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Industrial technologies for the valorisation of European bio-resources into high added value process streams


Proposals should address the efficient utilisation of biomass waste streams of organic nature from industrial processes (e.g. food and feed industry, aquaculture)and/or side streams from harvesting activities (e.g. agricultural and forestry harvesting residues) ensuring non-competition with higher value chains (e.g. food production). The proposals should aim to provide novel concepts to fully valorise these bio-resources, providing high added-value products, chemical building blocks and bio-based streams (bio-chemicals, monomers, fibres, polymers, proteins etc.) for further utilisation in industry. The concepts taken into account should yield novel products and process streams with a quality that is equal or better than the one of the available fossil analogues already on the market and where possible, provide opportunities to open new markets (e.g. development of novel products).

Proposals should target technologies (e.g. chemo/thermo/bio-catalytic technologies and fermentation), which can include recovery, and primary (e.g. sugars, lignin, tannins, resins, proteins) and/or secondary (e.g. furans, sugar acids, carboxylic acids, fatty acids and aromatics) processing of bio-resources, leading to bio- products and streams with high added value. The concepts are expected to provide significant added value creation in the process. Proposals are expected to address R&I activities covering the following areas:

  • Chemo/thermo/bio-catalytic technologies and fermentation route development for conversion processes as well as purification processes where needed, including mastering of the technology in order to yield (new) bio-based building blocks, polymers and chemicals and derived product portfolios in a relevant industrial environment.
  • Market analysis and techno-economical evaluation of the concepts proposed to assess the economic viability of the approaches and a business plan for the deployment of the technology.

The concepts should demonstrate improved resource efficiency based on Life Cycle Assessment, including a significant reduction of fossil resources and energy utilisation, as well as water and other utilities. The concepts should also bring a reduction in CO2 emissions compared to the commercially utilised process (or similar for new processes that do not have commercial analogues).

Proposals should envisage the demonstration of the concepts in an industrially relevant environment and show the potential for their integration into the relevant industrial sectors. An integrated waste management strategy, considering also industrial waste, will add value to the proposal. Demonstration of the integration in existing industrial scenarios would be a major added-value. The demonstration activities are expected to address the scalability and replicability of the proposed concepts.

Activities are expected to focus on Technology Readiness Levels 5 to 7 and to be centred around TRL 6.

A significant participation of SMEs with R&D capacities is encouraged.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 5 and 7 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Bio-based resources constitute a valuable source of sustainable raw materials for Europe, but currently they are not utilised in an optimal way. For example, residues from agriculture and forestry (e.g. lignocellulose), as well as waste streams from aquaculture, farms, and food and feed industry (including skins, feathers, fats, shells, by-products from slaughter-houses and fish mills, etc.) and biodegradable industrial waste are often not fully exploited. Considering that such bio-resources contain valuable substances for the production of high added value chemicals and bio-materials (e.g. sugars, fatty acids, amino acids, alcohols, resins, fibres, aromatic substances, proteins), which could provide sustainable alternatives to analogues currently manufactured from fossil feedstock, their efficient utilisation is needed in order to support the establishment of a more sustainable and efficient industry in Europe. Furthermore, these bio-based streams could provide access to new building blocks and products with added functionalities, which are currently not commercially available, thus opening new market opportunities for industry.

For a wider utilisation of such bio-resources, the development of technologies for the efficient processing, isolation, fractionation and purification of these waste and side streams, will be essential to efficiently recover valuable bio-components, while maintaining key chemical functionalities present in bio-based molecules. The industrial deployment of such technologies will allow improving the competitiveness of the European chemical and process industry and will ensure a better utilisation of available European bio-resources. These technologies will also support a decrease in waste generation and contribute to making Europe self-sufficient in terms of raw materials, leading to increased long term sustainability for the European process industry.

  • The concepts proposed should provide a decreased utilisation of fossil resources in the process industry of at least 30 % compared to similar commercially available processes.
  • The concepts proposed should provide an improvement in energy utilisation in the process industry of at least 30 % compared to similar commercially available processes.
  • The concepts proposed should provide a decrease in CO2 emissions of at least 30% compared to similar commercially available processes.
  • The economic viability of the concepts should be demonstrated, as well as the contribution to the long term sustainability of the industrial sectors targeted.
  • The proposal should provide a clear business case for the deployment of the solutions in industry.

Proposals should include a business case and exploitation strategy, as outlined in the Introduction to the LEIT part of this Work Programme.