European Projects


Circular and Bio-Based Solutions for the Ultimate Prevention of Plastics in Rivers Integrated with Elimination And Monitoring Technologies

Grant agreement ID: 10112877 | Call for proposal:  HORIZON-MISS-2022-OCEAN-01-04

The UPSTREAM project (Horizon-Miss-2022-Ocean-01-04) addresses the targets of the Mission by overcoming challenges related to the monitoring, prevention, elimination, and valorisation of litter (L), plastics (P), and microplastics (MP). Demonstrating a suite of 14 solutions addressing pollution at every step in the water system, connected to 7 rivers in 5 countries, will enable the co-creation of an extensive database of knowledge and sustainable business models with a focus on making information as widely accessible as possible. The involvement of wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) owners, industrial partners with existing supply chains, innovative SMEs, and a water cluster association will ensure exploitation of the project solutions, while €350k in cascade funding will enhance replication across Europe. The UPSTREAM consortium will thus establish circular value chains with the potential to decrease plastic litter by 50% and MP pollution by 30%.


Proof of principle fly larvae biorefinery for biopolymer plastic production

Grant agreement ID: 101099487 | Call for proposal:  HORIZON-EIC-2022-PATHFINDEROPEN-01-0

The management of food waste (FW) and petroleum plastics pollution is a growing global concern. One solution is to valorise waste streams via biopolymers and added-value bioplastic products derived from low-grade FW. Today, high production costs of bioplastics prevent their market penetration. To overcome this challenge, the EU-funded BioLaMer project will demonstrate an innovative proof of principle fly larvae biorefinery by establishing food-eating black soldier fly larvae (Hermetia illucens) as a high-impact feedstock for cost-effective production of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) and chitosan biopolymers. The larvae solution is renewable and inexpensive, provides less complexity as the larvae have invariable chemical composition, mitigates the FW problem, reduces raw material inputs, is biodiversity-friendly, and avoids/reduces pretreatment costs for biopolymer production.



Grant agreement ID: 101081776 | Call for proposal:  HORIZON-CL6-2022-CIRCBIO-01-05 – EU-CN

The AgriLoop consortium aims to extend the agricultural production value of two major players of the global bioeconomy: the European Union and China, by eco-efficiently upgrading under-exploited residues into a portfolio of high added-value bio-products able to generate new bio-based markets or to compete with, and gain market share of, oil- and food crop based equivalents.

Innovative processes and a collaborative approach

AgriLoop will develop safe-and-sustainable-by-design (SSbD) bioconversion processes integrated in a cascading biorefinery approach to convert a range of agri-residues (from e.g. tomato, soy, straw, potato, brewery, oil, winery and livestock sectors) into plant and microbial proteins, polyesters and other bio-based chemicals to be used for food, feed, health and materials applications, especially by the farming sector.

The AgriLoop consortium will work together via a series of defined and inter-connected work packages across the European and Chinese partners. 

Developing a range of innovative eco-friendly products 

AgriLoop scientific and technical objectives are to improve the recovery of highly functional native molecules from primary and secondary residues and to tailor bioconversion schemes toward microbial proteins and polyesters, for overcoming in a balanced way the limitations related to feedstock complexity, processes eco-efficiency and end-products performances, and in parallel anticipate the complex circularities of such biorefinery to comply with safe and sustainable requirements, guide scientific and technological advances of AgriLoop cascading processes toward end-products tailored to the just necessary (frugal design) and fast track their further adoption as demonstrated in upscaling selected biorefineries schemes.

Creating environmental, economic and societal impacts 

By strengthening the European Union and Chinese cooperation, informing SSbD guidance and opening up new avenues for flexible agri-based value chains, AgriLoop will increase resources efficiency through reduced discharges of agricultural residues, while taking share of the highly dynamic worldwide markets of alternative proteins and biochemicals (incl. biopolymers) and reducing the cost of agriculture and food system on our environment and health.


