Filter Search for grants
Call key data
Non-plant biomass feedstock for industrial applications: technologies and processes to convert non-lignocellulosic biomass and waste into bio-based chemicals, materials and products, improving the cascading valorisation of biomass
Horizon Europe - Cluster 6 - Destination 3: Circular Economy and Bioeconomy Sectors
Estimated EU contribution per project
Link to the call
Link to the submission
Circular bioeconomy will rely on the availability of diversified and low/no-ILUC (Indirect Land Use Change) sources of biomass but also on the ability to design, develop and scale-up processes to valorise such feedstock towards high-value, sustainable bio-based products. Non-Lignocellulosic Biomass (NLBM), and related residual non-lignocellulosic biomass’, provide options beyond plant biomass. However, NLBM from aquatic and terrestrial sources, often face challenges to reach economies of scale and biorefining production intensification, driven also by a complex and varying feedstock composition.
Project activities should address:
- Identification and optimization of suitable NLBM feedstock, with focus on higher resources efficiency and circularity, while respecting the waste hierarchy principles. Such feedstock to be deployed in adequate production systems, including upcycling approaches. More specifically, design and develop innovative upstream and conversion processes at pilot scale (e.g., via application of enzymes, industrial microbial hosts,microbiomes from natural ecosystems and diverse industrial biotech or other appropriate enabling technologies);
- Develop downstream conversion processes, building towards a targeted portfolio of high-value bio-based process outputs / bio-based products that can be later obtained in NLBM integrated biorefineries (of appropriate scale);
- Assessment of the proposed/developed innovative processes against techno-economic feasibility to valorise NLBM (waste) (at different potential biorefinery scales), showcasing/ensuring process flexibility to cope with the composition heterogeneity of the chosen NLBM feedstock(s);
- Application of ex ante life-cycle assessment methodologies to ensure gains in environmental performance (including biodiversity), but also socio-economic aspects, as well ensuring safety for the consumers and operators;
- Enable participatory approaches and knowledge sharing across circular bio-based value chains. This includes feedstock providers (rural, coastal, urban and peri-urban dimensions, as appropriate), bio-based (process) industry, end-users and the civil society, aiming for a comprehensive scoping of challenges (multiple dimensions) and opportunities of valorising NLBM and NLBM waste.
- Production of biofuels and bioenergy, as the main production focus, falls outside the scope of this topic (their co-production, while following the cascading biomass use principles, is not excluded though). Food/feed ingredients, cosmetics-related compounds and especially those with health-promoting properties (nutraceuticals), may be in scope, provided their toxicological and nutritional safety has been assessed and guaranteed at EU level.
Where relevant, proposals should seek links and synergies as well as capitalise on the results of past and ongoing EU research projects under Horizon 2020, LIFE and Horizon Europe (especially under the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) / Circular Bio-based Europe Joint Undertaking (CBE JU)).
Proposals should also include a dedicated task, appropriate resources and a plan on how they will collaborate with other projects funded under this topic and other relevant topics.
Social sciences and humanities (SSH) and social innovation aspects should be considered for this topic.
Expected effects and impacts
A successful proposal will contribute to expected impacts under Destination ‘Circular economy and bioeconomy sectors’, related to consumers and industry, and in line with: the European Green Deal, the circular economy action plan, EU biodiversity strategy for 2030, the EU bioeconomy strategy & its action plan, the Waste Framework Directive and the EU industrial strategy.
In particular, expected impacts to be addressed by successful proposals include: i) developing innovative and sustainable value-chains in the bio-based sectors and ii) enhancing European industrial sustainability, competitiveness and resource independence.
- Increased sustainability of biomass resources valorised in industrial applications, lowering land dependence and Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) impacts, protecting biodiversity and respecting ecosystems integrity;
- Contribution to climate-neutrality (primarily via reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and accessorily via increase of carbon removals), zero pollution and resource efficiency via practical application of the circular (bio)economy concept;
- Improved industrial competitiveness, strategic autonomy and resource independence of bio-based value chains of EU Member States and/or Associated Countries, due to more sustainable industrial products and practices.
- Environmental, economic and social benefits on territorial and municipal level, due to increased circularity and upcycling of low-value, Non-Lignocellulosic Biomass (NLBM) (waste), of terrestrial or aquatic origin, including its upcycling into high-value applications.
- SMEs engagement, including the regional dimension, for skilled jobs creation.
- Increased cooperation and awareness across circular bio-based value chains, including waste managers, biomass feedstock providers, bio-based (process) industry, end-users and the civil society.
