On 13th June 2023, the Hungarian BIKE Partners (AKI Nonprofit Ltd. in partnership with Discovery Center Nonprofit Ltd.) organized a national BIKE Open Lab in Hungary (in Nagylók and Szabadegyháza). The theme of the Open Lab was to showcase “Opportunities and good practices for sustainable biomass production and processing”. The event took place in two consecutive stations of the biofuel value chain with the first phase on a farm and the second phase in a bioethanol factory and attracted stakeholders from across the entire biofuel value chain (including farmers, policymakers, scientists, and other market players).
The programme was opened by Katalin Rácz, Research Director of AKI Nonprofit Ltd., who highlighted the importance of cooperation between the different value chain actors in research as well as the need for environmental, social and economic sustainability. The Hungarian BIKE team’s first presentation was given by Csilla Óvári (AKI) on the “National targets and opportunities in biomass and renewable energy production” where she detailed the legislative requirements and environmental challenges producers are facing currently. Dr. Katalin Mozsgai (AKI) backed up her presentation next, by showcasing “Results of the BIKE project and its technical recommendations for sustainable biomass production”. In her presentation, she discussed the potential of new agricultural crop species identified in the project, the opportunities for obtaining low-ILUC risk (Indirect Land Use Change) certification, and the additionality measures that are required for obtaining the certification. To give practical examples of low-ILUC risk production methods, Péter Prescher (Feri Mezőgazdasági Bt.) together with Dr. Vince Láng (Discovery Ltd.) showcased the success of precision farming techniques and no-till farming as additionality measures. Besides increased yields, they also demonstrated how these measures had positive impacts on soil health.
Afterward, the participants visited the Hungrana Starch and Isosugar Manufacturing and Trading Ltd. (Hungrana Kft.) company site where Izabella Bakó, ISCC auditor (Bureau Veritas Magyarország Kft.) presented how ISCC certifies farmers under the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification Scheme (ISCC-EU) sustainability criteria – highlighting special information for farmers on the audit process. Finally, Dr. Szabolcs Magyar and Krisztián Juhász, technical and production directors of Hungrana Kft. presented the company’s various production processes from corn as feedstock to native corn starch, sugar products, and bioethanol, a dehydrated alcohol specifically used in fuels. Bioethanol produced by Hungrana Kft. has a GHG emission savings rate of well above the EU average, over 80% compared to motor gasoline, making it increasingly preferred on the European market. The event ended with a guided tour of the factory, where the participants were able to see the production facilities in operation as well as some of the products.