Funding or Finance Opportunity

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Bio-based value chains for valorisation of sustainable oil crops

Expected outcomes

The successful proposals will facilitate the large-scale deployment of oil crops for biorefining applications in line with the EU Bioeconomy Strategy the Long-term vision for the EU rural areas, and the updated EU Industrial Strategy and will allow reaching the objectives of the Circular Economy and Zero Pollution Action Plan, the Biodiversity Strategy, and the objectives of R&I Mission ‘A Soil Deal for Europe’. Project results should contribute to the following expected outcomes:

  • Establishment of oil crop production systems at large scale not interfering with (and where
    applicable establishing synergies with) food value chains through sustainable cultivation
    practices45 compatible with the objectives of biodiversity protection and restoration.
  • Preservation or enhancement of soil health, soil carbon sequestration potential, soil
    regeneration, contributing to environmental benefits46.
  • Oil yield, quality and purity meeting biorefinery processing requirements (if a benchmark is
    available: significant increase in oil yield, quality and purity), while maximising land use
    efficiency, and minimising ILUC, and ensuring - at the minimum - no negative impact on
    the environment.
  • Availability of bio-based products from targeted oil crops meeting market requirements,
    including via application testing.
  • 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 opportunitiesSocial
    acceptance of circular bio-based solutions and products.

Scope

Developing and deploying climate-positive industrial crop feedstock in Europe compatible with the objectives of biodiversity protection is essential for the EU’s strategic autonomy and industrial competitiveness. Oil crops are key feedstock for numerous bio-based chemicals and materials; their large variety could enable the enhancement of existing bio-based value chains and the creation of new ones.

The scope covers the industrial use of plant oil crops including cascading use of their sidestreams/residues. Algae are out of scope of this topic, as well as biofuel applications. Respecting the ‘food first’ principle, multipurpose oil crops are in scope. Proposals under this topic should:

  • Demonstrate large scale cultivation of low-ILUC-risk oil crops, providing environmental gains and enhanced ecosystem services47 at local scale, to:
    • validate sustainable agronomic practices and cultivation schemes (including where applicable cultivation on marginal48 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 oil crops as well as promising ones
(already proven at least at TRL 6). Proposals may also include a limited amount of activities at lower final TRL, e.g. small field trials, on crop breeding approaches adapted to local pedo-climatic conditions, including via gene editing, to speed up the crop and trait optimisation49, in view of further upscale beyond the project duration.

  • Demonstrate innovative biorefinery processes at large scale to convert oils from the targeted crops into bio-based SSbD50 chemicals and materials. The demonstration should include aspects related to optimisation of oil extraction and treatment, conversion of oil into intermediates and products, process(es) yield and selectivity as well as resource efficiency. Chemical, biotech and physical-chemical approaches are in scope.
  • Address downstream processing (separation and purification) to ensure that biorefinery products meet final application requirements. The scope should also  include cascading valorisation of co-products, residual biomass and side streams considering all steps of the value chain, to benefit the overall business case.
  • Assess the replication potential of the demonstrated value chain(s) across Europe, taking into consideration different environmental and cultivation conditions.
  • Perform an assessment of environmental impacts51 including aspects related to land use, required inputs, CO2 footprint from cultivation and harvesting and further processing of targeted crops, biodiversity impacts52.
  • Moreover, include a task to integrate assessment based on the safe-and sustainable-bydesign (SSbD) framework53, developed by the European Commission, for assessing the safety and sustainability of demonstrated bio based chemicals and bio-based materials. Under this context, projects are expected to contribute to and develop recommendations that can advance further the application of the SSbD framework.
  • Depending on the selected type of soils, measures for ensuring the safety for the operators and end-users as well as the environment should be ensured (in particular but not exclusively in case of contaminated soils).
  • Develop guidelines for recommendations to farmers, 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, by identifying strategies for engaging local
    communities and stakeholders and providing support training, and proposing incentives and/or other schemes for adopting sustainable oilseed crops for biorefineries in a value chain approach, 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 other rural and civil society actors (including SMEs and NGOs) bio-based industries, end-users, local communities, local and regional authorities, education and research sectors, including on social innovation practices 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 as well as with other instruments.

General Information

Call Type
EU Horizon Europe
Eligible Country/ies
EU + Horizon Europe associated countries
Call Identifier (if any)
HORIZON-JU-CBE-2024-IAFlag-01
Expected Outcome or Impact
The successful proposals will facilitate the large-scale deployment of oil crops for biorefining
applications in line with the EU Bioeconomy Strategy39 the Long-term vision for the EU rural
areas40, and the updated EU Industrial Strategy41 and will allow reaching the objectives of the
Circular Economy42 and Zero Pollution Action Plan43, the Biodiversity Strategy44, and the
objectives of R&I Mission ‘A Soil Deal for Europe’.
Project results should contribute to the following expected outcomes:
• Establishment of oil crop production systems at large scale not interfering with (and where
applicable establishing synergies with) food value chains through sustainable cultivation
practices45 compatible with the objectives of biodiversity protection and restoration.
• Preservation or enhancement of soil health, soil carbon sequestration potential, soil
regeneration, contributing to environmental benefits46.
• Oil yield, quality and purity meeting biorefinery processing requirements (if a benchmark is
available: significant increase in oil yield, quality and purity), while maximising land use
efficiency, and minimising ILUC, and ensuring - at the minimum - no negative impact on
the environment.
• Availability of bio-based products from targeted oil crops meeting market requirements,
including via application testing.
• 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 opportunitiesSocial
acceptance of circular bio-based solutions and products.
Target Groups
Research Institutes, Academia, Small- and Medium Enterprises, Industry, Non-government organisations, Start-Ups
Submission Deadlines
Single fixed deadline
(Next) Submission Deadline
18 September 2024
Type of Funding Instrument
Collaborative Projects / Consortia
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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