Funding or Finance Opportunity

6ea09da9-43f3-423b-85a2-f2f324ac804d-2

Bio-based value chains for valorisation of sustainable natural fibre feedstock

Expected outcomes

The successful proposals will facilitate the large-scale deployment of fibre crops and wood fibres for biorefining applications in line with the EU Bioeconomy Strategy64 and the updated EU Industrial Strategy65 and will allow reaching the objectives of the Circular Economy66 and Zero Pollution Action Plan67, the Biodiversity Strategy68, the Long-term vision for the EU rural areas69, and the objectives of the R&I Mission ‘A Soil Deal for Europe’ (in particular, contribution to its objective to reduce soil pollution and enhance restoration and improve soil structure to enhance soil biodiversity), as well as the upcoming European partnership on Agroecology. Contribution to the Mission Restore our Oceans and Waters’ in regards to reduction of microplastics pollution.

Project results should contribute to the following expected outcomes:

  • Implementation of (environmentally and economically) sound value chains for biorefinery applications based on sustainable bio-based fibre feedstock, enabling diversification of business opportunities and income sources for all actors in the bio-based sectors via cooperation between primary producers and bio-based industries.
  • Availability of bio-based products (based on fibres) meeting market requirements including via application testing.
  • Improved circularity and resource efficiency of bio-based value chains via practical application of circular bioeconomy, encompassing the resource- and energy-efficient, cascading use of sustainably sourced biomass.
  • Significantly improved sustainability, strategic autonomy, resilience and competitiveness of the European bio-based industry while reducing the dependence on imported feedstock.
  • Contribution to revitalization of European rural areas across the whole value chain through cooperation between primary producers and biorefinery operators.
  • Creation of ‘green’, fair and skilled jobs and new and local business opportunities
  • Social acceptance of circular bio-based solutions and products.

Scope

Developing and deploying sustainable climate-positive natural fibre feedstock is essential for supporting numerous existing bio-based value chains as well as for potentially creating new ones. Sustainable agricultural and forestry practices can deliver feedstock meeting industry requirements (such as fibre yield, quality) while ensuring all aspects of sustainability, thus offering significant opportunities not only for industrial competitiveness, but also for climate change mitigation, rural development, and transition to low carbon bioeconomy.

The scope covers the establishment of industrial fibre crop production systems, compatible with the biodiversity protection and enhancement, and soil health, not interfering with (and where applicable taking advantage of synergies with) with food value chains through sustainable cultivation practices70 as well as maintenance or enhancement of soil health, soil carbon sequestration potential, soil regeneration, contributing to environmental benefits.

The scope includes fibres from primary non-woody crops and/or wood-based fibres, as well as fibres from the respective residues and side streams. The scope excludes algae, while higher aquatic plants are included proven they have a starting TRL at least 6. Both long and short fibre applications are in scope. Natural fibres (including modified fibres) are in scope, while synthetic bio-based fibres are excluded. The scope also includes tackling bottlenecks in trait optimization and cultivation practice where applicable.

Proposals under this topic should:

  • When targeting non-woody fibre crops74 and their residues:
    • Demonstrate large scale cultivation of fibre crops, aiming at high land use
      efficiency, low-ILUC-risk and high yield (or increase in crop yield with respect to a specific benchmark), providing environmental gains and enhanced ecosystem services at local scale, to:

      • validate sustainable agronomic practices and cultivation schemes or growing
        systems through sustainable practices (including where applicable cultivation on marginal and/or contaminated soils) in view of further integration of the crops in scope into current practices; implement measures to ensure avoidance of potential negative effects of large scale cultivation systems (e.g., impact of monocultures/risk of habitat destruction, introduction of invasive species etc);
      • prove high yield/productivity maximising land use efficiency, taking into account where applicable any trade-offs between lower yield with additional social and environmental benefits (including long-term effects), and break-even costs.

The feedstock in scope can include established fibre crops as well as promising ones
(already proven at least at TRL 6). Proposals may also include activities at lower final
TRL, e.g., small field trials, on crop breeding approaches adapted to local pedo-climatic
conditions, including via gene editing, in view of further upscaling beyond the project
duration.

  •  When targeting wood-based fibres78 and their residues:
    • Demonstrate sustainable, transparent and traceable wood raw material supply chain, providing environmental gains and enhanced ecosystem services at local scale, and covering high yield (or increase in fibre yield with respect to a specific benchmark), aiming at high land use efficiency.
    • Sustainable, traceable and transparent wood raw material supply chain including avoidance of deforestation aiming at improving biodiversity and carbon sinks.

Proposals may also include activities (at lower final TRL) on wood species breeding
approaches adapted to local pedo-climatic conditions, including by specific techniques
such as precision breeding and somatic embryogenesis.