Eco conversion of lower grade PET and mixed recalcitrant PET plastic waste into high performing biopolymers

Grant agreement ID: 101046758 | Call for proposal:  HORIZON-EIC-2021-PATHFINDEROPEN-01-0

ECOPLASTIC is designed to provide a seamless route to resolving pervasive PET plastic pollution, converting it to Eco-plastic prototypes. Conversion of unrecyclable post use PET into new, high performance bioplastics embodies the regenerative zero waste approaches found in nature, where post use materials become the ingredients for new products and with unlimited cyclical use of materials. It proposes a technological paradigm shift in recycling from the current zero to single digit circuits of recycling loops to a regeneration process providing a significant scientific step forward towards true circularity. ECOPLASTIC converts lower grade PET and mixed recalcitrant PET plastic waste into high performing biopolymers, through the development of a suite of breakthrough modular and technologies adaptable to the waste input, to funnel waste PET plastics into Eco-products that enter a perpetually bio- cyclable loop. The new Eco-plastics and products will provide drop in alternatives for seamless adoption within industry and by consumers. We will demonstrate that the resulting processes are economically & environmentally sustainable for valorizing currently non-recyclable materials such as multilayer packages and flexible films. The project will combine several approaches to optimise the material circularity:

I. Depolymerization process: Series of mechano-green, chemical and biocatalytic technologies to depolymerize them into their constituent monomers, using novel biological filtration for the preparation of highly fermentable monomer and oligomer feedstock streams

II. Biopolymer production using microbiome processing to produce new biopolymers from monomer feedstocks which are then processed into bioproduct prototypes that are not harharmful to the environment

III. Advanced processing will be used to advance the properties of recovered biopolymbiopolymers and demonstration prototypes for applications including packaging will be produced.


Harnessing the power of nature through PROductive MIcrobial CONsortia in biotechnology - measure, model, master

Grant agreement ID: 101000733 | Call for proposal:  H2020-FNR-2020-2

The deliberate control of complex microbiomes is notoriously difficult and current approaches are often guided by simple trial-and-error. Advances in quantitative analysis modelling and design of these systems are urgently needed to improve the predictability and enable exploitation of the amazing synthesis capacities of microbiomes.

The PROMICON project will learn from nature how microbiomes function through development and application of quantitative physiology, imaging, cell sorting machine learning and systems biology. This will be used to steer existing microbiomes towards production and to generate new synthetic microbiomes inspired by nature through an iterative design-build-test-learn cycle. The new consortia will also contain strains developed through systems metabolic engineering and will be used for the production of energy carriers, drop-in chemical feedstocks and advanced biomaterials.

PROMICON will advance characterization tools to understand which strains (modules) are needed for a successful microbiome. It will identify the primary producers (farmers), secondary converters (labourers) and essential strains for microbiome stability (balancers). This knowledge will be used to reduce complexity of natural microbiomes for optimized production of phycobilli protein based pigments, exo-polysaccharides (EPS) and poly-hydroxyalkanoates (PHA) in a top-down approach. Secondly, synthetic microbiomes with increasing complexity (bottom-up) will be assembled for the production of butanol, H2 and PHACOS, a functionalized antimicrobial polyester. PROMICON will develop new reactor concepts and downstream processing for microbiomes and conduct early-stage life cycle assessment (LCA) to prepare exploitation.

This ground-breaking project will not only inspire completely new production pathways and a paradigm shift from monocultures to mixed cultures in biotechnology, but also has the potential beyond biotechnology to inspire novel treatment options in biomedicine.


