Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Innovative processes for sugar recovery and conversion from Municipal Solid Waste (MSW)

Topic identifier: BBI.VC4.F3
Publication date: 19 May 2015

Types of action: BBI-IA-FLAG Bio-based Industries Innovation action - Flagship
Opening date:
19 May 2015
Deadline: 15 September 2015 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

The biodegradable fraction of MSW represents an abundant feedstock rich in sugars and therefore suitable for conversion into bio-based chemicals and fuels through biotechnological processes. However, this fraction is highly variable (both in terms of season and geographic location) and contains other components, such as proteins, fats, ashes and other inhibitor compounds which affect the overall yield of fermentation and enzymatic conversion processes. Despite the existence of MSW-based biorefinery concepts at demonstration plant level, further innovation efforts are needed with a view to demonstrating at industrial scale a first-of-a-kind, cost effective new value chain for the recovery and conversion of MSW-based sugars into bio-based products.


Demonstration of the techno-economic viability of the valorisation of the biodegradable fraction of MSW from sourcing and management of MSW to its conversion. Proposals should address the pre-treatment and/or fractionation of the biodegradable fraction of MSW into a suitable substrate for subsequent biotechnological conversion into sugar derived end products, e.g. bioethanol, biochemical and bioplastics in a cascading approach. When dealing with unsorted MSW, proposals could address the efficient separation of the biodegradable fraction. Proposals should demonstrate technological solutions overcoming inhibitory effects of the various relevant compounds. Proposals should prove the economical access to sufficient raw material to set up the new value chain and ensure the functioning/organisation of the sustainable supply chain. Proposals should pursue all possible means of industrial symbiosis and integration of actors along the whole value chain (including, when relevant, involvement of municipal authorities) and, wherever possible, make use of existing facilities. Safety, quality and purity of the products must be validated in order to meet commercial requirements. Proposals should assess market demand of the targeted products and will consider market pull related activities (e.g. standardisation, consumer perception) aimed at facilitating their market uptake. A Life Cycle Assessment should be carried out in order to evaluate the environmental and socio-economic performance of the developed products. The leading role of relevant industrial partners is considered essential to achieve the full impact.

It is considered that proposals with a total eligible budget of up to EUR 35 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:
  • Contribute to transforming MSW from a problem into an economic opportunity.
  • Improving process parameters such as yields, starting by reaching at least a 70% yield for the saccharification process.
  • Reaching purity of the final products in line with EU legislation for immediate access to the market.
  • Reduction of CO2 emissions by 70% with respect to landfilling.
  • Opening up new business models and creating new job opportunities in rural and urban areas.
  • Contributing to realising the objectives of Biotechnology and/or other Key Enabling Technologies under Horizon 2020 and dedicated EU policy to address the development of scientific and technological know-how in biotechnology and its translation into industrial products and solutions of societal challenges.
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 General Work Programme.


2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in part B and C of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.


3. Evaluation

3.1 Evaluation criteria and procedure, scoring and threshold: described in part H of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme, with the exceptions described in part 3.5.7 of the BBI JU Annual Work Plan 2015.

3.2 Guide to the submission and evaluation process and the BBI JU Calls 2015 - Guide for applicants.


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


5. Indicative timetable for evaluation and grant agreement:
Information on the evaluation outcome: maximum 5 months after the proposal submission deadline.
Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months after the proposal submission deadline.


6. Provisions, proposal templates and evaluation forms for the type(s) of action(s) under this topic:

BBI Innovation Action Flagship (BBI-IA-FLAG)

Specific provisions and funding rates: described in part 3.5.5 of the BBI JU Annual Work Plan 2015
Standard proposal template
Standard evaluation form
BBI JU Model Grant Agreement
H2020 Annotated Grant Agreement


7. Additional provisions:

Technology readiness levels (TRL): described in Part G of the General Annexes to the EC Work Programme.


8. 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.


9. JTIs additional documents

BBI JU Work Plan 2015
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



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