Champagne-Ardennes, in association with the neighbouring region, Picardy, is famous for being a very fertile agricultural area on a European and global scale, and for its arable crops in particular (cereals, oleaginous, beetroot).
Agricultural production adapts and diversifies to meet the challenges of sustainable development. Faced with the programmed disappearance of fossil-based resources, the application of agricultural resources has become a major challenge for our future. These new non-food outlets also correspond to the urgent need to limit the production of greenhouse gases.
In order to meet these new challenges, major players in the early days of the food processing industry used cooperative and industrial means. However, after several years, they diversified towards non-food replacement applications and new markets such as biofuels, white biotechnology and green chemistry, as well as new materials (packaging, insulation and construction, etc.).
An internationally-oriented competitive cluster
The goal of the Pôle de Compétitivité “Industries et Agro-Ressources” (IAR) [“Industries and Agricultural Resources” Competitive Cluster] is to be the European point of reference for the industrial use of agricultural resources by 2015. It aims to unite stakeholders in research, teaching and industry within Champagne-Ardennes and Picardy around a common theme : the non-food applications of plant resources.
Four areas for strategic action have thus been identified and grouped together under the biorefinery concept:
The aim and the strategy of this ‘Industries and Agricultural Resources’ cluster are to combine the competencies and technologies for the extraction, transformation and formulation of biomass components, in order to complete all the stages – from the laboratory to industrial development – of an innovative project that forms part of the overall perspective of sustainable development.