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Combined clean biofuel production and phytoremediation solutions from contaminated lands worldwide

Proposals will bridge the gap between phytoremediation strategies and clean liquid biofuel production. They will optimise energy crops for phytoremediation by targeting different classes of known soil pollutants and integrate in the conversion process to biofuels a strategy to extract these pollutants in concentrated form. The overall process will be optimized in terms of cost and sustainability. Pilot-scale, small trials are expected for both clean biofuel production and phytoremediation processes.

In line with the strategy for EU international cooperation in research and innovation (COM(2012)497), and given the world-wide applicability of this specific challenge, international cooperation is encouraged.

Proposals are expected to bring technologies from TRL 3-4 to TRL 4-5 (please see part G of the General Annexes).

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 2 to 4 million would allow this challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Dedicated biofuel production at large scale depends on sustainable land availability that does not compete with other uses. Phytoremediation is a holistic approach that best de-contaminates lands from a vast variety of pollutants. The challenge is to bridge the gap between phytoremediation strategies and clean biofuel production in a sustainable and optimum manner that will overcome the indirect land use change (iLUC) issue for biofuels and restore lands for agricultural uses.

The proposed solution will contribute towards the Mission Innovation Challenge 4[[]].

This is a global challenge that calls for international cooperation.

It is expected that a win-win situation will be created for bringing polluted land back to agricultural production and for low-iLUC risk liquid biofuel production from energy crops. Through cost reduction and improved phytoremediation, contribution to several sustainable development goals (SDGs) beyond the Energy is anticipated.