Bio Innovation of a Circular Economy for Plastics

Grant agreement ID: 836884 | Call for proposal: H2020-NMBP-BIO-CN-2019

The Bio Innovation of a Circular Economy for Plastics (BioICEP) is a pan European-Chinese collaboration formed to reduce the burden of plastic waste in the environment. Different mixed plastic pollution environments are represented, with specific partners selected which have the expertise and facilities to carry out the necessary technical innovations. A number of innovative booster technologies are at the core of this solution accentuating, expediting, and augmenting mixed plastics degradation to levels far in excess of those current achievable. Our approach is The Bio Innovation of a Circular Economy for Plastics (BioICEP) consortium is a pan European-Chinese collaborative formed to reduce the burden of plastic waste in the environment. The countries have been selected to represent different mixed plastic pollution environments, with specific partners selected which have the expertise and facilities to carry out the necessary technical innovations. Three innovative booster technologies are at the core of this solution accentuating, expediting, and augmenting plastics degradation to levels far in excess of those current achievable. Our approach is a triple-action depolymerisation system where plastic waste will be broken down in three consecutive processes: 1) mechano-biochemical disintegration processes, including a new proprietary sonic-green-chemical technology to reduce the polymer molecular weight of the base polymer to make it amenable to biodegradation; 2) biocatalytic digestion, with enzymes enhanced through a range of innovative techniques including accelerated screening through novel fluorescent sensor and directed evolution; and 3) microbial consortia developed from best in class single microbial strains, which combined leads to highly efficient degradation of mixed plastic waste streams. The outputs from this degradation process will be used as building blocks for new polymers or other bioproducts to enable a new plastic waste-based circular economy.


Unlocking the potential of Sustainable BiodegradabLe Packaging

836884 - USABLE PACKAGING - H2020-BBI-JTI-2018

Bioplastics currently hold only a two percent market share in the EU; the remainder is fossil based. In addition, many bioplastics are only partially biodegradable and can’t solve end-of-life issues. They also compete with feedstocks for the food and feed sectors, pushing up costs. The amount of non-biodegradable bio-based plastics on the market is expected to grow as replacements for fossil-based counterparts continue to grow.

This makes it important to increase the level of biodegradable bioplastics, ideally using different materials. However, many bioplastics lack adequate functional properties for packaging requirements. In addition, the complexity of multilayer packaging limits the bio-degradability and compostability of the whole packaging item.

To address this, the USABLE PACKAGING project will establish a new value chain for bioplastics. This will be based on low-cost and widely-available feedstock, such as by-products and sidestreams from the food processing industry. It will convert the feedstock into poly-hydroxy-alkanoates (PHA), which can be tuned to specific packaging needs and specifications. This will realise packaging items suitable for replacing fossil-based materials in high-performance packaging while retaining biodegradable characteristics.


Production of functional innovative ingredients from paper and agro-food side-streams through sustainable and efficient tailor-made biotechnological processes for food, feed, pharma and cosmetics

838120 - INGREEN - H2020-BBI-JTI-2018

There is a steadily-growing demand for bio-based chemicals, as they increasingly find new applications in industrial chemicals and pharmaceuticals as ingredients for food, feed and in agriculture. The side streams and by-products of paper mills and agro-food production offer particularly rich sources of unexploited organic fractions suitable for exploitation.

The purpose of the INGREEN project is to demonstrate the feasibility of sustainable, efficient and safe tailor-made biotechnologies in real operational environments. It will also show eco-friendly approaches for producing safe and/or health-promoting microbial biomasses, functional ingredients such as prebiotics, pre-fermented food ingredients and biochemical raw materials to supply the food, feed, pharmaceutical and cosmetic sectors. Once they have been demonstrated as safe, the ingredients from the INGREEN project will find their way into foods such as cheeses, bakery products and other nutritious products.

The INGREEN ingredients will be part of so-called ‘functional’ foods, which can provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition. These include improving digestion, strengthening the immune system, helping control body weight and preventing conditions such as high blood pressure. The market for functional foods is estimated to reach €88.2 billion by 2023.


Demonstration project to prove the techno-economic feasibility of using algae to treat saline wastewater from the food industry.

