Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

Programme Category


Article available in the following languages:


Valorisation of gaseous side streams from bio-based operations into chemical building blocks


Validate at pilot scale in an industrially relevant environment innovative technologies to efficiently convert gaseous feedstock from bio-based operations into useable chemical building blocks for products in added-value applications in various market segments.

Proposals should also aim at increasing the overall sustainability of bio-based value chains by stimulating industrial symbiosis with other sectors and creating conditions for the establishment of integrated biorefineries. This symbiosis could create new industrial sites or link existing sites to integrated biorefineries.

Proposals should focus on the valorisation of gaseous intermediate streams originating exclusively from bio-based operations. The technologies should enable capture and conversion of greenhouse gases (mainly CO2) into chemicals. Applied and effective solutions in other industrial sectors such as chemical, steel, cement, etc. could serve as benchmarks.

Although sources of these gases can be all bio-based operations, proposals should not address ‘purposely produced’ gaseous streams, unless these streams can serve to prove significant reductions of cost and environmental footprint as compared with alternatives.

Proposals may consider any technologies such as electrochemical, chemo-catalytic and bio-catalytic technologies as well as combinations of different technologies.

The industry should actively participate to prove the potential for integrating the developed concepts into current industrial landscapes or existing plants so that deployment of the concepts can be accelerated and scaled up to an industrial level.

Proposals should specifically demonstrate the benefits versus the state-of-the-art and existing technologies. This could be done by providing evidence of new processing solutions and new products obtained. The developed solutions should prove their innovativeness, efficiency and a high yield of the targeted products to guarantee the sustainability of their subsequent scale-up to demonstration level. Proposals should include a preliminary techno-economic evaluation of the proposed concepts to check also the economic viability as compared with existing solutions.

The Technology Readiness Level (TRL)1 at the end of the project should be 52. Proposals should clearly state the starting TRL. The proposed work should enable the technology to achieve TRL 5 within the timeframe of the project.

Proposals should include an environmental assessment using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodologies, and a cost analysis. Proposals should also include a viability performance check of the developed process(es) based on available standards, certification, accepted and validated approaches. They should also include a quantification of avoided greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, proposals should also allow for pre- and co-normative research necessary for the needed product quality standards3.

Proposals should seek complementarity with the existing projects funded under Horizon 2020 to avoid overlap, promote synergies and advance beyond the state-of-the-art.

Indicative funding: It is considered that proposals requesting a contribution of EUR 2 million to maximally EUR 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

1 Technology Readiness Levels as defined in annex G of the General Annexes to the Horizon 2020 Work Programme:

2 TRL 5 requires that the technology be ‘validated in [a] relevant environment (industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling technologies).’ For industry, this means at ‘pilot scale’ (meaning beyond and larger than ‘at lab scale’), preferably at an industrial site.

3 The technical basis of a new standard is usually established through a programme of research termed Pre-Normative Research (PNR), i.e. research undertaken prior to standardisation (normalisation). Such research would be used to demonstrate the feasibility and reliability of the technique or process to be standardised and to investigate its limitations. Once the technique or process has been developed and its boundaries have been explored, then, for new and emerging areas of technology, it would be normal to prepare a 'pre-standard', such as a Publicly Available Specification (PAS) or Technical Specification (TS), to provide a document in a relatively short time frame for evaluation by potential users. The availability of a pre-standard provides a basis for further research, usually termed Co-Normative Research - i.e. research undertaken in conjunction with the standardisation process, to establish a statistical basis for the technique or process, in particular its reproducibility (same user), repeatability (different users) and uncertainty. (

Exhaust gases from bio-based operations (containing mainly CO2) can serve as feedstock for different types of processing into valuable products. Integrating Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU) technologies within bio-based processes could minimise process efficiency losses, achieve a significant greenhouse gas emission reduction (potentially leading to negative emissions), and improve process economics by obtaining chemical building blocks for added-value products.

Technologies to convert gaseous feedstock have already reached a pilot and even an industrial scale in the petroleum and petrochemical industries. However, their use in bio-based operations still requires further research for successful replication and scale-up.

The specific challenge is to achieve sustainable and scaleable conversion technologies for gaseous feedstock from bio-based operations into added-value products.

  • contribute to KPI 1: create at least 1 new cross-sector interconnection in bio-based economy clusters;
  • contribute to KPI 2: set the basis for at least 1 new bio-based value chain;
  • contribute to KPI 4: create at least 1 new building block based on gaseous feedstock originating from European bio-based operations, while paving the way for further validation at demonstration scale;
  • overall reduction of at least 20 % in the carbon footprint (mainly CO2-emissions) of the proposed technology/technologies compared with the state-of-the-art (shown by an LCA taken up in one of the work packages).