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Novel bio-based chemical precursors to improve the performance of mass consumption products - BBI.2017.R5
Deadline: Sep 7, 2017  

 Environmental protection

Specific Challenge:

Cost considerations are to date the prime hindrance to market penetration of bio-based chemical products. The maturity of the petrochemical industry makes purely cost-based competition unrealistic for most bio-based alternatives. Moreover, even the availability of bio-based products with equivalent performance and at the same cost would not per se be sufficient to drive acceptance and utilisation by consumers and brand owners. A better performance at an acceptable premium price would increase the marketability of bio-based products for mass consumption. Bio-based feedstock gives the opportunity to produce chemical precursors1 that could outperform their fossil-based counterparts.

The specific challenge is to develop novel bio-based chemical precursors for mass consumption products that feature, at an acceptable cost, new functionalities or better performance than their fossil-based counterparts.

1 In the context of this topic, a chemical precursor is a chemical compound that enables, facilitates or accelerates a chemical process as a reagent or as a reactant.


Validate at pilot scale in an industrially relevant environment production routes to novel and innovative bio-based chemical precursors for mass consumption products, such as surfactants, detergents, lubricants, emulsifiers, foaming agents, sanitisers, disinfectants, binders, solvents and adhesives.

The resulting products must prove better performance than their fossil-based and bio-based state-of-the-art counterparts, and/or introduce new desired functionalities that are currently not available.

The industry should actively participate to prove the potential for integrating the developed concepts into current industrial landscapes or existing plants so that deployment of the concepts can be accelerated and scaled up to an industrial level.

Proposals should also include relevant end-users or brand owners to establish clear product requirements and to evaluate product performance.

Proposals should specifically demonstrate the benefits versus the state-of-the-art and existing technologies. This could be done by providing evidence of new processing solutions and new products obtained. Proposals should include a preliminary techno-economic evaluation of the proposed production route to show that upscaling is economically viable, while keeping the cost increase compared with available precursors to a minimum, if any.

The Technology Readiness Level (TRL)1 at the end of the project should be 52. Proposals should clearly state the starting TRL. The proposed work should enable the technology to achieve TRL 5 within the timeframe of the project.

Proposals should include an environmental assessment using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodologies, and a cost analysis. Proposals should also include a viability performance check of the developed process(es) based on available standards, certification, accepted and validated approaches.

Indicative funding: It is considered that proposals requesting a contribution of EUR 2 million to maximally EUR 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

1 Technology Readiness Levels as defined in annex G of the General Annexes to the Horizon 2020 Work Programme:

2 TRL 5 requires that the technology be ‘validated in [a] relevant environment (industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling technologies).’ For industry, this means at ‘pilot scale’ (meaning beyond and larger than ‘at lab scale’), preferably at an industrial site.​

Expected Impact:
  • contribute to KPI 1: create at least 1 new cross-sector interconnection in bio-based economy clusters;
  • contribute to KPI 2: establish at least 1 new bio-based value chain;
  • prove that at least 1 bio-based chemical precursor for mass consumption products is fully competitive in the market by providing new functionalities or better performance than the relevant fossil-based counterpart;
  • overall reduction of at least 5 % in the carbon footprint of the considered bio-based operation compared with the state-of-the-art (shown by an LCA taken up in one of the work packages).
Cross-cutting Priorities:

Cross-cutting Key-Enabling Technologies (KETs)

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