Regions / countries for funding
Moldova (Moldova), Albania (Shqipëria), Armenia (Հայաստան), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina / Босна и Херцеговина), Faeroes (Føroyar / Færøerne), Georgia (საქართველო), Island (Ísland), Israel (ישראל / إِسْرَائِيل), Kosovo (Kosova/Kosovë / Косово), Montenegro (Црна Гора), Morocco (المغرب), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Tunisia (تونس /Tūnis), Türkiye, Ukraine (Україна), United Kingdom
EU Body, Education and training institution, International organization, Natural Person, Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) / Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Other, Private institution, incl. private company (private for profit), Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs), Research Institution incl. University, Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)
To be eligible for funding, applicants must be established in one of the following countries:
- the Member States of the European Union, including their outermost regions
- the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) linked to the Member States
- third countries associated to Horizon Europe - see list of particpating countries
Only legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes, as beneficiaries, three legal entities independent from each other and each established in a different country as follows:
- at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State; and
- at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
Any legal entity, regardless of its place of establishment, including legal entities from non-associated third countries or international organisations (including international European research organisations) is eligible to participate (whether it is eligible for funding or not), provided that the conditions laid down in the Horizon Europe Regulation have been met, along with any other conditions laid down in the specific call topic.
A ‘legal entity’ means any natural or legal person created and recognised as such under national law, EU law or international law, which has legal personality and which may, acting in its own name, exercise rights and be subject to obligations, or an entity without legal personality.
- Affiliated entities — Affiliated entities (i.e. entities with a legal or capital link to a beneficiary which participate in the action with similar rights and obligations to the beneficiaries, but which do not sign the grant agreement and therefore do not become beneficiaries themselves) are allowed, if they are eligible for participation and funding.
- Associated partners — Associated partners (i.e. entities which participate in the action without signing the grant agreement, and without the right to charge costs or claim contributions) are allowed, subject to any conditions regarding associated partners set out in the specific call conditions.
- Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees to protect the EU’s financial interests equivalent to those offered by legal persons.
- EU bodies — Legal entities created under EU law including decentralised agencies may be part of the consortium, unless provided for otherwise in their basic act.
- Joint Research Centre (‘JRC’)— Where provided for in the specific call conditions, applicants may include in their proposals the possible contribution of the JRC but the JRC will not participate in the preparation and submission of the proposal. Applicants will indicate the contribution that the JRC could bring to the project based on the scope of the topic text. After the evaluation process, the JRC and the consortium selected for funding may come to an agreement on the specific terms of the participation of the JRC. If an agreement is found, the JRC may accede to the grant agreement as beneficiary requesting zero funding or participate as an associated partner, and would accede to the consortium as a member.
- Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members (e.g. European research infrastructure consortia (ERICs)) may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’. However, if the action is in practice implemented by the individual members, those members should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible
other eligibility criteria
Activities are expected to achieve TRL 5 by the end of the project.
For the Technology Readiness Level (TRL), the following definitions apply:
- TRL 1 — Basic principles observed
- TRL 2 — Technology concept formulated
- TRL 3 — Experimental proof of concept
- TRL 4 — Technology validated in a lab
- TRL 5 — Technology validated in a relevant environment (industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling technologies)
- TRL 6 — Technology demonstrated in a relevant environment (industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling technologies)
- TRL 7 — System prototype demonstration in an operational environment
- TRL 8 — System complete and qualified
- TRL 9 — Actual system proven in an operational environment (competitive manufacturing in the case of key enabling technologies, or in space)
Relevance for EU Macro-Region
EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region
UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)
All proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funders & Tenders Portal electronic submission system (accessible via the topic page in the Search Funding & Tenders section). Paper submissions are NOT possible.
Proposals must be complete and contain all parts and mandatory annexes and supporting documents, e.g. plan for the exploitation and dissemination of the results including communication activities, etc.
The application form will have two parts:
- Part A (to be filled in directly online) contains administrative information about the applicant organisations (future coordinator and beneficiaries and affiliated entities), the summarised budget for the proposal and call-specific questions;
- Part B (to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system) contains the technical description of the project.
Annexes and supporting documents will be directly available in the submission system and must be uploaded as PDF files (or other formats allowed by the system).
This call follows a two-stage approach.
This topic is part of the blind evaluation pilot under which first stage proposals will be evaluated blindly. Applicants submitting a proposal under the blind evaluation pilot must not disclose their organisation names, acronyms, logos nor names of personnel in Part B of their first-stage application.
The limit for a first-stage application is 10 pages. The limit for a full application (Part B) is 45 pages. In order to include a business case and exploitation strategy, the page limit in part B of the General Annexes is exceptionally extended by 3 pages.