Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Specific challenge: The agro-industry has significant opportunities for developing high added value products by valorising currently underexploited resources in new applications and markets.  Two main feedstocks have been identified in this context: 1) growing dedicated non food feedstock in regions that are unsuitable for the production of food crops (e.g. oil crops in dry or marginal land); and 2) residues and side-streams from the agro-food value chain that are currently un- or under-utilised (e.g. vegetable pulp, bran, leaves). While demonstration activities are already being pursued to this end, the challenge lies in demonstrating at industrial scale a first of a kind, cost-effective new bio-based value chain for the conversion of the targeted streams into biochemical intermediates and subsequent production of added value products, e.g. biolubricants, bioplastics or biofillers.

Scope: Demonstration of the techno-economic viability of the sustainable conversion, by an integration of chemical and biotechnologies, of currently underutilised agricultural streams (which can be either oil crops  grown in dry environments, crops from marginal lands, or residues from the agro-food value chain) from a local integrated supply chain into bio‑chemical intermediates, and their subsequent processing into end-products (e.g. biolubricants, bioplastics and biofillers) at industrial scale (e.g. more than 30 ktons per year). Proposals should employ all possible means of industrial symbiosis and energy integration with the industrial environment and, wherever possible, make use of existing facilities. Safety, quality and purity of the end products should meet commercial requirements. Proposals should prove the economical access to sufficient raw material to set up the new supply chain and provide evidence that the used feedstock streams are either grown on land that is unsuitable for food production or represent a underutilised residue from the agro-food industry. A life-cycle assessment should be carried out in order to evaluate the environmental and socio-economic performance of the demonstrated value chain. Involvement of end-users is required with a view to ensuring the viability of the developed concepts in the value chain.

It is considered that proposals with a total eligible budget of at least EUR 25 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals with another budget.

Expected impact:

·         Demonstrating a new local bio-based value chain maximising the use of currently underutilized agricultural resources for the production of chemical building blocks and consumer products e.g. biolubricants, bioplastics  and biofillers.

·         Developing new products with more than 70% bio-based content and less than 2.3 kg CO2eq/kg emission.

·         Demonstrating products with a 3 times higher value than the current application of feedstock side streams, leading to a significantly higher total valorisation of the agricultural crops.

Creating green jobs facilitating the development of entrepreneurial activities throughout the entire region, with advantages for the primary sector (i.e. agriculture and livestock farming), the secondary sector (e.g. logistics, bioproduct transformation industry) and the tertiary sector.
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