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Bio-based polymers/plastic materials with new functionalities for medical, construction, automotive and textile industries
Deadline: Sep 8, 2016  

 Low-Carbon Economy
 Raw Materials
 Industrial Textile Manifacturing
 Medical Biotechnology
 Automotive Industries

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

With a foreseen market growing around 300% during the next four years, bio-based plastics are a broad sector with the potential of expanding in virtually all fields presently dominated by fossil-based plastics. However, although the production of several polymers/plastic materials starting from renewable and bio-based sources has already been demonstrated, further improvements are still required in order to:

  • make bio-based products and the related value chains at least fully competitive in terms of functionalities, costs and sustainability, in comparison with the current fossil-based solutions; and
  • expand the range of bio-based polymers/plastic materials and of useable feedstock for their production.
  • The market-pull of bio-based products based on end-users’ needs in different applications, calls for different properties: processability, lightness, flexibility, temperature-resistance and other mechanical features, all of which relate tightly to the purpose/application of each biopolymer and bioplastic. The demand for new and improved functionalities is increasing. The bio-based industries must be able to produce biopolymers and bioplastics with the specific, required functionalities in order to meet their projected high market demand and expand the range of application. The use of bio-based materials in some applications can add new and better properties to the targeted products, due to the inherent chemical structure of bio-based polymers and/or to the possible functionalisation of current polymers with bio-based additives (such as bio-fillers, wood, etc.).

    The challenge is to demonstrate efficient production routes to bio-based polymers/plastic materials with identified functionalities that can outperform fossil-based processes and materials.


    Demonstrate the techno-economic viability of the production of innovative biopolymers/bioplastic materials with functional properties matching the needs and requirements of well-identified applications in the fields of health and medical, construction, automotive, and textile markets.

    Each proposal should focus on one of the abovementioned market sectors but can include more than one proposed solution for that market sector. Its subject products and materials need to demonstrate effective improvements in functionalities and savings in terms of operational costs and environmental impact.

    Proposals should address a small number of well-focused applications and include the direct involvement of end-users of the developed products and materials, providing clear requirements and KPI’s at the start of the proposal phase.

    Proposals should demonstrate the sustainability of feedstock sourcing, material production and end-of-life handling through reusability, recyclability and/or biodegradability of the bio-plastics. The demonstrated sustainability involves the whole value chain, including actors in the supply chain, and costumers and end-users of the developed products.

    Proposals should assess the feasibility of a wide application of the developed production solutions, in order to facilitate a relatively rapid scale-up and allowing a fast market deployment.

    Safety, quality and purity of the products must be in line with commercial and/or regulatory requirements by actively building upon existing knowledge and standardisation activities.

    Proposals should seek complementary to the projects funded under topic H2020 SPIRE-03-2016, to avoid overlaps and promote synergies.

    Proposals should achieve technology demonstrated in an industrial environment, or a system prototype demonstration in operational environment. Proposals need to address the whole value chain, from feedstock sourcing to market applications (Technology Readiness Levels 6-7).

    Proposals should also include a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in order to evaluate the environmental and socio-economic performance of the whole value chain.

    It is considered that proposals with a total eligible budget of up to EUR 15 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:
    • Improved mechanical and/or functional properties of the developed products for a specific field in comparison to the current solutions.
    • Eco-designed product to obtain recyclable material.
    • Improved life cycle sustainability of products (including end-of-life) by 20% as compared to non bio-based counterparts.
    • Reduction of environmental impact and CO2-footprint as compared to traditional processes.
    • Safety, quality and purity of the (new) products are in line with EU legislation and proven to meet end-market requirements in order to facilitate future market access and commercialisation.
    • Contribution to the BBI JU Key Performance Indicators (KPI), specifically:
      • Create at least 1 bio-based polymer/plastic material, showing favourable competition with fossil-based counterparts in terms of cost-competitiveness, sustainability and performance (KPI 5); and at least 2 business-to-business or consumer products based on the innovative biopolymers developed (KPI 6).

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