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Improvement and adaptation of industrial crop varieties and novel sources of biomass to diversify biomass feedstock for biorefineries
Deadline: Sep 8, 2016  

 Fisheries and Food
 Horizon Europe

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

A strong bioeconomy requires a diverse biomass feedstock for the bio-based value chains. The bio-based industries are looking into diversification of their feedstock base by adding new sources. Dedicated, purposely grown industrial crops and novel sources of biomass to deliver specific compounds for further processing into chemicals and materials, present an attractive route to high value applications.

These new biomass feedstock sources from dedicated, purposely cultivated industrial crops and novel sources of biomass (cultures), promote the creation of new value chains, utilising the natural properties of the feedstock for new functionalities of the desired products.

The challenge is to demonstrate the sustainability of these new value chains on a larger scale. This includes the upscaling of the processes using the technologies for dedicated biomass production, in order to provide for a sustainable supply of the new feedstock and the conversion into useable products for application in specific market segments.

Demonstrating the benefits for the environment, the economy and the society will contribute to the market-uptake of the end-products and to an improvement of the competitive position of the European bioeconomy.


Demonstrate the techno-economic viability and sustainability of complete value chains based on utilisation of dedicated, purposely developed biomass production systems as feedstock for the bio-based industries.

Specifically, this topic focuses on non-food-conflicting biomass production systems:

  • whose molecular structure or growing conditions are tailored in order to maximise the output of the desired molecules, and/or
  • that are suitable for cultivation on unused, marginal or contaminated land that is currently not in use. Proposals addressing this point could also contain remediation actions for marginal or contaminated soils in order to convert or return these lands to use for agricultural purposes, and/or
  • that can be cultivated in novel and highly resource-efficient conditions.

The sustainability of the entire value chain should include the ability to deliver products, meeting safety and quality requirements, at competitive price level versus those from existing value chains.

A sound business model should include the role of all actors in the value chain, from the feedstock supplier to the actors on the end-market. Furthermore, the model should show that the value chain does not interfere with the food chain.

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:
  • Reduction of land use in comparison to the current productivity for the same product categories, when obtained from crops or other conventional primary biomass sources.
  • When dealing with industrial crops, diversification and increase of farmers' revenues through access to new markets.
  • Reduction of Europe’s dependence on imports of the targeted product, where applicable.
  • 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.
  • Projects under this topic should result in 1 new building block based on biomass of European origin validated at demonstration scale (KPI 4) and/or at least 1 new bio-based material (KPI 5).
  • Contribution to other BBI JU Key Performance Indicators (KPI), specifically:
    • the creation of at least 1 new industrial bio-based value chain (KPI 2) and at least 1 new cooperation project through cross-industry clusters (KPI 3).

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