"BIO Centre: Bioindustries, Biorefineries, and Bioproducts" project consists in the creation of a new technological facility coming from an internationally emergent area: Biorefineries, Bioindustries and Bioproducts. It is an unique infrastructure for the development of "Smart Economy and Regions" and Circular Economy.

A new technological area for Portugal with potential for implementation, since lignocellulosic resources and hydrocarbons are widely available and can be transformed in new valuable products, thus promoting the development of new industries and companies in this area.

BIO Centre project was implemented in Oliveira do Hospital, through the requalification of an old abandoned facility, with a total area of 3.8 ha. The requalification process consisted on the remodelling/conservation of six buildings, outdoor areas arrangement and the acquisition of equipment to design new spaces with the most advanced technology in the world.

The main purpose of this project was to recover the abandoned facilities and transform it into several infrastructural units, functionally different but all essential for management, operation and promotion of the overall infrastructure in terms of research, support to the economic fabric and idea/project development (pre-incubation/incubation and enterprise acceleration).

This project was co-funded by NSRF in the "Mais Centro" Programme through the European Regional Development Fund, in a total of 2,685,150.00 €.

The BioREFINA-TER is a multidisciplinary R&D+i project within a network of entities, designed to implement advanced technologies in the conversion of wastes and residues from the agroforest value chains and marginal land, into advanced biofuels and bioproducts in order to replace fossil fuels.

The present project has managed to bring together an international knowledge network of 55 R&D organizations from 9 European countries. It started in 2011 with a Portuguese State fund, through IFAP, of 0.5 million euros. The first stage, allowed progression of the scientific and technical knowledge regarding the conversion of heathland biomass and forest residues to 2nd generation advanced biofuels (direct replacements for gasoline and diesel).

The BioREFINA-TER project aims to construct an industrial demonstration biorefinery unit, with a capacity of 25 million litters per year of 2nd generation biofuels, which do not compete with the food sector or the wood processing industry. The pilot territory will cover the cities of Arganil, Góis, Oliveira do Hospital and Tábua with an investment of 125 million euros for 4 municipalities. The industrial demonstration unit will be used as an example to be replicated throughout Portugal. This project also aims to create the first international region with full fossil energy autonomy, meaning that the natural resources existent will allow the generation of enough energy for the current economic activity.

This innovation project, which aims to rejuvenate and revitalize the socio-economic fabric of the region, has already been considered by the Portuguese State as a project of national interest and currently is the largest Portuguese ongoing project in the area of biorefineries/biodindustries. It is considered an alternative to the fight of large-scale forest fires and the mitigation of the environmental, economic and social impacts caused by this paradigm.

According to a recent survey made by BLC3, forest fires may represent a national economic loss of 800 million to 1 billion euros. Also, an annual saving of 4.500 to 6.000 million euros in petroleum import will allow Portugal to tackle two of the major problems currently facing - forest fires and petroleum dependency.

EU 2020 Strategy, announced in 2010, includes Bioeconomy as an important component with three major strategic priorities:

  • Smart growth: developing an economy based on knowledge and innovation;
  • Sustainable growth: promoting a more efficient, greener and more competitive economy; and
  • Inclusive growth: fostering a high-employment economy delivering social and territorial cohesion.

Bioeconomy refers to the sustainable production and transformation of organic natural resources in a variety of bioproducts, food, biomolecules, other industrial products and energy. Includes all industries, sectors, management operations and any other way to use natural resources, including organic wastes.

Modern Bioeconomy is based on knowledge and innovation from life sciences and other technologies such as engineering, chemistry, computer science and nanotechnology. The development of bioeconomy allows the territory "re-industrialization" through its own resources and the primary sector revitalization.

At the enterprise-level, the Inner Region economic fabric needs technical and structural support, and also the introduction of innovative ideas, new technologies for resources transformation and valorisation: "value the Land". It also requires the settlement of young critical mass to counterattack the increasing desertification. The "Bioeconomy and Smart regions" project has been developed within these concepts, being nowadays working towards the development of "Bioeconomy and Smart Regions" in territories with specific economic development needs, low population density and in menace.

Lab-i-DUCA is a R&D project that appeared as a response to the "Agenda 21 Escolar" and follows the UE strategy for the promotion of smart growth. This project is being developed by BLC3 Association in consortium with the schools from the region "Beira Serra", since 2012.

BLC3, in association with several national and international institutions, has been developing work strategies and taking great efforts in the educational field for a sustainable juvenile development, in which this project is integrated, having the support of "CiênciaViva" to carry out to scientific literacy activities promotion for a year.

