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Improve the logistical and pre-processing steps of locally sourced biomass to serve as feedstock for the bio-based industry

Develop and demonstrate an efficient logistical system to mobilise (source and deliver) local and regional biomass to the gates of biorefining operations.

Proposals should address harvest and collection1, pre-processing, preservation, storage and transport of the biomass, aiming at an effective sourcing and delivery system with no or minimal losses due to biodegradation.

The delivered biomass should be ‘storage-stable’, of suitable quality and in adequate quantities for further processing. Proposals, therefore, should also include testing the biomass using existing or innovative standards or parameters and should address relevant safety aspects (see also introduction – section 2.2.5 - published in the BBI JU AWP 2018).

Proposals should reflect awareness of the objectives of running national and EU-funded projects2,3 in this field to avoid overlap.

This topic covers all types of biomass.

Both the centralised large-scale biorefining model and the dispersed small biorefining network model could be considered, or a combination of the two, depending on the local conditions of biomass sourcing and overall economics.

Proposals should include steps up to the processing steps in an integrated biorefining set-up. However, as they relate to an innovation action – demonstration topic, proposals must be based on an express demand for the subject biomass, leading to conversion into identified market applications. Proposals will thus consider the full value chain.

Proposals should include cost-efficient and easy to operate technical solutions, including the associated equipment to allow their use at the required location (in the rural areas). Active participation and partnership with actors in the primary sector (agriculture and forestry, fisheries and aquaculture) are therefore a must. Proposal should also address contractual or business arrangements between the feedstock producers/suppliers and the feedstock users to secure biomass supply.

Proposals may aim both to set up new bio-based value chains and to improve the feedstock logistics in existing bio-based value chains. In the latter case, proposals should develop and demonstrate breakthroughs and innovative improvements, rather than incremental improvements.

Proposals should be based on a sound business case and business plan.

Proposals should commit to assessing the environmental and economic impacts of the developed products or processes, using LCA methodologies based on available standards, certification, accepted and validated approaches (see also introduction – section 2.2.5 - published in the BBI JU AWP 2018)4. If applicable, proposals should also analyse the social impacts.

If relevant, proposals should also allow for pre- and co-normative research necessary for developing the needed product quality standards.

The technology readiness level (TRL )5 at the end of the project should be 6-7. Proposals should clearly state the starting TRL.

Indicative funding:

It is considered that proposals requesting a maximum contribution of EUR 7 million would be able to address this specific challenge appropriately. However, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

1 Also considering multi-modal harvest and transport systems, e.g. harvesters + lorry (including driverless lorries) + rail + canal/sea.

2 Such as INFRES (Innovative and effective technology and logistics for forest residual biomass supply in the EU); LogistEC (Logistics for Energy Crops' Biomass); Europruning (Development and implementation of a new, and non-existent, logistics chain for biomass from pruning); AGROinLOG (integrated biomass logistics centres for the agro-industry).

More info about these projects at

3 Such as those resulting from topic RUR-08-2016 ‘Demonstration of integrated logistics centres for food and non-food applications’.

4 The LCA may focus on a set of critical issues early on to steer the development process in the right direction. In this case, it is essential that this selection is carefully explained in the proposal in order to allow for expert assessment. See also in the introduction.

5 Technology readiness levels as defined in annex G of the General Annexes to the Horizon 2020 Work Programme:

Getting biomass feedstock from its sources in rural1 and coastal areas to processing plants in the bio-based industry today has to contend with many hindrances. These relate to the (often varying) quality of the biomass, its quantity, location and distance from the operating facilities and state-of-the-art logistical systems and equipment.

Besides adding weight in transportation, high water content may cause the biomass to degrade during transportation and storage. Compacting or drying techniques to reduce weight, volume and moisture could modify the biomass composition and properties.

Also, residual biomass in particular often occurs in relatively small quantities in scattered locations, and its low value does not justify an efficient, modern logistical system for valorisation. Consequently, residues that are potential feedstock for the bio-based industry are left on the field or are burnt.

In many areas, too, the disconnect between actors in the rural and coastal areas and those in the bio-based operational stages prevents the introduction of new and innovative technologies and practices into the supply chain.

This lack of connection between the planning and resource management and downstream value chain operations often means that there is no business case for efficient integration of locally sourced feedstock with bio-based industry operations.

The specific challenge of this topic is to cost-effectively mobilise local biomass, from source to the gates of an advanced biorefinery, for further processing into value-added market applications, thereby avoiding losses in feedstock quantity or quality.

1 Rural areas include agricultural and forest areas, and also cover inland fisheries and aquaculture.

  • contribute to KPI 1: create at least one new cross-sector interconnection in bio-based economy;
  • contribute to KPI 2: set the basis for at least one new bio-based value chain;
  • increase the income for biomass producers involved in the supply chain, as well as creating new job opportunities in rural and coastal areas;
  • increase the overall resource efficiency;
  • decrease biomass losses by 40 %;
  • bring down transportation costs by 30 %;
  • bring about a 20 % decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, thanks to modified transportation and storage phases, optimised pre-processing steps, etc.;
  • increase the mobilisation rate 1 by 20 % 2.

Type of action: Innovation action – demonstration action.

1 Mobilisation rate means the amount of feedstock in theory that is sustainably available, or is ready to be sourced on a certain area (e.g. within a 100-km radius of the biorefinery), compared with the amount of feedstock that in reality can be sourced. The difference between these two amounts is due to an insufficient or non-existing logistics/mobilisation system.

2 The proposal should present a convincing justification of the calculation of this rate, based on established econometric models and statistical data.