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Towards eco-energetic communities (TWECOM)
Start date: May 11, 2011, End date: Dec 30, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The aim of the project is to valorize the up till now unused biomass from landscape elements in a sustainable way for heat and energy production on local scale. Landscape elements like hedgerows for example have had economic functions in the past and are typical for a large part of NW-Europe. In the 20th century this economic use disappeared. Landscape elements disappeared for this reason in many regions. As landscape elements also have ecological (biodiversity) and social (recreation. regional identity) functions. efforts to for landscape management were set up. This costs a lot and isn't sustainable on long term. as subsidies are not guaranteed in the future. Revalorizing the biomass from landscape in an economically feasible way. with respect for ecological and social functions. is the main aim of this project. As the search for renewable energy sources is really actual. time has come to think about this revalorization of this unused biomass. Because of the links with biodiversity and cultural heritage. tourism. recreation. this biomass has not been valorized yet in many cases. This project will prove that. tthrough cooperation with all involved stakeholders. an economic (re)valorization is possible. As this is an actual issue in many parts of NW-Europe (similar agricultural and thus landscape element history). cooperation in this NWE-region is obvious and necessary. Achievements: TWECOM wants to demonstrate that local valorisation of biomass from landscape elements is feasible, taking into account other functions these landscape elements have such as ecological, cultural and social.For this the TWECOM partnership has assessed the different parts of a local valorisation chain. Not only economic parameters were taken into account, but also ecological and cultural aspects played an important role in deciding the way of valorisation. One of the conclusions is that differences in the local situation will influence the choices made. There is no universal best practice, but the parameters determining the choice are common. A manual will help people in making the right decision regarding the techniques and machinery.The cooperative appeared to be the most favourable organisational concept to associate all different stakeholders in a local valorisation initiative. Assessment was done regarding this subject. Similar to the machinery and techniques section, local differences will determine the exact type of cooperative concept that will be most favourable. Not only differences in legislation between countries, but even differences between regions in the kind of stakeholders participating will influence the type of organisational concept.A key aspect in the economic feasibility of these initiatives will be the planning. As landscape elements have many functions in our landscape, constraints will have to be taken into account. To reconcile the needs of all these functions, a smart planning tool was developed by the TWECOM partnership. DIPLA (Digital Platform Landscape) is a GIS based online planning tool that can be used by people who are active in landscape management. The planning tool was designed, developed and tested within the partnership. To ensure the continuation of the planning tool after the project, a cooperative was founded.All aspects mentioned above are tested and combined in 2 pilot areas, one in Belgium and one in UK. The Belgian pilot has progressed well. The local cooperative was founded and is installing the heating system in a farmers school campus at the moment. Farmers have organised and were educated to do the harvesting of the landscape elements. A harvesting plan taking into account the different functions of the landscape elements in the area is being worked out jointly with the local stakeholders. The DIPLA tool is used to integrate all these aspects and make sure the whole valorisation chain can work in a feasible way.
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