Biorefineries are an engine for sustainable rural development in the EU

Date

12 May 2017

Sections

Agriculture & Food
Hungarian biorefinery creates 2,000 jobs in rural location.

Press release

Biorefineries are one of the few industries with the potential to attract substantial capital investment and create industry led employment in rural environments, a new research report published presented at a conference hosted by EurActiv in Brussels today highlights. During 2016, the Hungarian Academy of Science conducted a landmark research project, the first of its kind, on the socio/economic impact of a fully operating biorefinery on a rural community in an EU member state. It shows that biorefineries can be a key instrument in reviving disadvantaged rural communities across the EU.  Entitled ‘Sustainable Rural Renaissance: The Case of a Biorefinery’*, the research was conducted at the Pannonia Ethanol biorefinery at Dunafoldvar in Hungary.  Keynote speaker at the conference was the Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness of the European Commission, Jyrki Katainen.

Speaking at the conference today, Eric Sievers, Director of Investment for the biorefinery’s parent company, Ethanol Europe Renewables, said: “Generating investment and employment in remote areas is a major challenge. There are few industries that can attract capital investment to rural areas, create jobs, support farming, mitigate outmigration to cities and enhance community welfare. Biorefining is one such industry that can be a powerful tool for rural renaissance and convergence of regions. This is precisely the kind of project that leads to the Fair Jobs and Growth that are central to President Juncker’s vision for a ‘more social Europe’ “.

“This research shows an important pathway to reviving disadvantaged rural communities. It is a whole lot easier to create jobs in urban environments.  Doing it further away from business centres is much more challenging. Conventional biorefineries provide an attractive future in rural environments, and at the same time contribute to climate change mitigation and energy independence. They can be an engine for sustainable growth and rural development in the EU”

The results of the research show the biorefinery contributes to rural renaissance through four main channels:

  • It directly and indirectly creates jobs requiring skilled labour in the rural space. In this case, it created over 2,000 direct and indirect jobs. It helps to keep qualified and skilled labour in place and prevents selective out-migration which could lead to a decrease in human capital.
  • As a significant contributor to local business tax, it helps maintain or improve the standard of public services provided locally.
  • It creates permanent and predictable demand for a wide range of suppliers, which boosts competitiveness of the local economy, diversifies activities and stimulates service employment.
  • It mitigates price fluctuations for corn, bringing predictable and stable demand to the Hungarian corn market. This is turn stimulates investment in farming technology, reducing risks for investments. Every second investment in farming technology was found to be less likely to materialise without the presence of the ethanol plant.

The Dunafoldvar biorefinery is located in a rural area on the banks of the Danube 100 kilometres from Budapest and 10 kilometres from the nearest town.  Farms in the region supply over one million tons of corn to the plant each year.  Protein rich animal feed, bioethanol and corn oil are produced from this feedstock, 300,000 tons of animal feed, 450 million litres of bioethanol and 10,000 tons of corn oil.  Local processing of the corn for export adds considerable monetary and nutritional value to the raw material.

http://www.pannoniaethanol.com/en/news/the-socio-economic-impact-of-a-biorefinery-on-rural-renaissance

Reference:     
James Cogan, +39 393 838 4174
Joe Murray, +353 86 2534950

Issued by Pannonia Ethanol Zrt on May 12th, 2017.

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