28 06 2022

OLEAF4VALUE: An Innovative Upcycling Project

Natac is coordinating the OLEAF4VALUE project, a research and innovation action (RIA) funded by the European Union (H2020 -JTI-BBI) focused on tackling the problem generated by olive biomass through the development of a complete olive leaf upcycling system.

OLEAF4VALUE is a three-year project that will develop a complete valorisation system for the olive leaf. Globally, 4.5 million tons of olive leaves are produced every year by the olive oil industry, a key industry in southern Europe and along the Mediterranean basin. This biomass represents a challenge for both the farmers and the whole olive oil industry, who need to remove it from the fields and the olive oil mills. Olive leaves may generate an environmental and economic problem when not collected.

The goal of OLEAF4VALUE is to set up the basis of a smart value chain based on a disruptive and first-of-its kind concept: Smart Dynamic Multi-Valorisation-Route Biorefinery (SAMBIO) for the cascade valorisation of the olive leaf biomass according to its physicochemical composition, particularly modulated by specific pre-treatments to produce target products. Advanced green extraction and isolation technologies will be used to sequentially separate all fractions and compounds of value, with a zero-waste approach. Enzymatic biotransformation and nanoencapsulation technologies will be applied to develop tailor-made prototypes according to end user market needs from high value sectors: food, feed, health, cosmetic, pharma, and chemical industries. Large companies from these sectors within the consortium will guarantee a good market-oriented approach throughout the project.

The OLEAF4VALUE consortium is composed of sixteen partners: six Research Technology Organisations (RTOs), seven Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and three Large Enterprise (Les), from nine different countries throughout Europe (Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and UK).

With a total budget of 5,687,060 €, the OLEAF4VALUE project will address all the stages of the value chain: raw material, biorefining, post-extraction technologies, market validation, and sustainability assessment. The OLEAF4VALUE project started in July 2021 and will link the primary olive sector from southern Europe with large multinationals from the high valued competitive markets in a circular bioeconomy project.

More information in https://oleaf4value.eu/