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Biopolymers with advanced functionalities for high performance applications


Develop and validate biopolymers with advanced functionalities for demanding sectors such as (but not limited to):

  • the biomedical sector, requiring biopolymers and derived materials with bio-compatibility and/or surface functionalisation (such as for antibacterial purposes);
  • the construction, automotive and aerospace sectors, in need of biopolymers to produce lightweight plastics and composites with excellent structural properties.

Proposals should lead to development of bio-based polymers and derived materials with unprecedented properties, clearly identifying the reference sectors and products and addressing the relevant product requirements (such as inhibit, suppress or delay the production of flames in aerospace applications). Proposal should aim to produce prototypes to be tested against relevant standards and applicable certifications.

The projects should cover any Technology Readiness Level (TRL) from 3 to 5. In the case of a pilot scale project (TRL 5), proposals should present a credible cost estimate for the proposed processes with a preliminary assessment of their competitiveness when scaled up.

Proposals should also include an environmental and socio-economic assessment, for example with an LCA. In particular, when targeting TRL 5, proposals should include an LCA in order to evaluate the environmental and socio-economic performance of the developed processes.

It is considered that proposals with a total eligible budget in the range of EUR 2-5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals with another budget.

With an expected significant growth in the next 4 years, biopolymers represent one of the leading sectors for bio-based products. The main driver behind this trend has up to now been the need to substitute conventional fossil-based materials with more sustainable bio-based ones, in particular in large volume consumer products such as packaging.

The ability of bio-based polymers to achieve improved functionalities, surpassing those of fossil-based ones, or even realising functionalities that are not achievable by fossil-based polymers offers opportunities to expand market applications for biopolymers far beyond the current state-of-play. In particular, these opportunities exist in high value market niches that require advanced functionalities.

  • Validated, enhanced properties with substantial advancements as compared to best available products:
    • New features to improve sustainability (for example reusability, recyclability and/or biodegradability) while still meeting all performance requirements; or
    • Completely new functionalities with clear added-value in new applications.
  • Contribution to the BBI JU Key Performance Indicators (KPI), specifically:
  • Set the basis for the realisation of new bio-based materials (KPI 5) and new demonstrated consumer products based on bio-based chemicals and materials (KPI 6).