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Innovative technologies for zero pollution, zero-waste biorefineries
Horizon Europe - Cluster 6 - Destination 4: Clean Environment and Zero Pollution
Estimated EU contribution per project
Link to the call
Link to the submission
Successful proposals will support researchers and innovators to improve the environmental performances and circularity of bio-based systems in industrial sectors. Project outcomes will contribute to enhance circular bio-based systems operating according to planetary boundaries, replacing fossil-based systems and their carbon footprint, mitigating climate change and protecting air, water and soil quality along industrial value chains, in line with the European Green Deal and the EU zero pollution action plan.
Pollution from anthropogenic activities undermines the integrity of Earth ecosystems and severely affects the natural resources essential for human life. The EU bioeconomy strategy 2030 sets environmental protection at the basis of the modernisation of bio-based industries in the Union, to ensure a trustful green transition of EU economy away from a linear fossil-based system.
To develop solutions for preventing and controlling pollution from bio-based industries, proposals should:
- Design integrated technical solutions reducing exhaust flows from bio-based processes through innovative technologies of extraction, recirculation, fractionation and conversion of such flows, to reach the zero-pollution ambition starting from the emissions to soil, water and air. The exhaust flows considered should include the ones that are usually not considered in the common pollution prevention and control operations, such as hot water, vapours, odours etc. The reduction of impacts on climate change, based on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and accessorily via increase of carbon removals, and on biodiversity should be considered as well;
- Individuate replacement of hazardous substances used in the processes with safe bio-based ones;
- Design the biorefinery operations to re-circulate any process flows such as process air and water and to increase energy efficiency including heat recovery;
- Design the biorefinery operations in order to reduce noise emissions;
- Design circularity of any processes, including through symbiosis between industrial installations to share and exploit materials and carrier streams, and looking on the best practices already available or under development, including in other EU R&I programmes to reach the zero-waste ambition;
- Develop a case-study of integrated zero-pollution technical solutions in a selected biorefinery and design the adaptation of the case-study to be operational at all scales, from the large/medium to the small scale (the latter shows potentially high specific environmental impacts);
- Pilot and validate digital innovation for bio-based processes enabling the zero-pollution and zero-waste biorefinery ambition. Digital tools may include data sharing platforms for the management of supply and value chains, as well as industrial symbiosis operations between biorefineries, industrial hubs, etc.;
- Develop and validate integrated monitoring systems, operated by the industry at the level of the biorefinery, of the effective reduction of pollutant emissions, affecting soil, water and air quality, noise levels and waste production from biorefineries.
Where relevant, proposals should seek links with and capitalise on the results of past and ongoing EU funded projects, including under the Circular Bio-based Europe JU and other partnerships of Horizon Europe.
In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.
Projects results are expected to contribute to the following expected outcomes:
- Enhanced environmental performances of bio-based processes approaching the zero-waste, zero-pollution ambition.
- Integrated pollution prevention and control in bio-based systems targeting soil, water and air quality as well as noise levels.
Regions / countries for funding
Moldova (Moldova), Albania (Shqipëria), Armenia (Հայաստան), Azerbaijan (Azərbaycan), Belarus (Беларусь), 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), New Zealand (Aotearoa), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Tunisia (تونس /Tūnis), Türkiye, Ukraine (Україна), United Kingdom
Education and training institution, International organization, 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 should reach TRL 4-5 by the end of the project.
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 (see General Annex F) must not disclose their organisation names, acronyms, logos, nor names of personnel in Part B of their first stage application (see General Annex E).
The limit for a first-stage application is 10 pages. The limit for a full application (Part B) is 45 pages.