Interreg IIIA interdisciplinary ”Reed Strategy in Estonia and Finland” project brought out the concept of integrated coastal planning and Reed Strategy in 2007. It created a framework for wider utilization and gave an idea for the new project, which focuses on the bioenergy production with reed, and looks for new ways to use reed in the construction industry. COFREEN-project delves deep into utilization theme and develops cooperation, know how, practices, which can directly be established, and helps financing incentives, like investment support, to emerge. The objective of the project is to execute sustainable managing of reed beds in Southern Finland, Estonia and Latvia. In addition the project creates concepts for using reed biomass as a local source of bioenergy and construction material. Activities support ICZM (Integrated Coastal Zone Management) and counteract climate change. The proper management of reed beds leads to optimal and sustainable use of the biomass, and in addition has positive effects on water quality and biodiversity. This requires forward looking but realistic attitudes, innovative education methods and hard down-to-earth work. Concepts are created with the help of three different pilot cases, where the use of reed will be tested and developed. In Finland, the Southwest Countryside College executes one of the pilot cases with its own boiler house, a biogas plant and a local unused reed bed. In Estonia the pilot cases are located in Värska and Muhu municipalities. Their focus is to find use for leftover material from reed roofs and to develop construction materials and bioenergy. In Latvia there is a huge conservation area, Lake Pape, where reed is cut, but is not further processed. Solutions will be found with a large scale testing in harvesting, storage, transportation and processing, and cost efficiency calculations will be performed. The pilot cases take place in a network of managed areas, and create an operational model for the utilization of reed in practice. With the help of the concept, communities can increase their ecological and economical sustainability and competitiveness by using local biomass comprehensively in energy production, construction, waste management, water protection systems, and decoration. Impacts on employment will be long-lasting continuous. With the help of five WP’s the objectives of the project can be achieved. With a good Management and coordination (WP1) the project creates a good basis for environmental managing (WP2) and according to the strategy, models can be developed (WP3). The best practices are shared with education and training (WP4) and results are disseminated with concrete information (WP5).
The COFREEN project created concepts for using reed biomass as a bioenergy source and assisted Southern Finland, Estonia and Latvia in the sustainable management of coastal reed beds, thus providing several benefits for both the local communities and nature. Three model areas were selected in Southern Finland, Estonia and Latvia, where partners developed the most cost-efficient ways to harvest, pre-process, transport and process the reed into energy. Furthermore, the partners tested the usability of reed for construction and insulation purposes in laboratory circumstances and in small-scale model constructions. The knowledge gained from these tests has allowed the project to design concepts for reed energy and construction use. Other activities included promoting reed-entrepreneurship among local people by creating business models as well as the development of a bioenergy curriculum for educational institutes.