Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Valorisation of lignin and other side-streams to increase efficiency of biorefineries and increase sustainability of the whole value chain

Topic identifier: BBI-2016-D03
Publication date: 19 April 2016

Types of action: BBI-IA-DEMO Bio-based Industries Innovation action - Demonstration
Opening date:
19 April 2016
Deadline: 08 September 2016 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-JTI-BBI-2016
Work Programme Part: BBI Work Plan 2016
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

High costs of feedstock and energy in the EU require biorefineries to apply highly efficient processes to remain competitive. These include processes to handle and convert by- and co-products from different industrial and commercial activities. And they also include integrating own biorefining operations and maximising the use of intermediate- and side-streams, through recycling or next steps processing.

The predominant component of side-streams from lignocellulosic biomass processing is lignin. Other co-products may vary in content according to the plant: crystalline cellulose, complex polymers and dead cells have also high content in streams from the fermentation stage in biorefineries; while soaps, terpenes and sulphur compounds are found in pulp mills’ black liquor (besides lignin). All these components represent, in various degrees, also potential sources of new feedstock for further valorisation.

At lab and small pilot scale, there are many examples of valorisation of lignin-rich streams.

The challenge is to demonstrate at a larger scale the feasibility and sustainability of valorisation of lignin-rich streams at the core of a full value chain in order to set the basis for a future market deployment of the obtained products.


Demonstrate the techno-economic viability of the efficient valorisation of lignin-rich side-streams from biorefineries or from black liquor streams from the pulp and paper industries. Besides lignin, other streams – such as crystalline cellulose, complex polymers and dead cells from the different stages of biorefineries and soaps, terpenes and sulphur compounds from pulp and paper mills – could be addressed.

In particular, applying the 'cascading use principle[1]' (valorisation of the side-streams) where possible, aiming at realising an integrated, zero-waste biorefinery operation by maximising conversion of different streams available and of the corresponding different materials and compounds. This includes the recovery and recycling of process chemicals, obviating or minimising the need for new input thereof.

Proposals should encompass the whole value chain, proving innovative and efficient technologies and methods to improve sustainability. Proposals should also demonstrate replicability of the developed processes to different side-streams.

Proposals should also include regulatory aspects and the market pull of the targeted chemicals and material, in order to match legislation requirements and those by costumers and end-users, with technical, environmental and economic aspects linked to the bio-based value chain. These aspects include safety, quality and purity of the products by actively building upon existing knowledge and standardisation activities.

Proposals should achieve technology demonstrated in an industrial environment, or a system prototype demonstration in operational environment. Proposals need to address the whole value chain, from feedstock sourcing to market applications (Technology Readiness Levels 6-7).

Proposals should also include a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in order to evaluate the environmental and socio-economic performance of the whole value chain.

It is considered that proposals with a total eligible budget of up to EUR 15 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals with another budget.

Expected Impact:
  • Safety, quality and purity of the (new) products are in line with EU legislation and proven to meet end-market requirements in order to facilitate future market access and commercialisation.
  • Reduction of industrial side-streams routed to disposal as waste.
  • Demonstrated operational- and energy-costs savings as compared to existing processes and technologies.
  • Successful introduction of ‘lignin – to – bio-product’ concepts at semi-commercial scale.
  • Projects under this topic should result in 1 new building block based on biomass of European origin validated at demonstration scale (KPI 4) and/or at least 1 new bio-based material (KPI 5).
  • Contribution to other BBI JU Key Performance Indicators (KPI), specifically:
    • Creation of at least 1 new bio-based value chain (KPI 2) and at least 1 new cooperation project through cross-industry clusters (KPI 3).
    • Lead to new demonstrated consumer products based on bio-based chemicals and materials (KPI 6), or significantly improving the production process of existing ones.
Cross-cutting Priorities:

Cross-cutting Key-Enabling Technologies (KETs)
Socio-economic science and humanities

[1]In the context of this topic the ‘cascading use principle’ means the valorisation of as many as possible fractions from the primary stream, in parallel or subsequent steps.

Topic conditions and documents

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

  1.  List of countries and applicable rules for funding: described in part A of the General Annexes of the H2020 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 Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong &Macau, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan).
  2.  Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in part B and C of the General Annexes of the H2020 Work Programme with the following exceptions: BBI JU Derogation to H2020 Rules for Participation.

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

    3.1 Evaluation criteria, scoring and threshold:
    described in part H of the General Annexes of the H2020 Work Programme, with the exceptions described in part 2.3.6 of the BBI JU Work Plan 2016.

    3.2 Submission and evaluation process: Guide to the submission and evaluation process and the BBI JU Calls - Guide for applicants (RIA-DEMO-CSA).

  4. Indicative timetable for evaluation and grant agreement: 

    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.
  5. Provisions, proposal templates and evaluation forms:

               Specific provisions and funding rates: ddescribed in 2.3.4 of the BBI JU Annual Work Plan 2016.

               BBI JU proposal templates (Administrative forms and Technical annex) are available after entering the "start submission" button and then after entering the "Download Part B Templates" button

               Standard evaluation form (CSA)

               Standard evaluation form (RIA)

               Standard evaluation form (FLAG and DEMO)

               BBI JU Model Grant Agreement – Multi-Beneficiary

                H2020 Annotated Grant Agreement 

  1. Additional provisions:

    Technology readiness levels (TRL), where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply.
  2. Open access 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.
  3. Additional documents

    BBI JU Work Plan 2016
    BBI JU Scientific Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA)
    Horizon 2020 Rules for participation
    BBI JU Derogation to H2020 Rules for Participation
    BBI JU Regulation of establishment
    Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment 


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