H2020-WATER-2015-two-stage - 689785

The aim of the project is to implement and demonstrate at large scale the long-term technological and economic feasibility of an innovative, sustainable and efficient solution for the treatment of high salinity wastewater from the F&D industry. Conventional wastewater treatments have proven ineffective for this kind of wastewater, as the bacterial processes typically used for the elimination of organic matter and nutrients are inhibited under high salinity contents.

Therefore, generally combinations of biological and physicochemical methods are used which greatly increase the costs of the treatment, making it unaffordable for SMEs, who voluntarily decide not to comply with EU directives and discharge without prior treatment, causing severe damage to the environment. The solution of SALTGAE to this issue consists in the implementation of innovative technologies for each step of the wastewater treatment that will promote energy and resource efficiency, and reduce costs. Amongst these, the use of halotolerant algae/bacteria consortiums in HRAPs for the elimination of organic matter and nutrients stands out for its high added value: not only will it provide an effective and ecological solution for wastewater treatment, but also it will represent an innovative way of producing algal biomass, that will subsequently be valorized into different by-products, reducing the economic and environmental impact of the treatment. Moreover, the project will also address cross-cutting barriers to innovation related to wastewater by developing a platform for the mobilization and networking of stakeholders from all the different sectors related to wastewater, and for the dissemination of results, enabling the development of a common roadmap for the alignment of legislation, regulation and pricing methodologies and promoting financial investment and paradigm shift in perception from ‘wastewater treatment’ to ‘resource valorisation’.


Scale-up of low-carbon otprint material recovery techniques in existing wastewater treatment plants.

H2020 - WATER-2015-two-stage - 690323

SMART-Plant will scale-up in real environment eco-innovative and energy-efficient solutions to renovate existing wastewater treatment plants and close the circular value chain by applying low-carbon techniques to recover materials that are otherwise lost. 7+2 pilot systems will be optimized for > 2 years in real environment in 5 municipal water treatment plants, including also 2 post-processing facilities. The systems will be authomatised with the aim of optimizing wastewater treatment, resource recovery, energy-efficiency and reduction of greenhouse emissions. A comprehensive SMART portfolio comprising biopolymers, cellulose, fertilizers and intermediates will be recovered and processed up to the final commercializable end-products. The integration of resource recovery assets to system wide asset management programs will be evaluated in each site following the resource recovery paradigm for the wastewater treatment plant of the future, enabled through SMART-Plant solutions. The project will prove the feasibility of circular management of urban wastewater and environmental sustainability of the systems, to be demonstrated through Life Cycle Assessment and Life Cycle Costing approaches to prove the global benefit of the scaled-up water solutions. Dynamic modeling and superstructure framework for decision support will be developed and validated to identify the optimum SMART-Plant system integration options for recovered resources and technologies. Global market deployment will be achieved as right fit solution for water utilities and relevant industrial stakeholders, considering the strategic implications of the resource recovery paradigm in case of both public and private water management. New public-private partnership models will be explored connecting the water sector to the chemical industry and its downstream segments such as the contruction and agricultural sector, thus generating new opportunities for funding, as well as potential public-private competition.


REsources from URbanBIo-waSte

H2020-CIRC-2016 OneStage - 730349

RES URBIS aims at making it possible to convert several types of urban bio-waste into valuable bio-based products, in an integrated single biowaste biorefinery and by using one main technology chain. This goal will be pursued through:

  • collection and analysis of data on urban bio-waste production and present management systems in four territorial clusters that have been selected in different countries and have different characteristics.
  • well-targeted experimental activity to solve a number of open technical issues (both process- and product-related), by using the appropriate combination of innovative and catalogue-proven technologies.
  • market analysis within several economic scenarios and business models for full exploitation of bio-based products (including a path forward to fill regulatory gaps).

