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“Empowering Regional Food Value Chains: EENOVA Carries Out Training And First Roundtable Across Five Regions”

The EENOVA project, aimed at enhancing the energy efficiency of regional food value chains, recently marked a significant milestone with its inaugural roundtable discussions across all five participating regions. This collaborative effort, involving a diverse consortium of energy and food industry experts, underscores a proactive approach towards addressing energy challenges within the food production and distribution sectors.

At the heart of Roundtable 1 was the crucial task of assessing the current status quo of existing regional value chains through comprehensive energy audits. These audits, conducted either on existing infrastructure or newly established systems, serve as the foundation for identifying areas of improvement and implementing targeted solutions. By closely engaging with local companies, the EENOVA project acts as an independent facilitator, empowering businesses to take actionable steps towards optimising their energy usage and maximising efficiency across the entire value chain.

Central to the success of the EENOVA project is the collaboration between energy experts and non-energy partners primarily focused on the food industry. Recognising the need for a common understanding of energy-related issues, the project also recently facilitated specialised energy training sessions. The sessions covered a wide spectrum of topics, including energy auditing, non-energy benefits of investment projects, greenhouse gas accounting along the food chain, and the concept of industrial symbiosis. By fostering knowledge exchange and capacity building, these initiatives lay the groundwork for sustainable energy management practices that extend beyond the duration of the project. These sessions equipped non-energy experts with the necessary knowledge to effectively integrate energy considerations into the broader context of food value chain management. In regions where energy expertise lies within the consortium, such as Austria and Slovenia, internal resources were leveraged. Conversely, in regions like Bulgaria, Lithuania, and Romania, external auditors were engaged, necessitating effective communication and alignment between partners and auditors.

The commitment to energy efficiency was palpable during the roundtable discussions, with all participating companies expressing a keen interest in investing in sustainable, energy-efficiency measures. Topics covered during the sessions were diverse, ranging from equipment optimisation and renewable energy integration to transportation logistics and internal workflow enhancements. This holistic approach underscores the multifaceted nature of energy efficiency within the food industry, where improvements can be realised across various operational domains, including heating, cooling, and working conditions.

Looking ahead, the insights gleaned from the roundtable discussions and training sessions will inform the development of the EENOVA replication model, which aims to facilitate the adoption of energy-efficient practices across diverse regional contexts. By harnessing the collective expertise of its consortium partners and fostering collaboration between industry stakeholders, the EENOVA project is poised to drive meaningful change within the regional food value chains, paving the way for a more sustainable and resilient future.

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