LCE-13-2015 - Partnering with Brazil on advanced biofuels
This topic is subject to completion of an agreement with the Brazilian government and thus the text may still change.
Specific challenge:Decarbonising the transport sector is a major challenge in the global fight against climate change. As such, it is a crucial element in the EU Energy Roadmap 2050 and in the Brazilian National Policy for Climate Change.
In the short-term and medium-term perspective, biofuels are expected to be the main contributors to this de-carbonisation. In order to achieve the EU and Brazil policy targets in this domain, and to address concerns regarding environmental impacts of biofuels, new and advanced biofuels using sustainable feedstock need to reach the market.
Brazil is an essential partner in this sector: it has outstanding expertise, a well-established and highly competitive first-generation industry, as well as optimal conditions for the development of an advanced biofuel industry.
Hence in the framework of the EU-Brazil S&T Cooperation Agreement, the European Commission representing the European Union and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI) of the Government of Brazil are working together to benefit from the complementarities in research and innovation, in order to foster the development of advanced biofuels and accelerate their commercialisation both in Brazil and in Europe.
The advanced biofuel technologies to reach first commercial maturity will most likely be linked to and find its basis on the current production systems with high economic and environmental performance, such as the sugarcane based ethanol. The joint work should thus focus on the development of advanced biofuel technologies that can be integrated in existing sugarcane-based biofuel processes.
To this end, the following sub-challenges should be addressed:
- Exploiting synergies between Brazil and Europe in terms of scientific expertise, industrial capacity and resources.
- Proving that the integration of advanced biofuels technologies into existing sugarcane ethanol plants is technically feasible, cost competitive and environmentally and socio-economically sustainable at commercial scale. Joint work should build upon the Brazilian sugarcane ethanol model, and benefit from the Brazilian and European experience in biofuels.
- Developing or improving logistic systems for a sound and sustainable feedstock supply.
Scope: Proposals should address the first sub-challenge presented above, and at least one of the other two. They should bring technology solutions to a higher TRL level.
Proposals should aim at moving technologies that reached already TRL 4-6 to TRL 5-7 (please see part G of the General Annexes) through industrial demonstration projects, which may include supporting R&D activities if needed.
Biofuels produced from starch, sugar and oil fractions of food/feed crops are excluded.
All proposals have to include a work package on ’the business case’ of the technology solution being addressed. That work package has to demonstrate the business case of the technology and identify potential issues of public acceptance, market and regulatory barriers, including standardisation needs. It should also address, where appropriate, synergies between new and existing technologies, regional approaches and other socio-economic and environmental aspects from a life-cycle perspective. An assessment of alternative uses of the used feedstocks outside the bioenergy sector should also be done.
The exploitation of results, including IPR, should be appropriately addressed in the proposals. This involves, inter alia, ensuring a balanced role of Brazilian and European partners in such exploitation.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 5 to 10 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Expected impact: Testing advanced biofuel technologies at pre-commercial industrial scale reduces the technological risks, paving the way for a subsequent market replication. For this purpose, the scale of the projects should permit obtaining the data and experience required so that a first-of-a-kind, commercial-scale industrial project can be envisaged as a next step. The industrial concepts demonstrated should have the potential for a significant social and economic impact, notably in terms of job opportunities and wealth creation in rural areas of Brazil or Europe. Clearly positive environmental impact should also be obtained.
Proposals should appropriately exploit the complementarities between the EU and Brazil, and pave the way for significant enhancement in the cooperation between key researchers, institutions and industries that are active in biofuel research and innovation in the EU and Brazil.
Type of action: Innovation Actions