Thus, this project aims to promote/contribute to a sustainable development in its main areas (Economic, Social and Environmental), advocating: (1) the promotion of self-worth by stimulating physical/mental skills and well-being, as well as the stimulation and personal development of students, taking into account the local values; (2) the economic valorisation of endogenous resources, through human capital qualification; (3) promotion of an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit in young people, by encouraging creativity and other mechanisms; (4) the utilisation of information technologies and informatics in order to monitor/track the development of the aforementioned skills and assist in the development of tools and methods to evaluate them and stimulate the students.

Cheese factories effluents are a problem and an existing obstacle concerning all direct and indirect economic agents. The difficulties in treating and minimizing the environmental impacts of these effluents and, on the other hand, the significant importance of this activity for the region and the primary sector, are major reasons that makes these effluents a real issue.

After two years of extensive research performed by BLC3 staff, the project concerning the alternative use and valorisation of cheese factory effluents is currently in patent process. The environmental impact reduction and the production of new products will valorise the region. Besides, an improvement in the quality of life, in water and soil resources of the affected population will be a reality.

BLC3 managed to gather cheese producers from Oliveira do Hospital. The characterization performed to this sector allowed to conclude that the effluents volume from cheese factories in the region is high, approximately 18 million litters per year. At this stage, several cities and entities showed interest in these project developed by BLC3, being that Oliveira do Hospital is highlighted, for having supported and encouraged this project from the beginning.

This project results from the Young Farmers Club, created by the Centre for Technology and Innovation. Currently, it represents an investment of around 1.7 million euros and a cultivated area of approximately 60 ha of apples and S. Bartolomeu pears. This is the first professional structure of young farmers created in the region of Arganil, Oliveira do Hospital, Tábua and Seia.

Dried fruits have been highly valued in international markets as the search for this type of food has grown bigger and bigger worldwide. Following this trend, Fruit ECO-Drying Line project aims at innovating and valuing one of the richest fruits of the region: S. Bartolomeu pear, also known as Dried Pear, which almost disappeared from the market due to the lack of technological investment.

The R&TD project, co-financed by NSRF, with a global investment of € 603,623.10, foresees the creation of a pilot unit that automatically peels, dehydrates, presses and packs pears, in an entire circuit that extends from production to its entry in the marketing chain, in order to make this eco-efficient line a competitive process. Experiments performed in the pilot unit will later lead to the industrialization of this great regional wealth and to its reappearance in national and international markets. The main area of S. Bartolomeu pear production is located in the cities of Oliveira Hospital, Tábua, Seia, Viseu, Nelas, Gouveia, Mangualde and Santa Comba Dão.

The main goal of this R&TD project, financed by QREN/MaisCentro with a global investment of € 338,647.93 is the valorisation of a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) cheese, through applied research for the construction of a prototype to manufacture single units of this soft cheese.

This project has two partners besides BLC3, University of Minho and Paulo Rogério’s company. Serra da Estrela PDO cheese is considered one of the best in the world. Nevertheless, it is at risk of extinction given the existent large market indiscipline and the inability to value this product to the consumer. In order to enhance the value chain for both milk producers and cheese factories that produce this protected cheese delicacy from the milk of "Bordaleira Serra da Estrela" sheep's, the project will include the following stages: (a) Creation of an analytical "kit" that distinguishes the cheese made with milk from "Bordaleira Serra da Estrela" sheep from those who use milk from Spain or other geographical regions; (b) Elimination of mould, that hinders the cheese conservation after 35 to 40 days of maturation; (c) Slicing the product into individual doses to respond to new consumption patterns, packing it at the peak of its quality, using a packaging that keeps the slice texture and allows its conservation, without moulds.

Mushrooms have a key role in ecosystems. Changes in natural resources and habitats relating to land use, pollution, fires, invasive species and climate, have potential to influence the structure and composition of mushrooms communities. In this way, the value of diversity and the mushrooms characteristics in their natural habitat are critical research topics in order to address the health, productivity and sustainability of ecosystems. Therefore, it is critical to evaluate the significance of native mushrooms diversity at a local, national and international scale to increase the mushroom reserves in Europe. Similarly, mushrooms with high-added value have a major representation in the emerging support of Bioindustries (e.g. biotechnology, biomedicine, bioenergy), while providing an attractive economic return and services to the ecosystem. Some of the high-added value mushrooms species gain importance not only because of its value to ecosystem functions, but also for their organoleptic and nutritional properties or due to the presence of bioactive compounds. In addition, some mushroom establish a symbiotic relationship with plant roots, called mycorrhizae, recognized as critical mediators in biological and ecological processes, which include nutrient cycling, plant health, soil protection and control of roots biological diseases.

