Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Specific challenge: At present, oils crops are already an important source of innovative bio-based products such as bioplastics, lubricants, paints or added value fine chemicals. With the opening of new markets for these products the demand for oil crops is increasing. The challenge for Europe here is to sustainably match this demand without increasing our dependency on external biomass or competing with food production or increasing environmental pressure (particularly on soil and land). The development of dedicated and optimised multipurpose oil crops, the full use of the biomass in a cascade approach as well as the environmentally sound and sustainable use of natural resources should be key to meet this challenge.

Scope: Proposals should focus on development of dedicated and optimised oil crops adapted to industrial needs. Research should encompass gene discovery and optimisation through to full use of biomass oil including vegetative tissues and ensure efficient exploitation of the residual biomass through modern breeding technologies. It should consider the environmental aspects (e.g. organic matter levels, biodiversity impact and water needs) of such full use of biomass. It should also ensure development of oil production with sufficient quantity, quality and homogeneity. The concepts should take into account the cascading approach and focus on added value products. A strong participation of SMEs should contribute to the realisation of the expected outcomes. Proposals should include demonstration activities to assess the techno-economic viability of the proposed concepts. The Technology Readiness Levels covered by the projects should range from 4 to 6; please see part G of the general Annexes. The overall economic, social and environmental sustainability issues as well as its Life Cycle Assessment should also be critical elements.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of EUR 10 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact:

·         Broadening the range of suitable oil feedstock candidates with optimally-lowered resource inputs and developing economically viable and sustainable, eco-friendly end bio-based products

·         Measurable improvement of critical aspects along the value chain from the cultivation issues, to optimisation of desired biochemical parameters and extraction of oils and other biomolecules, to improved valorisation of the raw materials, to allow development of industrial end products.

·         Contribution to European policy initiatives, including the EU Bioeconomy strategy and the EU Innovation Policy as well as to other related policies such as Lead Market Initiative on bio-based products.

Type of action: Research and innovation actions

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