Research & Innovation - Participant Portal

TOPIC : Industrial technologies for the valorisation of European bio-resources into high added value process streams

Topic identifier: SPIRE-03-2016
Publication date: 14 October 2015

Types of action: IA Innovation action
Opening date:
15 October 2015
Deadline: 21 January 2016 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Industrial Leadership
Work Programme Year: H2020-2016-2017
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Bio-based resources constitute a valuable source of sustainable raw materials for Europe, but currently they are not utilised in an optimal way. For example, residues from agriculture and forestry (e.g. lignocellulose), as well as waste streams from aquaculture, farms, and food and feed industry (including skins, feathers, fats, shells, by-products from slaughter-houses and fish mills, etc.) and biodegradable industrial waste are often not fully exploited. Considering that such bio-resources contain valuable substances for the production of high added value chemicals and bio-materials (e.g. sugars, fatty acids, amino acids, alcohols, resins, fibres, aromatic substances, proteins), which could provide sustainable alternatives to analogues currently manufactured from fossil feedstock, their efficient utilisation is needed in order to support the establishment of a more sustainable and efficient industry in Europe. Furthermore, these bio-based streams could provide access to new building blocks and products with added functionalities, which are currently not commercially available, thus opening new market opportunities for industry.

For a wider utilisation of such bio-resources, the development of technologies for the efficient processing, isolation, fractionation and purification of these waste and side streams, will be essential to efficiently recover valuable bio-components, while maintaining key chemical functionalities present in bio-based molecules. The industrial deployment of such technologies will allow improving the competitiveness of the European chemical and process industry and will ensure a better utilisation of available European bio-resources. These technologies will also support a decrease in waste generation and contribute to making Europe self-sufficient in terms of raw materials, leading to increased long term sustainability for the European process industry.


Proposals should address the efficient utilisation of biomass waste streams of organic nature from industrial processes (e.g. food and feed industry, aquaculture)and/or side streams from harvesting activities (e.g. agricultural and forestry harvesting residues) ensuring non-competition with higher value chains (e.g. food production). The proposals should aim to provide novel concepts to fully valorise these bio-resources, providing high added-value products, chemical building blocks and bio-based streams (bio-chemicals, monomers, fibres, polymers, proteins etc.) for further utilisation in industry. The concepts taken into account should yield novel products and process streams with a quality that is equal or better than the one of the available fossil analogues already on the market and where possible, provide opportunities to open new markets (e.g. development of novel products).

Proposals should target technologies (e.g. chemo/thermo/bio-catalytic technologies and fermentation), which can include recovery, and primary (e.g. sugars, lignin, tannins, resins, proteins) and/or secondary (e.g. furans, sugar acids, carboxylic acids, fatty acids and aromatics) processing of bio-resources, leading to bio- products and streams with high added value. The concepts are expected to provide significant added value creation in the process. Proposals are expected to address R&I activities covering the following areas:

  • Chemo/thermo/bio-catalytic technologies and fermentation route development for conversion processes as well as purification processes where needed, including mastering of the technology in order to yield (new) bio-based building blocks, polymers and chemicals and derived product portfolios in a relevant industrial environment.
  • Market analysis and techno-economical evaluation of the concepts proposed to assess the economic viability of the approaches and a business plan for the deployment of the technology.

The concepts should demonstrate improved resource efficiency based on Life Cycle Assessment, including a significant reduction of fossil resources and energy utilisation, as well as water and other utilities. The concepts should also bring a reduction in CO2 emissions compared to the commercially utilised process (or similar for new processes that do not have commercial analogues).

Proposals should envisage the demonstration of the concepts in an industrially relevant environment and show the potential for their integration into the relevant industrial sectors. An integrated waste management strategy, considering also industrial waste, will add value to the proposal. Demonstration of the integration in existing industrial scenarios would be a major added-value. The demonstration activities are expected to address the scalability and replicability of the proposed concepts.

Activities are expected to focus on Technology Readiness Levels 5 to 7 and to be centred around TRL 6.

A significant participation of SMEs with R&D capacities is encouraged.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 5 and 7 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:
  • The concepts proposed should provide a decreased utilisation of fossil resources in the process industry of at least 30 % compared to similar commercially available processes.
  • The concepts proposed should provide an improvement in energy utilisation in the process industry of at least 30 % compared to similar commercially available processes.
  • The concepts proposed should provide a decrease in CO2 emissions of at least 30% compared to similar commercially available processes.
  • The economic viability of the concepts should be demonstrated, as well as the contribution to the long term sustainability of the industrial sectors targeted.
  • The proposal should provide a clear business case for the deployment of the solutions in industry.

Proposals should include a business case and exploitation strategy, as outlined in the Introduction to the LEIT part of this Work Programme.

Topic conditions and documents

Please read carefully all provisions below before the preparation of your application.

    described in part A of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.

    Note also that a number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects (follow the links to China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan).

    described in part B and C of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.

    Proposal page limits and layout: Please refer to Part B of the standard proposal template.


    3.1  Evaluation criteria and procedure, scoring and threshold:
    described in part H of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme, with the following exceptions:

    For single-stage and second-stage evaluations, the threshold for the criteria Excellence and Impact will be 4.
    The overall threshold, applying to the sum of the three individual scores, will be 12.

    In case of equal overall scores in the ranked list, the priority order of proposals will be established in accordance with part H of the General Annexes, except that proposals will be ranked on the basis of individual scores for the Impact criterion before the Excellence criterion.

    In case of equal overall scores in the ranked list, the priority order of proposals will be established in accordance with part H of the General Annexes, except, when comparing ex aequo proposals of different topics, the proposals will be ranked first according to the position in the topic ranked lists.

    3.2 Submission and evaluation process: Guide to the submission and evaluation process

    Information on the outcome of single-stage evaluation: maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
    Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.

    for the type of action under this topic

    Innovation Action:

    Specific provisions and funding rates
    Standard proposal template
    Standard evaluation form
    H2020 General MGA -Multi-Beneficiary
    Annotated Grant Agreement

    Horizon 2020 budget flexibility

    Classified information

    Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply.

    Financial support to Third Parties – where a topic description foresees financial support to Third Parties, these provisions apply.

    must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions, and proposals must refer to measures envisaged. 

    Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.


    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 - Regulation of Establishment

    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation

    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Introduction

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Introduction to Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies (LEITs)

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Nanotechnologies, advanced materials, advanced manufacturing and processing, biotechnology

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Cross-cutting activities (Focus Areas)

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: General Annexes


Additional documents

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