The Centre of Applied Mycology (CAM) mission is to provide basic applied research regarding the diversity and characteristics of value-added mushrooms functional reserves, focusing on the decline of biodiversity, environmental threats and socio-economic problems that Mediterranean forests face nowadays. Besides, it seeks to obtain opportunities for sustainable and innovative business initiatives and support for decision-making policies. The CAM | BLC3 seeks also a new national and international research platform in order to understand and improve the identity of value-added mushrooms reserves to restore and protect native biodiversity and ecosystem services, as well as to determine solutions of productive efficiency, thus ensuring environmental safety. The main objectives of CAM | BLC3 are: (1) report the diversity of value-added mushrooms in the natural territory throughout Europe; (2) develop biotechnological knowledge; (3) build the valorisation capacity of the characteristics and bio-diversity of native mushrooms species to support a sustainable planning management and industrial innovation; (4) build the capacity to support agroforestry and bioindustrial management at European level (e.g. products, production systems, and development of a set of quality and sustainability criteria indicators); (5) develop and promote networks of knowledge and awareness regarding the value of native biodiversity in Europe, in addition to actions related to conservation and sustainability.

Currently the CAM | BLC3 already cooperates with Portuguese, Spanish and Italian research centres.

The goal of this BLC3 biotech project is to explore the economic potential of valuables and co-products of forest ecosystems. The project has a partnership with the Centre for Functional Ecology of the University of Coimbra and Voz da Natureza - an incubated company and "spin-off" of BLC3, whose area of operation is scientific and technological research for the development of innovative products.

The project aims to develop in the central Inner Region of the country the production of native wild mushrooms and search the necessary conditions for truffles production. This project was co-financed by NSRF, with a global investment of € 465,554.18. The Value MicotecTruf contributes not only to the health of plant ecosystems, but also to the development of a high-added value economic activity.

The textile sector of Beira Serra region is an important employer and economic activity sector. Therefore, BLC3 is promoting a textile cluster for the valorisation of this sector, to develop new products and a connection with the Scientific and Technological System. This cluster consists of nine companies in the Central Region.

This union allows an increase in the capacity to generate added-value products with the existent production lines.

The S-MOBIL is an electric mobility project based on 5 cornerstones: "Smart", "Small", "Self", "Security" and "Sustainable". This project is in the pilot stage of development and the main objective it to create a new business model based in a low cost electric mobility, able to meet the challenges inherent to mobility systems.

The main aim of this project is to evaluate, demonstrate and disseminate the sustainable use of ash (from forest biomass residues combustion) combined with organic waste materials (sludge from the pulp and paper industry or compost) to regenerate degraded soils from mining areas in compliance with the EU "Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection". The project will reduce the impact of wastes from the pulp and paper industry on the environment while making better use of valuable resources according to the End-of-Waste criteria and contribute to mitigate greenhouse gases emission.
To show the potential of organic waste in combination with ash to regenerate soils the project will focus on in-situ application of soil amendments using a combination of two types of materials which present alkaline pH and high contents of Ca, Mg, Na, K and P (biomass ash) and high organic matter content (sludge or compost) on a pilot scale at three mining areas located at the Iberian Pyrite belt and to develop a decision support system for the sustainable management and large-scale use of biomass ash.

Coordinating Beneficiary: Universidade de Aveiro
Associated Beneficiares: Association BLC3 - Campus of Tecnology and Innovation, EDM - Empresa de Desenvolvimento Mineiro, S.A., Instituto Politécnico de Beja, Portucel, S.A. and RAIZ - Instituto de Investigação da Floresta e Papel

Truffles and their derived products are high-valued products with increasing highlight in the gourmet sector. Through the project Truflavours, the consortium Voz da Natureza, Associação BLC3 and Escola Superior Agrária aims at the development and application of new technologies that will further benefit the agroforest, catering and food industry sectors. Aiming at the creation of groundbreaking high-valued products, differentiated from the currently existent on the market, the Truflavours project aims at exploiting several business opportunities related to its two main products: ( i ) plants mycorrhized with Terfezia and Tuber; and ( ii ) truffle aroma for application by the food industry. This will be achieved by pursuing different research activities, namely at the truficulture and biotechnology level, the latter accomplished by production of natural truffle aroma in a bioreactor.

