- A TKS plant with higher productivities is created and the new genotypes is multiplied via seeds.
- Improved agronomical methods for an optimized cultivation for TKS are developed. Next to the optimized cultivation best methods to harvest and store the TKS roots are established.
- Information about the gene flow and interaction esp. competition between the cultivated TKS and the wild dandelions is gained.
- A biorefinery process is designed.
- The biorefinery process includes and optimally uses all valuable products from TKS roots. The quality and as well applicability of natural rubber and inulin is demonstrated. This will be reached by developing prototype products from these biomass components.
The project will offer the European Union a unique competitive advantage, because DRIVE4EU relies heavily on the industrial expertise in the fields of I) TKS breeding and II) biorefinery of inulin containing root crops. These specific types of expertise can only be found in Europe. Most importantly, DRIVE4EU will bridge the gap between research and the market (while keeping a pre-competitive nature):
Panel (A): Position of DRIVE4EU in the development path towards an economically viable production chain for NR and inulin: from R&D, through demonstration, to a fully mature, industry driven business case. Panel (B): Challenges for DRIVE4EU are scaling up the production scale (ha) and improving biomass value (€/ha). Between brackets the WP numbers.
Panel (A) clearly shows the three-step development path towards EU independency for the strategically important NR/inulin supply:
- R&D: the first step, research and technical development was mainly carried out in the EU-PEARLS project. This project was directed towards collecting TKS plant material, developing extraction technology for NR and testing the performance of the rubber (see first set of tyres, figure 1, B1.1.2).
- Demonstration of the techno-economic potential: this is the gap between research and the market, and will be addressed by the DRIVE4EU-project. DRIVE4EU will focus on: (1) Scaling up TKS cultivation and extraction from 1-500 ha; (2) Proving the economic value by improving the quality of plant material (from 1-5€/ha)
- Business driven production chain: the third step to a competitive production chain will be taken in the near future by the industrial partners, using the outcomes of DRIVE4EU.