosynthesis and, more broadly, of living things. The bioeconomy is based on the production and mobilization of biomass for maximum return, and for this, it uses solar energy, which is abundant, renewable, and free.

Therefore, the bioeconomy sector provides great opportunities for farms and forests in Hauts-de-France. It boosts the competitiveness of industries while providing sustainable solutions to environmental and societal challenges. Bioeconomy is part of the larger green economy, an environmentally-friendly economy that uses natural resources more effectively.

IAR: intertwined with the regional ecosystem

The IAR cluster can avail itself of an innovation territory that is ideal for developing biorefineries and new generations of biosourced products. There are therefore many advantages:

  • Sustainable, competitive, and productive agriculture
  • State-of-the-art research and technology centers: ARD with its BioDémo industrial demonstrator, FRD, CRITT MDTS, AERIAL, RITTMO, IMPROVE, PIVERT, EXTRACTIS, CODEM, etc.
  • Universities and schools: UPJV, UniLaSalle Beauvais Campus, University of Lille, URCA, UTT, UNISTRA, NEOMA BS, AgroParistech, Centrale Paris, EPF, ENSAM, SFR Condorcet, etc.
  • Many corporate decision-making centers: Roquette, Total, Mäder, Dickson Constant, Lesaffre, Bostik, L’Oréal, Cristal Union, Avril, ADM, Norske Skog, Vivescia, Salveco, Soufflet, Soprema, Tereos, Faurecia, etc.
  • Career and skills development campuses

Examples of projects completed in Hauts-de-France:

The BIOCHAR 2021 project: soil fertility management involving stable carbon sequestration resulting from the thermochemical conversion of residual biomass in the compost industry.

This involves capitalizing on certain biomass residues recovered from composting systems in the production of organic amendments and crops with high agronomic value and a small carbon footprint. This is the economic model that ETIA seeks to develop with its subsidiary VT Green, three composting systems associated with the Agriculteurs Composteurs de France, the INRA, and UniLaSalle.

 

The “Plant-Based Protein Innovation Awards” project

IAR has joined forces with the Village by CA Nord de France, Caisse Régionale du Crédit Agricole Nord de France, and Bridge2Food for the first ever “Plant-Based Protein Innovation Awards” for startups, a major international innovation award that recognizes the most innovative startups in the field of plant proteins for human consumption.

As a partner of the selection committee and a member of the jury, the IAR cluster has welcomed the success of the six winning startups for their project:

  • Via-végétale (France) for the “Agtech” category
  • Kyanos Biotechnologies (France) for the “Most Novel Protein Process Technology & IT” category
  • InnovoPro (Israel) for the “Most Novel Protein Ingredient” category
  • Tempeasy (United Kingdom) for the “Best New High Protein Food & Beverage” category
  • Future Food (Ukraine) for the “Best Plant-Based Food” category
  • Alg & You (France) for the “Highest Consumer Impact” category

Within their category, these six startups provide responses to current and future issues related to food.

For more information about the IAR cluster: www.iar-pole.com 

Sources: IAR Cluster, hautsdefrance.fr, Les Echos