One of the keys for a successful implementation of the European Circular Economy is the increasing reliance on bio-based products derived from biomass. A wider adoption of such products can solve several problems linked to solid waste disposal, as they could be further re-used at the end of their life cycle, ensuring full circularity. Nano structured bio-based materials (NBM) are the answer to many challenges faced by our society, embracing several applications in the fields of packaging, automotive, printed electronics, agriculture, and construction.
But what exactly are nanomaterials? They are materials made by very small particles, ranging from 1 to 100 nanometres. For instance, the influenza (flu) virus is roughly 100 nanometres in diameter. Due to their small size, nanomaterials have peculiar physical, mechanical, chemical, and electrical properties which could expand the range of revolutionary applications.
NBMs are made up by bio-based polymers, which are polymers derived from biomass, or synthesized from biomass-originated monomers. They have recently gained increasing interest as an alternative to fossil-based polymers. Their annual production growth is estimated by around 18-20% using renewable sources, thus reducing CO2 emissions by 60-80% and the needs for Non-renewable energy use at about 70%. However, many technical, economical, and regulatory barriers still hinder the full deployment of bio-based polymers and nanomaterials on the market and limit the implementation of solutions based on such materials. The new Horizon2020 project BIOMAC aims at reducing these barriers and fostering the European Bioeconomy. It is one of the biggest EC-funded projects with 33 partners (academia, institutions, and companies) from 12 European countries. BIOMAC establishes a self-sustainable Open Innovation Test Bed (OITB) capable of upscaling the market-readiness and production of NBMs. SMEs will be granted access to the services and facilities of the BIOMAC ecosystem after an initial validation phase, where practical applications of NBM will be demonstrated.
The BIOMAC ecosystem will function as a cluster of parallel activities taking the form of 17 Pilot lines (PLs) covering the whole value chain, from biomass fractionation and intermediate chemicals to final-enabled biopolymers. The PLs are grouped in 3 clusters and their activities will enable the realization of 5 concrete outputs (Test Cases), demonstrating the validity of BIOMAC’s approach and the high value of NBM applications. Here is the list of the Test Cases (TeCs):
After the successful demonstration of the five TeCs, BIOMAC will launch an Open Call aiming to select 5 new TeCs by companies and research bodies interested to access the ecosystem services. The BIOMAC ecosystem will offer them services for upscaling biomaterial concepts through the Pilot Lines and cover the assessment of regulation, safety, sustainability, circularity, and market potential. It will provide open services and solutions, accessible to SMEs or other Industries from a single-entry point. Through the Pilot lines, technologies that have been developed up to TRL 4-5 will be upscaled and validated up to TRL 7. This same procedure will be extended after the project’s official duration, granting innovators and researchers access to the ecosystem’s services at fair conditions and cost beyond 2024.
BIOMAC is an Innovation Action (IA) started in January 2021 that will run until December 2024. The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No. 952941. EU’s contribution is € 14 807 314,50 on a total budget of € 16 596 702,50.
AUTH, EUBIA, BEECO, LTU, BBEU, LIST, RISE, ATB, UEDIN, AIMPLAS, FH-WKI, CNANO, ITENE, AIMEN, POLIMI, DTI, NNT, IDE, AXIA, UBU, ABIS, EXELISIS, EUBP, UNIPD, IRIS, RDC, DIAD, OHM, EVERSIA, ACC, NOVAMONT, ISQ, STAM