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Emerging technologies for separation and purification of fermentation products to obtain high grade bio-based molecules at industrial level
Deadline: 08 Sep 2016   CALL EXPIRED

EU logo mono EC - Horizon 2020

 Renewable Energy

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Separation and purification of fermentation products can be a major bottleneck in terms of productivity and cost competitiveness. For lactic acid, for instance, this stage can account for up to 50% of the overall production cost.

Several technologies, based on reactive extraction, membrane technologies, electro-dialysis, ion exchange and distillation have been proposed, as well as approaches based on fermentation with simultaneous purification such as multistage fermentation or combination of fermentation with adsorption.

Nonetheless, a continued research effort is needed to improve separation and purification processes and to make them available for a wider range of products.


Select and advance suitable new technologies for separation and purification of fermentation products for feasible subsequent industrial application. Proposals should focus on a well-defined existing production route of a bio-based molecule of high industrial interest, and prove substantial improvement in the yield, cost- and time-effectiveness of the process.

The projects should cover any Technology Readiness Level (TRL) from 3 to 5. In the case of a pilot scale project (TRL 5), proposals should present a credible cost estimate for the proposed processes with a preliminary assessment of their competitiveness when scaled up.

Proposals should also include an environmental and socio-economic assessment, for example with an LCA. In particular, when targeting TRL 5, proposals should include an LCA in order to evaluate the environmental and socio-economic performance of the developed processes.

It is considered that proposals with a total eligible budget in the range of EUR 2-5 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 yield by 10% versus state-of-the-art applied to the same route (same feedstock and same product).
  • Show 20% reduction in impurities as compared to state-of-the-art applied to the same route (same feedstock and same product).
  • Contribution to the BBI JU Key Performance Indicators (KPI), specifically:
    • Lead to the creation of at least 1 new cooperation project through cross-industry clusters (KPI 3).

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