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Emerging technologies for conversion of the organic content of Municipal Solid Waste and improving waste-to-chemicals value chains
Date de clôture : 8 sept. 2016  

 Énergie intelligente
 Gestion des déchets
 Produits chimiques
 Horizon Europe
 Sciences du climat

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

The organic fraction of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) represents an abundant and cheap, albeit highly variable, bio-based feedstock. The advancements in sorting in the latest years have made bio-waste an extremely affordable feedstock (even available at negative price under some circumstances), attracting the interest of the biochemical industry. However, due to its high complexity in composition as well as the variability during the year, it is a challenging feedstock to be processed for bio-based applications.

Indeed, its utilisation has up to now been limited to mainly the production of biogas for co-production of thermal and electric energy and compost.

Conversion processes performance (in terms of yield, selectivity and titre) is hindered by the high variability of the input feedstock, resulting in the need of tailored sorting and pre-treatment of the feedstock. The latter steps reduce the presence of inhibitors for the downstream steps. However, the costs of the sorting and pre-treatment steps, combined with the need of high performance separation and purification, often hinder the overall economic feasibility of a waste-to-chemicals value chain.


Develop and validate at lab scale innovative processes for conversion of the organic fraction of MSW into chemical intermediates aiming at:

  • maximising the yield of recovery of intermediates from the substrate;
  • minimising the presence of inhibitors in order to enable achieving profitable yields from the conversion of intermediates into products.

The innovation should focus on production of intermediates at high yield and low impurity level.

Proposals should take into account seasonal and random variability of the MSW content and address several compositions of the organic fraction, focusing on representative case studies taking into account local economic, social and climate conditions.

The projects should cover any Technology Readiness Level (TRL) from 3 to 5. In the case of a pilot scale project (TRL 5), proposals should present a credible cost estimate for the proposed processes with a preliminary assessment of their competitiveness when scaled up.

Proposals should also include an environmental and socio-economic assessment, for example with an LCA. In particular, when targeting TRL 5, proposals should include an LCA in order to evaluate the environmental and socio-economic performance of the developed processes.

Expected Impact:
  • Improved yield of intermediate extraction/recovery from the organic content of MSW by 20% with respect to state-of-the-art or exceed 80% yield of intermediates.
  • Validated removal of inhibitors to such an extent that it allows cost-effective downstream processing.
  • Validated process by comparison of the resulting product yield with the one obtained from lignocellulosic biomass. The difference in yield should not exceed 10%.
  • Contribution to the BBI JU Key Performance Indicators (KPI), specifically:
    • Creation of at least 1 new cross-sectorial interconnection in bio-based economy clusters (KPI 1).
    • Set the basis for the creation of at least 1 new bio-based value chain (KPI 2).

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