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Scale up conversion of lignin into valuable compounds for application in specific market sectors


Scale up proven technologies to convert lignin into compounds for added-value products at suitable quantities and quality for testing and validating their desired performance in specific market sectors.

This topic includes any lignin-rich feedstock, provided it can be sourced and converted in a way that is sustainable both from an environmental and an economic perspective. Proposals should apply the principle of the cascading use of biomass to ensure high efficiency of resource use.
Proposals should demonstrate that the developed technologies will achieve a conversion rate of at least 60%. The conversion rate is defined as the share of carbon contained in the input lignin that is converted into valuable products, thus excluding the potential share of biomass diverted to energy use (even though such energetic usage aims at increasing the overall sustainability of the process).
Proposals should address all requirements for IA - demonstration actions as shown in Table 3 of the Annual Work Plan 2019.
The technology readiness level (TRL) at the end of the project should be 6-7. Proposals should clearly state the starting and end TRL of the key technology or technologies targeted in the project.

It is considered that proposals requesting a maximum contribution of EUR 7 million would be able to address this specific challenge appropriately. However, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expanding the use of lignin as a feedstock for conversion into chemicals and materials such as fibres, resins and composites, is being researched and developed through the use of several technologies. Some of these technologies are proving themselves at pilot level.
The applicability of lignin-based materials is enormous because of their high versatility and variety. Market actors in various sectors are demanding suitable quantities of lignin-based products at specified qualities to test application in their end products. Industry needs to scale up the developed technologies in an industrial setting and prove their technical and economic feasibility in dedicated value chains. While delivering higher quantities of the targeted products, industry also needs to achieve and validate the performance of the products intended to meet market demand. Achieving both quantity and quality as required by the market, will set the basis for an extensive uptake of lignin-based products.
The specific challenge is to demonstrate the efficient and sustainable conversion of lignin into compounds (intermediates and/or final products) that are applicable in a variety of market applications.

▪ contribute to KPI 1: create at least one new cross-sector interconnection in the bio-based economy;
▪ contribute to KPI 2: create at least one new bio-based value chain;
▪ contribute to KPI 6: demonstrate at least one new ‘consumer’ product based on lignin-based compounds that meets market requirements.
▪ replace fossil-based counterparts with lignin-based materials in targeted applications;
▪ increase the overall resource efficiency;
▪ when using lignin-rich residual streams as feedstock, reduce diversion of these streams to lower value uses such as energy production compared with the state of the art;
▪ reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
▪ lay the basis for lower production costs of the targeted lignin-based products at commercial levels as compared with existing alternative production processes;

▪ increase income and business opportunities for stakeholders and actors (including primary producers) in the bio-based sectors.

▪ create new job opportunities in the bio-based sector, particularly the rural and/or urban areas.

TYPE OF ACTION: Innovation action – demonstration action.