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Improve the sustainability of coatings


Develop fully or partly bio-based coatings that guarantee at least all required performances of the intended applications [2] .

Proposals should develop at least one coating that can be: (i) tested in specific applications; and (ii) perform better than the baseline of existing coating formulations. Proposals should also address possible end-of-life scenarios for products in these application fields, including potential for recycling.

The scope of this topic includes the possibility of substituting traditional additives with enzyme-based additives [3] .

Proposals should include test results of the developed coating formulations to prove their benefits.

The scope of this topic includes: (i) physical changes for the targeted coatings; and (ii) microorganisms and bio-based molecules as bio-based components for the targeted coatings.

Proposals must include proof of the biological, chemical and mechanical stability of the coatings. For proposals that use microorganisms, this proof must pay particular attention to the control of microbial growing conditions, for example in humid environments.

Proposals should also include considerations about the safety of consumers and end-users of the targeted final application for the developed coatings. Any potential hazards associated with the developed processes and products should be analysed to check that the products will comply with EU legislation on chemicals risk management, toxicity and safety requirements.

Proposals should address all the requirements for RIA 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 4-5 and not exceeding 5. 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 contribution of between EUR 2 million and EUR 5 million would be able to address this specific challenge appropriately. However, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

[2] The topic differs both from the topic BBI VC1.R3 in AWP 2015, which entailed lignocellulosic biomass as starting feedstock, and from the topic BBI 2016.R5 whose focus was on smart food packaging. Moreover, the topic is more specific and more demanding than the similar topic BBI 2018.SO3.R9 which attracted many proposals, but resulted in only one granted project.

[3] See e.g.

Coatings are widely used in many applications, such as in glass, concrete, metal and furniture. Depending on the specific performance required by the intended applications, coatings must serve different purposes. These purposes include preventing reflectivity, self-cleaning, protection, waterproofing, fire resistance, anti-corrosion, insulation and anti-fouling.

Because of this diverse and expanding range of requirements, people increasingly demand sustainable coatings. As part of this development, producers are introducing bio-based alternatives in coating formulations, replacing fossil-based compounds. Some of these fossil-based compounds (e.g. some solvents[1]) present potential health risks to humans.

The specific challenge is to substitute fossil-based compounds in coatings with bio-based alternatives, while ensuring that the performance of the coating is at least identical to the traditional coating.

[1] See e.g.


  • contribute to KPI 1 — create at least one new cross-sector interconnection in the bio-based economy;
  • contribute to KPI 2 — set the basis for at least one new bio-based value chain;
  • contribute to KPI 6 — demonstrate at least one new consumer product based on bio-based chemicals and materials that meet market requirements;
  • contribute to KPI 8 — validate at least one new and improved processing technology reflecting the ‘TRL gain’ since the start of the project.


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


  • pave the way to the marketability of new coating formulations with at least 25% bio-based content;
  • show with documented experimental validation that the performance of the new, sustainable coatings is at least comparable with fossil-based counterparts in the target application(s).


  • show the potential for creating new job opportunities in the bio-based sector in rural, coastal and/or urban areas with successful project results.

TYPE OF ACTION: Research and Innovation action