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Optimise technical production routes to bio-based chemicals in bio- or chemo-catalytic processes
Deadline: Sep 8, 2016  

 Horizon Europe

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Production of bio-based products (like chemicals or proteins) requires affordable high quality feedstock, industrial stable conversion and sufficiently high purity levels of product streams and yields to permit further downstream conversion steps. There are still various possibilities to optimise bio-based production routes not fully applied in the bioeconomy, i.e. minimising feedstock or nutrient losses over the whole process chain that are caused by either processing or partial use of the feedstock. The challenge is to find industrial viable solutions for the processes and reduce environmental footprints (such as CO2-emissions) via optimisation of bio-based production routes.

The challenge is to specifically optimise technical bio-based production routes in a way that minimizes nutrient losses over the whole process chain caused by either processing and/or partial use of various feedstock. Solutions may include use of agricultural side streams as substrates, optimized process options with matched fermentation organisms or new solutions regarding nutrient management.


Demonstrate the techno-economic viability of the production of cost-competitive bio-based products, in both upstream and downstream steps versus traditional processes (state-of-the-art).

  • In bio-catalytic processes, these could include optimising process options like optimised and/or matched fermentation organisms, feeding strategies or nutrient management;
  • In chemo-catalytic processes, these could include optimising processes to produce di-carboxylic acids and/or diols at high purity levels and high product yields.

Proposals should show the sustainability of the value chain, including the required feedstock for the production process, and the potential market uptake of the products for specific applications. Proposals should show efficient feedstock provision to secure supply, and identify actors in the end-user markets for the intended market applications.

Proposals should clearly show the improvements in ecology and economy of the total biorefining operation, yielding high-value bio-based products.

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

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:
  • When addressing bio-catalytic or chemical processes:
    • Increased yield of targeted bio-based product(s) by more than 20%, compared to state-of-the-art processes.
    • Reduced production costs of bio-based products by 10-20%, compared to current market situation.
    • Reduction of energy consumption by more than 30% for bio-catalytic processes and by more than 20% for chemical processes, as compared to state-of-the-art production processes.
    • Savings in terms of CO2-emissions per kg product by more than 20% for bio-catalytic processes and by more than 30% for chemical processes, as compared to state-of-the-art production routes for di-carboxylic acids or bio-based diols.
  • Projects under this topic should result in 1 new building block based on biomass of European origin validated at demonstration scale (KPI 4) and at least 2 new bio-based materials (KPI 5).

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