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Resolve supply-chain hurdles for turning residual waste streams into functional molecules for food and/or non-food market applications


Create and integrate a sustainable supply-chain system into a value chain that is capable of using available or new technologies to use functional molecules in residual streams in high-value food and/or non-food applications.

The scope of this topic includes all necessary steps to collect, transport and store the residual streams being targeted at the processing site. These steps could include pre-treatment actions if they are necessary to transport and/or store any of the targeted residual streams. The quantities, qualities and physical original physical locations of these streams determine the optimal location and size of the operational site that they integrate into. The operational sites can be either centralised large-scale biorefineries, or small/medium-scale processing units, or a combination thereof.

Proposals must be suitable for direct acceptance and implementation by farmers, foresters or fishers, depending on the supply chain addressed. Proposals therefore need to include these actors in the related primary sector as strategic partner(s) leading the value chain. The involved primary producers should participate in the design of the value chain and benefit from its results. In order to increase the participation of primary producers, it is recommended to promote the participation of relevant cooperatives as members of the consortium, as well as to foster the role of advisors or innovation brokers to support (‘speak on behalf of’) primary producers during the project implementation. Proposals should consider establishing an advisory board of primary producers that collaborates with the consortium by advising on and measuring the impact of the project.

Proposals should include processing operations tailored to local circumstances. These operations will need to cope with availabilities, distances, qualities of the residual streams, possible variations in these qualities, etc. The business case underlying the proposal must include a feasibility assessment (technological and financial) of: (i) the associated processes at the envisaged scale; and (ii) combinations with other relevant processes.

The biomass-feedstock supply chain is an essential part of the expected project proposals. Proposals must include proof that sufficient quantities of the targeted residual streams are available and exploitable to effectively and sustainably maintain the business case for future upscaling to commercial levels.

Proposals should include upstream processes if needed (e.g. pre-treatments), conversion routes, and downstream processes. Cascading concepts are a relevant part of the proposals.

Proposals may include physical, chemical or biotechnological routes (or combinations of these).

The designed value chain aims specifically at using the inherent functions of the residual streams. It focuses therefore on producing intermediates that equal or outperform their fossil-based counterparts. The targeted high-end market applications are necessarily more valuable that the market applications of these streams in the energy sector.

Proposals should also include market actors in the targeted market sectors to ensure application and economic impact.

If proposals aim at food applications, they must also include considerations of consumer safety and consumer perception of the targeted consumer applications. Any potential hazards associated with the developed processes and products should be analysed to check that the products will comply with relevant EU legislation on chemicals risk management, toxicity and safety.

Proposals must address all the requirements for demonstration actions shown in Table 3 of the Introduction.

The technology readiness level (TRL) at the end of the project should be 6-7. Proposals should clearly state the starting and end TRLs 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.

Residual streams from various industries contain functional molecules that could be used for food and non-food market applications. The functions of interest depend on the intended use of the final products that operators intend to make with the targeted molecules. Residual streams are any streams that are not main products of an industrial operation and are disposed of at low or no value. They include residues from the agricultural, livestock, marine, aquatic, fisheries, food processing, forestry and forest-based industry sectors.

Today, most of these residual streams either find low-value applications that are mainly based on their calorific content (i.e. they are used as fuel), or they are not used at all, often because of supply-chain constraints. The supply-chain constraints could be due to a variety of reasons, including: (i) the relatively long distances between where the residues are generated and where they can be processed; (ii) the low density and/or high water content of the residues; (iii) the capacity of available processing units exceeding available local feedstock.

It is crucial that the functional molecules from these residual streams be separated in a way that is cost-efficient, energy-efficient and eco-efficient. This will mean that these molecules can be made available for subsequent use in higher-value applications, which will provide significant employment and income opportunities for the primary sectors and may improve the commercial sustainability of existing processes.

Fully enjoying the opportunities of these functional molecules will only be possible if the availability of the residual streams can be maximised by resolving any supply-chain constraints.

Various technologies exist to separate and convert the functional molecules from residual streams into high added-value intermediates and products. However, the applicability of these technologies depends on sustainable integration of the feedstock supply. The specific challenge is to resolve supply chain hurdles and enable the recovery and processing of functional molecules in residual streams from various sectors.

The specific challenge is to resolve supply chain hurdles and enable the recovery and processing of functional molecules in residual streams from various sectors.


  • 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 two new consumer products containing bio-based food and/or non-food functional molecules that meet market requirements.


  • reduce overall CO2 emissions in the value chain by 20%, including from road transport where applicable;
  • reduce landfill in the region of the selected processing location;
  • contribute to the EU’s 2050 long-term strategy for a climate-neutral Europe by replacing fossil-based material with bio-based, renewable material.


  • extract at least 50% more value from the residual streams compared with the state of the art;
  • produce at least one B2B or B2C product in sufficient quantities to allow validating the value chain.


  • create new job opportunities in the bio-based sector in rural, coastal and/or urban areas;
  • contribute to social development in the related primary sector(s) (e.g. rural, forest or coastal development) by adding new value-chains and by creating sustainable, high-tech jobs supported by educational and training steps as needed.

TYPE OF ACTION: Innovation action – demonstration action.