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Atualmente o aumento do tempo de prateleira, via mercado biológico, através da redução significativa de conservantes no contexto do mercado cleanlabel, e ainda a procura do consumidor por alimentos mais saudáveis, é um dos principais desafios da indústria alimentar. A utilização de filmes e revestimentos comestíveis tem-se revelado uma tecnologia com grande potencial para atingir maiores tempos de prateleira, assegurando simultaneamente a segurança alimentar e atributos de qualidade. As exigências de mercado têm levado à necessidade de aposta em compostos alternativos para aplicação em revestimentos que inativem as reações deteriorantes nos alimentos ao mesmo tempo que garantem os seus atributos de qualidade esperados pelo consumidor.
Os compostos que constituem os revestimentos devem cumprir determinados requisitos, nomeadamente ter origem natural, serem renováveis e edíveis, devendo ainda, se possível, conferir aos revestimentos propriedades bioativas e conservantes. A procura de novos compostos abriu novas oportunidades para a incorporação de conservantes naturais derivados de plantas, animais, bactérias, algas e fungos que atuam como agentes antioxidantes e antimicrobianos. Entre os fungos, os cogumelos são geralmente consumidos como alimentos e foi já demonstrado, nomeadamente pelo grupo operacional, que possuem potencial para serem usados como fonte de antimicrobianos e antioxidantes. Assim, a aposta em cogumelos de espécies silvestres (coprodutos florestais, sem valor alimentar) e cogumelos de produção (por recurso a substratos agroflorestais) como fonte de compostos funcionais apresenta-se como uma ótima oportunidade de alto valor acrescentado. Tendo em consideração os mais recentes desenvolvimentos, o principal objetivo desta iniciativa é a aplicação de compostos bioativos de origem natural, via cogumelos que produzam compostos funcionais, em revestimentos comestíveis para o mercado alimentar, para aumentar o tempo de prateleira, atribuindo novas propriedades como atividade antioxidante, antimicrobiana e enzimática.

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Nesta iniciativa pretende-se com o recurso a fitoestrogénios melhorar a interação entre o fungo e a planta, de forma a criar condições mais favoráveis ao estabelecimento da associação simbiótica entre os dois organismos. Desta forma, criar-se-á mais-valia de forma a tornar sustentáveis as áreas de espécies autóctones exploradas em longas rotações, criando um retorno económico a curto prazo através da produção de cogumelos comestíveis, potenciando e inovando as suas produções. Portugal e a sua floresta possuem as condições ideais para a produção biológica de cogumelos silvestres, uma vez que o território é influenciado por dois tipos de clima: o atlântico e o mediterrâneo. Há, no entanto, outros fatores para além do clima, que aumentam a complexidade e diversidade da floresta portuguesa, como a natureza do solo, a proximidade do mar e a altitude, tudo em benefício de condições únicas para a proliferação e desenvolvimento de cogumelos de sabor intenso.

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Em resposta às necessidades dos consumidores de produtos com ingredientes naturais à base de plantas e seus extratos, têm surgido cada vez mais no mercado, principalmente na forma de “snacks” e bebidas. A aceitabilidade destes produtos tem sido elevada, o que tem levado a uma crescente investigação e inovação na área de ingredientes vegetais. Contudo, os ingredientes à base de plantas e dos seus extratos têm sido principalmente obtidos a partir de espécies não endógenas (ex.: ginseng e hibisco), não sendo exploradas fontes vegetais endógenas portuguesas como as frutas tradicionais (ex.: refugos ou fruta com calibre de maçã, cereja e o Marmelo) e plantas aromáticas (ex.: rosmaninho e hortelã menta). As espécies vegetais endógenas portuguesas apresentam uma composição nutricional e rica em compostos bioativos que tem vindo a ser explorada e comprovada cientificamente, mas que não tem sido devidamente valorizada no contexto do mercado alimentar.

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A inovação e o aumento de conhecimento sobre um importante recurso da floresta portuguesa, suporta a sua exploração de forma diferenciada em relação aos produtores dos mercados externos, aumentando a eficiência e a competitividade da gestão florestal. A resina portuguesa destaca-se da restante produção internacional pela sua qualidade superior e potencial de aplicação para a indústria da química fina. Contudo, essa vertente não tem sido explorada, nem a influência e a variabilidade da resina na qualidade da goma de resina. O principal valor acrescentado da goma de resina envolve a bio-transformação dos seus compostos (ácidos), principalmente através de isomerização para ácido abiético e desidrogenação a ácido desidroabiético: novos produtos com potencial de aplicação na indústria da química fina.

