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Converting bio-based feedstocks via chemical building blocks into advanced materials for market applications


Demonstrate at industrial scale the techno-economic viability of transforming one or multiple bio-based feedstocks into one or more bio-based chemical building blocks (such as diacids and diols, but focussing on the ones not used for energy), targeting a production capacity of at least 5,000 ton/year. Proposals should also address their further conversion into bio-materials for identified applications, as part of an integrated biorefinery concept applying a cascading approach.

Proposals should pursue all possible means of industrial symbiosis within and beyond the bio-based industrial sector. Furthermore, proposals should aim at the integration of actors along the whole value chain and, wherever possible, make use of existing facilities.

Proposals should prove the sustainable and economical access to sufficient raw material to set up the whole value chain, and include activities to ensure the functioning/organisation of a sustainable supply chain.

Proposals will assess market demand of the targeted products and will consider market-pull related activities (for example standardisation and consumers’ perception) aimed at facilitating their market uptake.

Proposals are expected to verify and validate safety, quality, sustainability and purity of end-products to meet commercial requirements. Benchmarking of the targeted products and processes against commercially existing alternatives from fossil origin should also be considered.

The leading role of relevant industrial partners is considered essential to achieve the full impact.

Proposals should include a Life Cycle Sustainability Analysis in order to evaluate the environmental, social and economic performance of the developed products and the whole value chain.

Proposals should achieve a system that is complete and qualified for successful commercial operation (Technology Readiness Level 8).

It is considered that proposals with a total eligible budget of up to EUR 35 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals with another budget.

Terrestrial biomass is the most abundant resource of fixed renewable carbon on earth. It is present in resources such as food crops and woody crops, as well as in agricultural and forest residues. This enormous resource of fixed renewable carbon is an attractive feedstock-base for a bio-based industry, provided this is realised in a sustainable fashion, without loss of biodiversity, not causing indirect land use change (ILUC) nor negatively affecting food security. Tapping this resource in the EU for the production of bio-based chemicals and materials, will accelerate the establishment of an EU-wide bio-based industry and contributing to the goals of Europe 2020. Today, most polymers such as polyesters, polyamides and polyolefins depart from fossil-based chemicals as building blocks. However, there are also various routes to convert biomass or bio-based feedstocks into chemicals, polymers and materials.

Projects at demonstration level (Technology Readiness Levels 6-7) already pursue the establishment of these new value chains by using bio-chemical, chemical or other technologies and processes. However, the challenge lies in establishing at industrial scale (Technology Readiness Level 8) first-of-a-kind, cost-effective biorefineries that convert biomass into chemicals, polymers and materials for identified applications.

  • Opening up of significant potential for job creation in rural areas. Creating green jobs and facilitating the development of entrepreneurial activities throughout the entire value chain, with advantages for the primary sector (agriculture and forestry), the secondary sector (such as logistics, bio-product transformation industry) and the tertiary sector.
  • Improved cost-efficiency and sustainability of bio-based chemical building blocks (such as diacids or diols) as compared to fossil-based ones.
  • Contributing to the BBI JU Key Performance Indicators (KPI), specifically:
    • Creation of at least 1 new cross-sectorial interconnection in bio-based economy clusters (KPI 1), a new local bio-based value chain (KPI 2) that maximises the use of virgin or processed biomass for the production of bio-based chemicals and materials, at least 3 new cooperation projects involving relevant stakeholders, such as farmers, forest-owners, industrial stakeholders and end-users (KPI 3), at least 2 bio-based materials (with at least 80% of bio-based content) validated from technical, economic and environmental perspectives (KPI 5).
  • Contributing to realising the objectives of Biotechnology and/or other Key Enabling Technologies under Horizon 2020 and dedicated EU policy to address the development of scientific and technological know-how in key enabling technologies and its translation into industrial products and solutions to societal challenges.