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Tailoring tree species to produce wood designed for industrial processes and biorefining purposes

Development of tree varieties with high production rates and tailored chemical structure, that will improve the economy and sustainability of wood processing, while enhancing downstream processing into chemicals and/or new materials. Proposals should include innovative solutions for the engineering of the chemical components of wood in such a way that it facilitates wood processing and/or yield chemical structures customised for industrial needs of the growing biorefinery sector. Proposals should address the full value chain from generation of the new tree feedstock to the pre-industrial evaluation and validation of the quality and the safety of produced wood (including by-products) according to application requirements, so enhancing the value of the developed products. A life cycle assessment should be carried out in order to evaluate the environmental and socio-economic performance of the new value chain.

Proposals should provide evidence that the new technologies could be commercially implemented in Europe within a reasonable time frame. Strong weight will be put on industrial leadership with view to achieve the full exploitation of the developed products/processes. Involvement of end-users could be considered to help assure the viability of the developed concepts in the value chain.

It is considered that proposals with a total eligible budget in the range of EUR 2-5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals with another budget.

The forest sector can enhance its revenues by expanding its traditional businesses beyond the traditional cellulose value chain towards an encompassing biorefinery concept aimed at the integral use of wood components for their conversion into a variety of added-value biomaterials and green chemicals. However the chemical structures naturally occurring in wood pose important challenges when it comes to wood processing. A twofold research and innovation effort is needed to tackle not only the development of downstream technologies aimed at improving wood processing, but also the engineering and generation of wood feedstock with a chemical structure optimally designed for subsequent processing steps.

  • Novel wood properties that increase the efficiency of wood-based biorefineries and decrease the use of energy during wood processing by at least 30%.
  • Increase the overall profitability of forest-based sector, tree growers and forest owners throughout Europe thanks to better valorisation of wood by-products.
  • Contribution to a secure and sustainable supply of lignocellulosic biomass for European biorefineries.