Urban bio-waste include the organic fraction of municipal solid waste (from households, restaurants, caterers and retail premises), excess sludge from urban wastewater treatment, garden and parks waste, selected waste from food-processing (if better recycling options in the food chain are not available), other selected waste streams, i.e. baby nappies. Bio-based products include polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) and related PHA-based bioplastics as well as ancillary productions: biosolvents (to be used in PHA extraction) and fibers (to be used for PHA biocomposites). Territorial and economic analyses will be done either considering the ex-novo implementation of the biowastebiorefinery or its integration into existing wastewater treatment or anaerobic digestion plants, with reference to clusters and for different production size. The economic analysis will be based on a portfolio of PHA-based bioplastics, which will be produced at pilot scale and tested for applications:

  • Biodegradable commodity film
  • Packaging interlayer film
  • Speciality durables (such as electronics)
  • Premium slow C-release material for ground water remediation


Innovative approaches to turn agricultural waste into ecological and economic assets.

H2020-WASTE-2015-two-stage - 688338 

Innovative approaches to turn agricultural waste into ecological and economic assets. Driven by a “near zero-waste” society requirement, the goal of NoAW project is to generate innovative efficient approaches to convert growing agricultural waste issues into eco-efficient bio-based products opportunities with direct benefits for both environment, economy and EU consumer. To achieve this goal, the NoAW concept relies on developing holistic life cycle thinking able to support environmentally responsible R&D innovations on agro-waste conversion at different TRLs, in the light of regional and seasonal specificities, not forgetting risks emerging from circular management of agro-wastes (e.g. contaminants accumulation). By involving all agriculture chain stakeholders in a territorial perspective, the project will: (1) develop innovative eco-design and hybrid assessment tools of circular agro-waste management strategies and address related gap of knowledge and data via extensive exchange through the Knowledge exchange Stakeholders Platform, (2) develop breakthrough knowledge on agro-waste molecular complexity and heterogeneity in order to upgrade the most widespread mature conversion technology (anaerobic digestion) and to synergistically eco-design robust cascading processes to fully convert agro-waste into a set of high added value bio-energy, bio-fertilizers and biochemical and building blocks, able to substitute a significant range of non-renewable equivalents, with favourable air, water and soil impacts and (3) get insights of the complexity of potentially new, cross-sectors, business clusters in order to fast track NoAW strategies toward the field and develop new business concepts and stakeholders platform for cross-chain valorization of agro-waste on a territorial and seasonal basis.


Innovative eco-technologies for resource recovery from wastewater

H2020-WATER1b-2015- 689242

Taking into account the current global water scarcity and the expensive operation and maintenance cost of wastewater treatment, INCOVER concept has been designed to move wastewater treatment from being primarily a sanitation technology towards a bio-product recovery industry and a recycled water supplier. A wastewater specific Decision Support System methodology will be tailored to the INCOVER technologies and provide data and selection criteria for a holistic wastewater management approach Three added-value plants treating wastewater from three case-studies (municipalities, farms and food and beverage industries) will be implemented, assessed and optimised concurrently. INCOVER plants will be implemented at demonstration scale in order to achieve Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 7-8 to ensure straightforward up scaling to 100,000 population equivalents (PE). INCOVER added-value plants will generate benefits from wastewater offering three recovery solutions: 1) Chemical recovery (bio-plastic and organic acids) via algae/bacteria and yeast biotechnology; 2) Near-zero-energy plant providing upgraded bio-methane via pre-treatment and anaerobic codigestion systems; 3) Bio-production and reclaimed water via adsorption, biotechnology based on wetlands systems and hydrothermal carbonisation. To improve added-value production efficiency, INCOVER solutions will include monitoring and control via optical sensing and soft-sensors INCOVER solutions will reduce at least a 50% overall operation and maintenance cost of wastewater treatment through the use of wastewater as a source for energy demand and added-value production to follow UE circular economy strategy. In addition, strategies to facilitate the market uptake of INCOVER innovations will be carried out in order to close the gap between demonstration and end-users. An estimated turnover of 188 million€ for INCOVER lead-users is expected after the initial exploitation strategy of 5 years implementing 27 INCOVER solutions.


