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Upscale the production of bio-based platform molecules for larger market applications

 

Demonstrate the sustainable production of specific bio-based platform molecules at quantities exceeding pilot-plant limits, so these molecules can be further processed for identified or newly emerging market applications.

The scope of this topic includes feedstock from any source: agricultural, food processing, forestry, marine, aquatic, fish processing, bio-waste, or any combination of these.

The scope of this topic excludes bio-based platform molecules that are currently already produced in Europe competitively, at commercial levels and in sufficient quantities, or that are the object of other BBI JU projects.

Proposals must focus on applications with added value that is greater than the added value the feedstock would have if used for energy or heating.

Proposals must include the related primary sector(s) as strategic partner(s) in the value chain. This means that these sectors must participate in the design of the value chain and benefit from the value chain. In order to increase the participation of primary producers, it is recommended to promote the participation of relevant cooperatives (in particular related to farmers or fishers) 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 (in the related primary sectors of the proposal) that collaborates with the consortium by advising on and measuring the impact of the project.

As much as possible, proposals should align the value chains with the smart specialisation strategies of the relevant region(s), in either part of the value chain.

Proposals must address all the requirements for demonstration actions shown in Table 3 of the Introduction of the 2020 Annual Work Plan.

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.

INDICATIVE FUNDING:

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.

The sustainable production of bio-based platform molecules with a broad range of potential applications could increase the competitiveness of bio-based materials and products compared with their fossil-based counterparts.

Platform chemicals are intermediate molecules that can be used to produce a large number of endproducts, such as biopolymers, high-value additives, and other bio-based products. They can therefore unlock entire bio-based value chains if produced at competitive cost, to a high quality, and in sufficient quantities. Promising bio-based platform molecules include: HMF, FDCA, some organic acids, and alcohols [1] from various biomass feedstocks.

Market interest in bio-based platform molecules is increasing, and market actors are requesting larger quantities of these molecules for further formulation and testing in specific applications, including food, feed and consumer personal care. To foster the market penetration of these molecules — and make them competitive against fossil-based counterparts — industry must increase the production of targeted bio-based platform molecules. This must be done at a competitive cost and quality compared with the state of the art.

The specific challenge is to upscale the production of bio-based platform molecules in sufficient quantities and at sufficient quality to promote their larger application in new and existing markets.

[1] See for example the Joint Research Centre’s report ‘Insights into the European market for bio-based chemicals’ (2019).

EXPECTED IMPACTS LINKED TO BBI JU KPIS:

  • 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 4 — demonstrate at least one new building block.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS:

  • reduce greenhouse gas (including CO2) emissions (expressed in CO2 equivalents) linked to the production process of the targeted platform molecules compared with existing alternatives;
  • contribute to the EU’s 2050 long-term strategy for a climate-neutral Europe by replacing fossilbased material with bio-based, renewable material.

ECONOMIC IMPACTS:

  • increase revenues and business opportunities for the stakeholders in the involved primary sector(s).

SOCIAL IMPACTS:

  • create new job opportunities in the bio-based sector in rural, coastal and/or urban areas and contribute to their development;
  • increase the competitiveness of European biomass producers and the bio-based industry by supporting new jobs, growth, and investment, while ensuring environmental sustainability and an increase in local biodiversity.

TYPE OF ACTION: Innovation action - demonstration action