EU green lights €120M in advanced bioeconomy projects

June 27, 2015 |

In Brussels, The Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking, a public-private partnership between the EU and the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC), has approved the funding of 10 projects totalling €120 million to boost the EU capacity to stimulate growth and jobs via a more circular, low carbon and sustainable bioeconomy.

The 7 funded research projects will tackle specific value chain challenges such as sustainability, technology and competitiveness. The 2 demonstration projects will demonstrate the technological and economic viability of biorefinery systems and processes for making chemicals from wood, and for making high value products for detergents, personal care, paints and coatings and composites from sugar beet pulp. The industrial scale flagship project will make use of cardoon, an under-utilised oil crop grown on arid and marginal lands, to extract vegetable oils to be further converted into bio-based products (bio-lubricants, cosmetics, bio-plastics). By- and co-products from the process will also be valorised for energy, feed for animals and added value chemical production.

The European Commission released €50 million of EU public money via the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) leveraging €70 million of investments from industry into projects to boost the European bioeconomy.

The BBI is a €3.7 billion innovative partnership that was officially launched in July 2014. Driven by a unique cross sector industry grouping, the BBI focuses on using Europe’s biomass and wastes to make high value products and bring them to market. Advanced biorefineries and innovative technologies are at the heart of this process, converting renewable resources into sustainable bio-based chemicals, materials and fuels, allowing the EU to reduce its dependence on finite fossil resources.

Marcel Wubbolts, Chairman of the Bio-based Industries Consortium and Chief Technology Officer of Royal DSM said: “Today we celebrate the translation of the vision of the Bio-based Industries Consortium into concrete projects that will help Europe develop a future economic model that is fully sustainable.  The bioeconomy is global and these investments ensure that Europe remains a sustainable, competitive and innovative region.”

Dirk Carrez, Executive Director of the Bio-based Industries Consortium said: “Today we see the first leverage effect of the BBI JU: €50 million of EU public money have raised €70 million in private investments. And this is only the beginning. No doubt that the BBI, and the bioeconomy in general, will play an important role in the Juncker investment plan and in enabling the European circular economy.”

BBI partners

The European Commission is the public partner in the BBI. It supports it with a contribution of €975 million from Horizon 2020, the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation from 2014 to 2020. The activities of the BBI complement the activities funded under Horizon 2020 and seek to establish synergies where relevant.

The Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) is the industrial partner in the PPP. It is made of a unique mix of sectors including agriculture, agro-food, biotechnology / technology providers, forestry/pulp and paper, chemicals and energy. BIC was established in 2012 to collectively represent the private sector in the BBI. To date, BIC has close to 80 full industrial members (large, SMEs, clusters) and about 150 associate members (RTOs, universities, associations, technology platforms).

BIC supports the BBI with a contribution of €2.7 billion, of which €975 million is used to support research and innovation activities, and another €1.7 is provided in the form of additional activities.

BBI 2014 funded projects

Research

US4GREENCHEM: Efficient pre-treatment of lignocellulosic feedstock to advanced bio-based chemicals and biomaterials

PROVIDES: New sustainable pulping technologies

SmartLi and GreenLight:  Fibres and polymers from lignin

CARBOSURF: Fermentation processes to obtain biosurfactants and specialty carbohydrates from agricultural and agro-industrial streams

PROMINENT: Protein products from plant residues

NewFert: Nutrient recovery from bio-based waste streams and residues.

Demonstration

PULP2VALUE: integrated and cost-effective cascading biorefinery system to refine sugar beet pulp and isolate high value products. (Coordinator: Royal Cosun)

ALCHEM: wood to chemicals. (Coordinator: UPM)

Flagship

FIRST2RUN: first-of-a-kind value chain at industrial scale. (Coordinator: Novamont)

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