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Biodegradable polymers for sustainable packaging materials (Innovation Action)

ExpectedOutcome:

Projects are expected to contribute to the following outcomes:

  • The packaging industry will have access to the next generation of biodegradable polymer materials, which will also be recyclable materials. Plastic materials producers will switch from PP, PE, and PET to bio-degradable materials with reduced GHG emissions along the value chain.
  • The packaging industry will apply business model of circularity-by-design and sustainable end-of-life (EoL) solutions for plastic packaging materials. This has the potential to lead to a reduction in landfill waste volume of packaging materials; and to a reduction of littering of plastics, coherent with the ambition of the Horizon Europe Ocean and Waters mission, to reduce the plastic pollution of the oceans. Projects are expected to contribute to the Plastics strategy, the Single-use Plastics Directive and the EU Circular Economy Action plan (CEAP).
  • Standards and labels for specific applications will be further defined based on the development of testing of biodegradability of plastics in open environments

Scope:

Proposals should address at least four of the following activities:

  • Develop new, demonstrate and scale-up novel advanced bio-degradable polymer materials and innovative processes that will allow the bio-degradable polymers to be produced at a large scale with a similar economy of scale to replace present production with PE, PP and PET, and with an improved sustainability profile compared to present production and EoL characteristics.
  • Develop sustainable additives and catalysts to support the production of bio-degradable polymers.
  • Provide evidence with life cycle and techno-economic assessment (LCA/TEA) that the cost for the novel advanced biodegradable polymer products are not significantly higher compared to existing polymer products (PE, PP, PET) on the market.
  • Scale up the production of packaging materials at pilot level.
  • Identify and test the biodegradability pathways in all environmentally relevant conditions (for the application of the developed material in relevant shape or form); and extensive quantified risk analysis from both a human and environmental perspective for all the different intermediate and end products of biodegradation, including quantification of the contribution to GHG emissions. Contribute to further defining standards and labels for specific applications. Model the lifetime of the developed polymers along the biodegradation pathway in environmentally relevant conditions, both in natural, (terrestrial and marine), and in waste processing environments.
  • Demonstrate complete biodegradability in all relevant conditions and environmental compartments (e.g. landfill, compost site, litter in marine-freshwater-sediment-soil) within acceptable timeframes, determination of the main influencing environmental conditions; and assessment of the impact on the environment. Integrate a holistic sustainability assessment, accounting for the full life cycle (including sourcing of feedstock).

Develop and demonstrate circular business model for production at industrial level, where the release of GHG emissions is; and assess significantly reduced; and assess the potential of secondary raw materials as a feedstock (including from renewable sources) for the production of bio-degradable polymers.

To enable a fast development of new advanced materials, digital tools, such as modelling and simulation, and characterisation techniques (including those provided by analytical infrastructures) are under the scope, assisted by advanced methods, e.g. physics-based methods or artificial intelligence (including machine learning).

The future Commission initiative for Safe and Sustainable by Design will set a framework for assessing safety and sustainability of chemicals and materials and should be considered as a baseline in the proposal.

Proposals submitted under this topic should include a business case and exploitation strategy, as outlined in the introduction to this Destination.

This topic requires the effective contribution of SSH disciplines and the involvement of SSH experts, institutions as well as the inclusion of relevant SSH expertise, in order to produce meaningful and significant effects enhancing the societal impact of the related research activities. An early involvement of end users could be essential.

Projects should build on or seek collaboration with existing projects (e.g. Open Innovation Testbeds) and develop synergies with other relevant European, national or regional initiatives, funding programmes and platforms. Where relevant, proposals should seek links with and capitalise on the results of past and ongoing EU funded research projects, including the ones under Cluster 6 'Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment' and Circular Bio-based Europe JU (CBE JU).

Specific Topic Conditions:

Activities are expected to start at TRL 4 and achieve TRL 6-7 by the end of the project – see General Annex B

General Information

Call Type
EU Horizon Europe
Eligible Country/ies
EU27 + associated countries for Horizon Europe
Call Identifier (if any)
HORIZON-CL4-2024-RESILIENCE-01-35
Expected Outcome or Impact
Projects are expected to contribute to the following outcomes:

1. The packaging industry will have access to the next generation of biodegradable polymer materials, which will also be recyclable materials. Plastic materials producers will switch from PP, PE, and PET to bio-degradable materials with reduced GHG emissions along the value chain.
2. The packaging industry will apply business model of circularity-by-design and sustainable end-of-life (EoL) solutions for plastic packaging materials. This has the potential to lead to a reduction in landfill waste volume of packaging materials; and to a reduction of littering of plastics, coherent with the ambition of the Horizon Europe Ocean and Waters mission, to reduce the plastic pollution of the oceans. Projects are expected to contribute to the Plastics strategy, the Single-use Plastics Directive and the EU Circular Economy Action plan (CEAP).
3. Standards and labels for specific applications will be further defined based on the development of testing of biodegradability of plastics in open environments
Target Groups
Research Institutes, Academia, Small- and Medium Enterprises, Industry, Start-Ups
Submission Deadlines
Single fixed deadline
(Next) Submission Deadline
7 February 2024
Type of Funding Instrument
Collaborative Projects / Consortia
Max. funding amount per project [EURO]
8,000,000 €
Overall budget for all projects [EURO]
31,000,000 €

Author Info

John Fahlteich

Member since 2 years ago
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