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Circular-by-design bio-based materials to improve the circularity of complex structures


The recyclability and circularity for complex structures (e.g. multi-layered products, multi-material products and composites)[[for a description of the term, see annex Glossary in the CBE JU Annual Work Programme 2022 (]] remain a challenge that needs to be tackled. Their recycling can often be challenging due to their composition but also due to differences in practices across Europe in sorting, collection, and treatment of waste. Research and innovation should address current materials/components (in the aforementioned complex structures) that are currently fossil-based, or non-circular bio-based or partly bio-based/fossil-based, aiming for circular bio-based alternatives.

Proposals under this topic should:

  • Design and develop novel ‘circular-by-design’ bio-based materials and B2B products, in the scope of CBE JU, as competitive solutions that address the circularity issues of complex materials, while meeting the supply chain and end-use performance requirements.
  • Test the possible associated recycling and/or upcycling options (lab and pilot-scale). The proposed innovations should increase the valorisation of the complex structures after use and move up in the waste hierarchy[[for a description of the term, see annex Glossary in the CBE JU Annual Work Programme 2022 (]].
  • Provision for the project integrating ‘safe-and-sustainable-by design’ generic criteria and framework considerations,[[The publication of the ’Safe and Sustainable by Design chemicals and materials’ Framework, aiming to the definition of criteria and evaluation procedure for chemicals and materials, is expected to become available by end of 2022. The proposed SSbD framework is expected to assess chemicals and materials following a hierarchical approach in which safety aspects are considered first, followed by environmental, social and economic aspects. Please see also European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Caldeira, C., Farcal, R., Moretti, C., et al., Safe and sustainable by design chemicals and materials : review of safety and sustainability dimensions, aspects, methods, indicators, and tools, 2022,]] in line with the EU Chemicals strategy for sustainability.
  • Apply and/or adapt existing/mature or novel digital technologies provided that they are instrumental to achieving the project’s outcomes and scope. Applications of digital technologies that should be considered in the scope are among the following areas: i) chemicals, materials and process design & modelling ii) process monitoring and optimisation and iii) data analytics and data management of the bio-based products in the scope.
  • Disseminate the outputs and learning outcomes from the project in order to increase the public awareness, and awareness of relevant industry actors, of potential benefits of bio-based solutions and raise awareness on opportunities to be addressed.
  • Develop guidelines and recommendations defining how to manage the developed bio-based materials and products throughout their life cycle, with a specific reference to end of life.
  • Develop recommendations, based on the functionality and technical performance of the innovative bio-based structures, with regards to the potential end-uses/value chains being applicable for future, further scale up developments.

In the proposal, the preliminary assessment of the environmental sustainability of the developed bio-based materials and B2B products should include all vectors that are relevant to the biomass feedstock environmental sustainability.