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.
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.
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.
Specific Topic Conditions:
Activities are expected to achieve TRL 4-5 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.