Advanced Filtration TEchnologies for the Recovery and Later conversIon of relevant Fractions from wastEwater


AFTERLIFE proposes a flexible, cost- and resource-efficient process framed in the zero-waste and circular economy approach for the recovery and valorisation of the relevant fractions from wastewater. The first step of such process is an initial step consisting of a cascade of membrane filtration units for the separation of the totally of solids in wastewater. Then, the concentrates recovered in each unit will be treated to obtain high-pure extracts and metabolites or, alternatively, to be converted into value-added biopolymers (polyhydroxyalkanoates). Moreover, the outflow of the process is an ultra-pure water stream that can be directly reused.

The outcomes of the project will be focused on:

  • Demonstration of an integrated pilot using real wastewater from three water intensive food processing industries (fruit processing, cheese and sweets manufacturing)
  • Demonstration of the applicability of the recovered compounds and the value added bioproducts in manufacturing environments

The design and optimisation of the AFTERLIFE process following a holistic approach will contribute to improve performance and reduce the costs associated to wastewater treatment by maximising the value recovery.


High performance polyhydroxyalkanoates based packaging to minimise food waste


The main objective of YPACK is the pre-industrial scale up and validation of two innovative food packaging solutions (thermoformed tray and flow pack bag) based on PHA, with active and passive barrier properties. New packaging will use food industry by-products (cheese whey and almond shells), assure the biodegradability and recyclability, and reduce food waste, in the frame of the EU Circular Economy strategy.

YPACK will use a holistic approach and methodology involving different knowledge areas: Development of packaging solutions (Production of PHBV layers, compounding, prototyping, Industrial Validation), Product Validation (Quality / Shelf life), Social approach (Customer profiling, Dissemination, Policies & Regulatory) and Market Assessment (Business study and Risk assessment). YPACK is aligned with the EU Circular Economy strategy, including the use of raw bio-based food industry by-products, LCA studies, recyclability & biodegradability of packaging and trying to reduce Food Waste. The project is constructed in line with the Responsible Research and Innovation guidelines of the European Commission.

The project has a total duration of 36 months. Several processes related to the production of multilayered passive and active systems based on raw PHBV will be optimised and scaled up to pre-industrial size to validate the production of the proposed packaging solutions for extend the shelf life of selected food products. They consist in:

  1. a multilayer tray involving an inner active layer, and
  2. a multilayer flow pack with improved barrier properties.

A consumer profiling and market study will be performed at the first stage of the project in order to identify consumers´ preferences, market needs and match them with the new EU regulations and packaging materials breakthroughs.


Granting society with LOw environmental impact innovative PACKaging


The main objectives are:

  1. demonstrating a fully sustainable food packaging solution in operational environment by associating three complementary and fundamental key elements of food packaging innovations, through key unlocking technologies
  2. enabling a stakeholder driven strategy for market uptake of innovative sustainable packaging that is supported by:

               a) the deployment of a decision-making tool (with associated database)

               b) business plans
               c) communication activities
               d) sustainability allegations


Towards a circular and smart conception of waste water management in rural areas

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

The main challenge identified in CircRural4.0 is to carry out the transformation of small to medium-sized WWTPs in rural areas into resource recovery factories. To this end, unlike large facilities where resource recovery is achieved locally, the approach proposed in CircRural4.0 for rural areas depends on a holistic view of waste and wastewater management, where the main sub-processes that make it possible to recover resources in large WWTPs will be geographically distributed to ensure the economic and environmental viability of the entire system.

CircRural4.0's technical approach consists of four products. The first product is an advanced controller that aims the biological removal of phosphorus in oxidation ditches. The second product consists of a data analysis software that will convert raw data from multiple rural WWTPs into easily interpretable information. In order to facilitate the integrated management of rural WWTPs, all this information will be centralized and accessible via Internet. The third product is a new treatment technology that combines dry anaerobic co-digestion with N and P precipitation processes. Based on this technology, CircRural4.0 proposes to centralize the treatment of WWTP sludge and agro-food waste in rural areas, with the objective of methane production and N & P recovery. The fourth product is a model-based software tool that aims to support exploratory studies of solutions optimized for the centralized management of wastewater, WWTP sludge and agro-food waste in rural areas.

