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Produce sustainable and cost-efficient high-performance functional ingredients from alternative sources


Demonstrate the cost-effective, efficient and sustainable production of high-performance functional ingredients that meet market demand and safety standards for target sectors such as food, feed, nutraceuticals, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, etc. (see Introduction).

This topic covers all bio-active ingredients except proteins1.

Proposals should use biomass sources that can provide cost-effective, efficient and sustainable solutions to deliver functional ingredients in sustainable circular economy production systems. This topic includes different sources and streams of plant and animal origins as feedstock, such as agricultural or forest residues, food processing residual streams, non-seed plants, aquatic biomass, and invertebrates. It excludes food crops.

Proposals should address the elimination of hurdles and bottlenecks regarding the logistics, transport modes and associated infrastructure in the targeted biomass feedstock supply systems. These include collection systems, intermediate storage and safety aspects.

The topic includes chemical or biotechnological processes or a combination thereof.

Proposals should be based on a sound business case and business plan.

Proposals should commit to assessing the environmental and economic impacts of the developed products or processes, using LCA methodologies based on available standards, certification, accepted and validated approaches2 (see introduction – section 2.2.5 - published in the BBI JU AWP 2018). If applicable, proposals should also analyse the social impacts.

Any potential hazards associated with the developed processes and products should be analysed to ensure that the products comply fully with REACH3 legislation and other toxicity requirements, safety requirements and any relevant EU legislation.

If relevant, proposals should also allow for pre- and co-normative research necessary for developing the needed product quality standards and for ensuring safety of the end-products.

The technology readiness level (TRL)4 at the end of the project should be 6-7. Proposals should clearly state the starting TRL.

Proposals should seek complementarity with the former and ongoing projects funded under FP7 and Horizon 2020 to avoid overlap, promote synergies and advance beyond the state-of-the-art, in particular related to the calls on ‘Sustainable Food Security’ (SFS) of Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge 2.

Indicative funding:

It is considered that proposals requesting a maximum contribution 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.

1Proteins are covered in other topics of AWP2017 and AWP2018.

2The LCA may focus on a set of critical issues early on to steer the development process in the right direction. In this case, it is essential that this selection is carefully explained in the proposal in order to allow for expert assessment.

3The Regulation for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals, effective since 1 June 2007.

4Technology readiness levels as defined in annex G of the General Annexes to the Horizon 2020 Work Programme:

Boosted by the increasing world population and the subsequent growth in demand for functional products for food, feed, nutraceuticals, cosmetics, pharma, etc., industry and academia are looking at alternative sources for bio-active ingredients that can provide functionality.

In looking at alternative sources, R&I efforts have been focusing on secondary biomass sources such as agro-food residues and alternative primary biomass sources like algae, microorganisms and invertebrates. However, to-date none of them has been able to establish itself as a large-scale alternative to food crops due to cost, technology readiness and regulatory hurdles.

The seasonality and high variability in the composition of some potential alternative feedstocks (such as residual biomass from agricultural, food or forest sectors, or seasonal aquatic biomass) are preventing them from being a sustainable source of bio-active compounds.

The specific challenge of this topic is to help meet the increasing demand for high-performance functional ingredients for various applications through the use of sustainable alternative sources.

  • contribute to KPI 1: create at least one new cross-sector interconnection in bio-based economy;
  • contribute to KPI 2: set the basis for at least one new bio-based value chain;
  • contribute to KPI 6: create at least two new demonstrated consumer products based on bio-based chemicals and materials that meet market requirements;
  • obtain at least 20 % more value from the used new/alternative feedstock than state-of-the-art methods.

Type of action: Innovation action – demonstration action