  • Demonstrate innovative biorefinery processes to convert fibre feedstock into SSbD biobased materials and products. The scope includes garment applications, technical textiles, composites, nonwovens, fibre-based packaging among others. The demonstration should include aspects related to optimisation of fibre extraction yield, mechanical physical-chemical properties, fibre fineness, resource efficiency. Chemical, biotech and physical-chemical approaches may be considered.
  • The scope also covers cascading valorisation of co-products, residual biomass and
    side streams from all steps in the value chain, to benefit the overall business case.
  • Assess the replication potential of the demonstrated value chain(s) across EU/EEA/AC
    taking into consideration different environmental and cultivation/growth conditions.
  • Perform an assessment of environmental impacts79 including aspects related to land
    use, required inputs, CO2 footprint from cultivation, harvesting and processing of
    targeted crops/feedstock, biodiversity impacts80.
  • Include a task to integrate assessment based on the safe-and-sustainable-by-design (SSbD) framework, developed by the European Commission, for assessing the safety and sustainability of demonstrated biochemicals and biomaterials. Under this context, projects are expected to contribute with and develop recommendations that can advance further the application of the SSbD framework.
  • Develop guidelines or recommendations for farmers, forest owners and biorefinery operators and policy makers (in particular, local and regional authorities), to ensure mutual benefits.
  • Address any regulatory bottlenecks or related issues relevant to the targeted end
    market(s), ensuring compatibility in the perspective of potential future scale-up.
  • Maximise the socio-economic impact at territorial level, by identifying strategies for engaging local communities and providing support, for example (but not exclusively) in case of areas facing environmental pressures such as drought, biodiversity decline, etc or socio-economic difficulties such as depopulation, disadvantaged communities and others.

Proposals should implement the multi-actor approach and ensure adequate involvement of all key actors in the value chains relevant for this topic, across the sustainable circular bio-based system, including primary biomass producers (farmers and forest owners) and other rural and civil society actors (including SMEs and NGOs), bio-based industries, end-users/consumers, local communities, local and regional authorities, education and research sectors, including on social innovation based on effective cooperation models.

Proposals may consider making existing/new industrial assets (e.g., labs, test rigs, etc.) accessible to researchers, SMEs, etc., for visiting, or training and testing bio-based processes.

Proposals should seek for links and complementarities and avoid overlaps with past, ongoing and upcoming EU funded projects, including those funded under H2020, HEU and the BBI JU and CBE JU.

General Information

Call Type
EU Horizon Europe
Eligible Country/ies
EU + Horizon Europe associated countries
Call Identifier (if any)
HORIZON-JU-CBE-2024-IAFlag-03
Expected Outcome or Impact
Expected outcomes:

The successful proposals will facilitate the large-scale deployment of fibre crops and wood fibres
for biorefining applications in line with the EU Bioeconomy Strategy64 and the updated EU
Industrial Strategy65 and will allow reaching the objectives of the Circular Economy66 and Zero
Pollution Action Plan67, the Biodiversity Strategy68, the Long-term vision for the EU rural areas69,
and the objectives of the R&I Mission ‘A Soil Deal for Europe’ (in particular, contribution to its
objective to reduce soil pollution and enhance restoration and improve soil structure to enhance
soil biodiversity), as well as the upcoming European partnership on Agroecology. Contribution to
the Mission Restore our Oceans and Waters’ in regards to reduction of microplastics pollution.
Project results should contribute to the following expected outcomes:
• Implementation of (environmentally and economically) sound value chains for biorefinery
applications based on sustainable bio-based fibre feedstock, enabling diversification of
business opportunities and income sources for all actors in the bio-based sectors via
cooperation between primary producers and bio-based industries.
• Availability of bio-based products (based on fibres) meeting market requirements including
via application testing.
• Improved circularity and resource efficiency of bio-based value chains via practical
application of circular bioeconomy, encompassing the resource- and energy-efficient,
cascading use of sustainably sourced biomass.
• Significantly improved sustainability, strategic autonomy, resilience and competitiveness
of the European bio-based industry while reducing the dependence on imported feedstock.
• Contribution to revitalization of European rural areas across the whole value chain through
cooperation between primary producers and biorefinery operators.
• Creation of ‘green’, fair and skilled jobs and new and local business opportunities
• Social acceptance of circular bio-based solutions and products.
Target Groups
Research Institutes, Academia, Small- and Medium Enterprises, Industry, Individuals, Start-Ups
Submission Deadlines
Single fixed deadline
(Next) Submission Deadline
18 September 2024
Type of Funding Instrument
Individual Support
Overall budget for all projects [EURO]
€213 million

Author Info

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Patric Gerö

Member since 2 years ago
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