So, Cir-Rural4.0 proposes a transformation in the landscape of wastewater treatment in rural areas according to a new concept based on the efficient use of resources. With this approach, the management of wastewater in rural areas will become self-sufficient and it will be possible to recover essential nutrients such as phosphorus. To this end, treatment plants will have to implement new controllers and advanced data analysis technologies.


Market ready technologies for P-recovery from municipal wastewater

EIT-KIC Raw Materials

Phosphorus (P) is an essential and irreplaceable nutrient for humans and nature. This is a limited resource, especially in Europe which depends to 92% of its needs from a handful of countries, including politically unstable countries like Morocco (Western Sahara). Thus, it becomes essential to secure the P supply in Europe by finding secondary sources and recycling end-of-life products. Municipal wastewater is one of those, as it contains 15% of the European mineral phosphorus demand.

PhosForce’s up-scaling into a market-ready solution will be made possible through an industry-driven European Consortium covering five different countries. Various entities of the Veolia group will perform prototype and full-scale demonstrations on one German WWTP. Two research partners will complement the development through lab tests and modeling work (New University of Lisbon), required to increase the replication potential of the concept on diverse types of WWTPs, as well as product characterization and Life Cycle Assessment (Mineral and Energy Economy Research Institute of the Polish Academy of Science).

Specific attention will be paid to marketing/market take-off with the following actions in the last year of the project:

  • Design up‐scaling will be described in technical guidelines and “market ready” standards
  • Life Cycle Analysis and Costing of selected designs will be performed by MEERI, respectively Krüger
  • A marketing and communication plan will be developed by OEWA and Krüger.


Novel technology to boost the European Bioeconomy: reducing the production costs of PHA biopolymer and expanding its applications as 100% compostable food packaging bioplastic

EUROPHA FP7 - SME - 2013 - 604770

EuroPHA project is proposed by four national SME Associations: FECOAM (Agro-food SME association, Spain); SPIF (Swedish Plastics Industry Association, Sweden); PLASTIPOLIS (Competitive Cluster for Plastics Engineering, France); and BPF (British Plastics Federation, UK). We share a common value chain that connects food processing SMEs that use plastic packaging, with SME plastic industries that produce them.

EuroPHA project has been designed to overcome the technical obstacles to turn the linear production chain into a cycle. And their objectives are:

  1. Reduction of PHA production costs: using low value feedstock as starting material and mixed microbial cultures for a three-phase biological synthesis of PHA:
                   - Anaerobic acidogenesis
                   - Mixed microbial culture selection
                   - PHA accumulation in batch mode
  2. Design of an environmentally friendly & cost effective extraction step
  3. Novel formulations of PHA (foam and monolayer film) for food packaging

By achieved the targeted objectives EuroPHA project will develop a final bioplastic material (compounded PHA) that can be industrially processed into novel food packaging products without any modification of current equipment. EuroPHA project products will be >95% bio-based and 100% compostable by EU standards, so consumers will be able to dispose them together with food residues without needing separation. EuroPHA project food bioplastics will be composted and used in agriculture as soil amend for the production of agro-food raw materials for food and drink SMEs. EuroPHA project materials will be bio-based, so they will save CO2 in comparison to petrochemical plastics. EuroPHA project will turn agro-food waste into renewable packaging materials by biotechnological processes, so it will promote sustainable growth and contribute to the European Commission goal of a Bioeconomy.


Ecoefficient Biodegradable Composite Advanced Packaging


Within the EcoBioCAP project a next generation packaging will be developed using advanced composite structures based on constituents derived from the food industry by-products only and by applying innovative processing strategies to enable customisation of the packaging properties to fit the functional, cost safety and environmental impact requirements of the targeted fresh perishable food.

