Bio-LUSH, a Horizon Europe project led by Stockholm University, extracts high-quality fibers from diverse plants, maximizing resource utilization for sustainable bio-based innovation. Supported by the EU-call Circular Bio-based Europe Joint Undertaking (CBE JU), the research project establishes a value chain for sustainable products such as textiles, food packaging and reinforced composites ready for the consumer market, thus driving plant-based solutions for a circular bioeconomy.
The four-year Bio-LUSH project, launched in May 2023, supports the establishment of a sustainable bio-fibrous economy and manufacturing sector in Europe. It utilizes underexplored biomass feedstocks such as hemp hurd, forest residues, nettle, and seagrasses – all usually seen as “waste” – to provide ecological benefits and avoid competition with food production. The project optimizes biomass value chains, develops green processing methods, and employs traditional breeding techniques to enhance the properties of these feedstocks, thereby supporting a sustainable economy.
“Our goal is to maximize the utilization of underexploited biomass feedstocks and convert them into high- quality fibers for a range of bio-based applications,” said Prof. Aji Mathew, coordinator of the Bio-LUSH Project at Stockholm University.
“With its low capital expenditure, Bio-LUSH offers a cost-effective solution suitable for small-scale productions,” added Prof. Mathew.
This approach allows for the processing of regionally collected materials, reducing transport costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
Bio-LUSH brings several key innovations to the bio-based economy by intelligently utilizing novel plant feedstock and adopting ‘safe by design’ and ‘circular by design’ principles. It maximizes the value of bio-fibrous resources, aligning with zero pollution goals. The project introduces ‘quality indexing’ and ‘sustainability indexing’ for efficient decision-making, benefiting bio-based SME’s, industries, and manufacturing. Leveraging data collection and analysis, machine learning tools optimize bio-based material design, enabling data-driven material development and innovation.
Another objective of Bio-LUSH is to scale up bio-fibers to meet specific processing and performance requirements in manufacturing. These versatile fibers find applications in melt processing, spinning, 3D printing, and other manufacturing processes.
“Our industrial partners have been actively engaged in the transition to a bio-fibrous economy, recognizing it as a sustainable lifestyle for future generations,” added Prof. Mathew.
“Through collaboration with agro-sector and farmer communities and ensuring access to EU feedstock, Bio-LUSH promotes regional material processing while minimizing environmental impact. These efforts propel the bio-based industry forward, creating tangible business opportunities for a sustainable future,” said Maja Fišić, leader of Bio-LUSH communication and dissemination work package.
Bio-LUSH brings together research, industry, policy, scientific and technical leaders in a consortium that includes VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Institut technologique FCBA, IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, InoSens, Paperplat, Spinnova, IMA Industria Macchine Automatiche, Unilever Innovation Centre Wageningen, Xylem Services, AB Enzymes, and EMPA Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology. Through a user-centered approach, Bio-LUSH prioritizes close collaboration and testing with end-users throughout the design and development process. This dynamic consortium is committed to delivering practical results that meet the evolving needs of industry, providing optimal responses for maximum impact.
Circular Bio-based Europe Joint Undertaking (CBE JU)
Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt (EMPA)
IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute
Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT)
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