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O queijo Serra da Estrela é um produto DOP (Denominação de Origem Protegida) reconhecido pelo seu estado amanteigado caraterístico e atributos sensoriais únicos (um dos melhores queijos de montanha do mundo e uma das 7 Maravilhas da Gastronomia Portuguesa). Porém, as grandes pressões do mercado e falta de capacidade de adaptação ao mercado tem conduzido à sua desvalorização económica em 30% desde 2000.
Como produto com selo DOP, o queijo Serra da Estrela está sujeito a uma área geográfica delimitada e a determinadas condições de origem das matérias-primas, de fabrico e de comercialização para proteger a sua DOP (promover os seus atributos exclusivos e reforçar a sua credibilidade). A garantia da origem das matérias-primas constitui uma das maiores problemáticas do queijo Serra da Estrela. Apesar da obrigatoriedade de utilização exclusiva de leite extraído de duas raças autóctones de ovelhas (Serra da Estrela e Churra Mondegueira) com base nas pastagens locais, há uma necessidade em garantir a qualidade do leite.
O projeto ProDop pretende desenvolver técnicas e metodologias rápidas e económicas de análise e validação da qualidade do leite.

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SuperPi intends to carry out the technological demonstration of a lignocellulosic biomass pyrolysis process, in a biorefinery context, based on a system of “multi-input” of simultaneous raw materials from bushes and agroforestry residues, for the production of “Bio-oil” for future cascade enhancement (advanced biofuels and other bioproducts with high value-added products) through technological optimization of an existing process in place at BLC3. It offers great potential for the development of economic activity in territories abandoned by the valorization of bushes, providing positive externalities in the mitigation of large rural / forest fires by reducing fuel loads.
The SuperPi project is co-financed by Fundo de Apoio à Inovação in the amount of 199.848,00 Euros.

O projeto MOBFOOD tem como objetivo responder aos desafios relacionados com a promoção de uma indústria alimentar nacional mais competitiva. Passará pela promoção de novas estratégias de crescimento baseadas no reforço da capacidade tecnológica, de inovação e de I&DT orientadas à obtenção de novos produtos, serviços, processos ou tecnnologias, atuando ao longo de toda a cadeia de valor e reforçando a colaboração entre o setor empresarial e não empresarial. Pretende-se que o setor alimentar seja sustentável, totalmente integrado, interligado, transparente, resiliente, seguro, eficiente na utilização dos recursos e centrado no consumidor. Pretende-se alcançar estes objetivos através da implementação de soluções em três pilares principais: "Segurança Alimentar e Sustentabilidade", "Alimentação para a Saúde e Bem-estar" e "Alimentos Seguros e Qualidade", materializando-se na investigação e desenvolvimento de novos processos, produtos ou serviços.

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This project aims to provide a platform for the valorization of by-products from the agricultural, agri-food and forestry sector through the following approach methodology:

  1. Create an observatory of results of national and international projects, with the aim of finding new applications for by-products of the sectors (subsectors) mentioned above;
  2. Conduct a survey among the members of the National Rural Network (RRN) to identify and characterize the by-products, with residual or even negative economic value, resulting from their activities. This survey should also verify the existence of members that can add value to other members' by-products;
  3. Streamline periodic technology transfer sessions, that alert to new ways of valuing by-products. These sessions should transmit handling and care of the materials (by-products) in question, so that they do not lose their characteristics and recovery potential (volatile molecules, biochemical transformations, changes in humidity levels, etc.);
  4. Create a platform in a web environment that enables a meeting exchange between producers of by-products and its users. Thus, those who produce can refer to location, quantities and qualities, allowing the "new user" to easily find his "supplier";
  5. Assess the socio-economic impact of the project.

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O projeto 3i Bioeconomia pretende dinamizar uma rede de competências para a transferência de conhecimento e intensificação tecnológica em Bioeconomia produzida pelos copromotores para o setor empresarial, valorizando os resultados de I&I com as necessidades de mercado.
O objetivo Central do Consórcio 3i Bioeconomia é dinamizar uma rede de competências para a transferência de conhecimento e intensificação tecnológica em Bioeconomia produzida pelos copromotores para o setor empresarial, valorizando os resultados de I&I com as necessidades de mercado, promover a transferência de tecnologia e de conhecimento para o mercado, nos seus vários sectores e com uma cobertura territorial alargada às regiões Norte, Centro e Alentejo, bem como as externalidades positivas decorrentes da sua implementação, em particular com a criação de novas empresas, e consequentemente com a geração de mais emprego.

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