The overall objective of EcoBioCAP is to provide the EU food industry with customizable, ecoefficient, biodegradable packaging solutions with direct benefits both for environment and EU consumers in terms of food quality and safety. 

This next-generation packaging will be developed using advanced composite structures based on constituents (biopolyesters, fibres, proteins, polyphenolic compounds, bioadhesives and high performance bio-additives) derived from food (oil, dairy, cereal and beer) industry by-products only and by applying innovative processing strategies to enable customisation of the packaging’s properties to fit the functional, cost, safety and environmental impact requirements of the targeted fresh perishable foods (fruit and vegetable, cheese and ready to eat meal). Demonstration activities with SMEs and industrial partners will enable the EcoBioCAP technology to be optimised in terms stability, safety, environmental impact and cost-effectiveness before full exploitation. The development of a decision support system for use by the whole packaging chain will make the EcoBioCAP technology is accessible to all stakeholders. Extensive outreach activities will not only disseminate the project results to the scientific community but also ensure that consumers and end-users are informed of the usage conditions and benefits of such bio-degradable packaging and how it should be disposed of.


Two-phase Acid/Gas Anaerobic Reactor for Industrial Wastewater of Food & Drink SME industries


Phaseplit proposes a novel two-phase acid/gas anaerobic reactor for industrial wastewater treatment of food & drink small and medium enterprise (SME) industries. More than 99% of European Food & Drink companies are SMEs. Industrial food production generates a lot of polluting wastewater, while the Urban Waste Water Directive has set strict regulations to the quality of waste water discharged from these industries to the environment. But treating wastewater is expensive. The smaller the company is, the more expensive it is to treat 1m3 of wastewater. Anaerobic treatment is an eco-efficient solution: biogas can be transformed at the Food & Drink industries in electricity and heat. Current anaerobic reactors available in the market are good but they are extremely expensive for SMEs. Phaseplit is an SME-size anaerobic wastewater reactor achieving a reduction of capital investment costs by 50% and operational costs by 30% to generate enough renewable energy from biogas to cover the reactor’s consumption and generate a surplus for the SME. Phaseplit will separate the anaerobic treatment in two-phases: acidogenic and methanogenic. Phaseplit is expected to reduce organic pollution in fresh waters and contribute to the European objective of 20% of renewable energy by the year 2020.


A multivariable advanced control solution for sustainable operation of nutrient removal urban WWTs


Artica4nr proposes a multivariable advanced control solution for sustainable operation of nutrient removal urban WWTPs. The ARTIC4nr project aims to accelerate and stimulate the market deployment of the art-ICA automatic controllers. The art-ICA controllers have been operating in the Galindo (Bilbao) and Mekolalde (Bergara) WWTPs in Spain for several years, demonstrating their outstanding capacity for improving the quality of treated water and reducing energy consumption. The challenge in the coming years will be to grow the product's sales exponentially. To do this, the project's planned exploitation and commercial dissemination activities (organizing workshops in Spain, attending international trade fairs, publishing in specialist journals, etc.) will be complemented by the installation of art-ICA in at least four new WWTPs, two in Spain and two in Portugal.


Exploitation of oily wastes for the simultaneous production of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) and rhamnolipids (RLs)


Apart from the application of mixed enriched cultures another alternative to reduce the cost of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) production is to investigate the efficiency of pure culture to simultaneously produce PHAs and other high value-added products such as rhamnolipids (RLs). The aim of the certain project is to examine the ability of non-pathogenic bacteria that belong to Pseudomonas and Burkholderia genus to produce (scl- and/or mcl-) PHAs and RLs at the same time. Factors that affect both biosynthetic pathways will be studied and the appropriate cultivation strategy will be selected using renewable substrates such as wastes generated from oil-processing plants and industries. PHAs and RLs yield, composition, distribution and physicochemical properties will be determined in order to link bioprocess optimization with the optimization of PHAs and RLs physicochemical properties and to evaluate the effect of environmental and culture conditions on them.