Aila Paloniemi I JAMK University of Applied Sciences Ltd. Chairperson I MP

Infinite possibilities in bioeconomy

" Bioeconomy is also one of the focus areas of JAMK University of Applied Sciences. We see huge growth potential in bioeconomy."

(JAMK's annual report 2014)

The urban region of the City of Jyväskylä is part of a strong bioeconomy industry and innovation cluster. The forest industry and related machinery and equipment construction produce over 50% of the industrial added value in the region. Over 85% of electricity and heat are produced using local fuels. With the exception of traffic, the region of Central Finland wants to be free of the use of fossil fuels by 2020. Biomass resources, particularly forest resources, are a crucial local raw material which offers a foundation for both current and future regional economies.

Bioeconomy is also one of the focus areas of JAMK University of Applied Sciences. We see huge growth potential in bioeconomy. Finland has strong competitive advantages: biomass resources, the world’s fourth highest biocapacity per capita after Bolivia, Congo, and Canada, science and technology expertise, business expertise and a large number of enterprises succeeding in the global market. Scarce resources and the need to slow climate change all increase global demand.

For example, in the United States, 20% of chemicals and up to 50% of special chemicals are estimated to be biomass based in 2025. Different biomasses form important raw material resources in Finland, and, combined with high quality competence and natural values, we have an exceptionally good starting point for benefitting from the impending change.

Bioeconomy offers infinite possibilities, such as the production of bio based consumer goods, bioplastic, composites and textile fibres. Wood is utilised in constructed environments, and renewable energy in living, transportation and industrial solutions. Medicines and many other things can be produced using biotechnology.

Global demand develops rapidly, which is why we must enter the market immediately. Finland must look to the future, identify market opportunities and know-how to select the spearheads of Finnish expertise. At this pace, we will not obtain the bioeconomy pioneer status we are looking for. We must courageously adopt new operating models. Many countries have already prepared strategies for the utilisation of bioeconomy and a large number of global enterprises have taken an active approach. We must squeeze more euros out of our raw materials and this can be accomplished through higher added value.

The national bioeconomy strategy under preparation by the government must, above all, be sufficiently concrete. Plausible financial investments must be made in bioeconomy and, most importantly, an operating environment must be created for bioeconomy experimentation. Commercialisation, the replicability of small projects and the development of biologistics play key roles. We need more public debate and pressure in order to promote bioeconomy.

The mission of JAMK University of Applied Sciences’ Institute of Bioeconomy, located in Saarijärvi, is to serve as an international researcher, expert, trainer and entrepreneurship and business developer in the field of bioeconomy. The objective of the operations is to support entrepreneurship related to renewable energy, agriculture and clean water as well as a significant increase in employment in Central Finland. The focus areas of energy related development activities are biofuel production, quality management and logistics, combustion technology and emission control as well as entrepreneurship and business activities in the field of bioenergy. Such elements offer great prospects for raising the profile of Central Finland.