LIFE Project Cover Photo

Advanced Biodiesel in circular economy for low carbon public transports.

Reference: LIFE15 CCM/FR/000068 | Acronym: BIOHEC-LIFE



Petroleum products still account for 95% of fuel consumption by European road transport and represent 21% of European greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The European Union has set a target for every Member State that at least 10% of its transport fuel comes from renewable sources by 2020.

First generation biofuels - such as agricultural bioethanol, to be used in gasoline engines, and biodiesel, made from oilseed crops, for use in standard diesel engines ? have helped reduce GHG emissions, but they also have a negative impact on water and soils, as well as competing for land used by food crops.

By 2013, EU strategy was re-oriented towards ?advanced? biofuels, made from waste or agricultural and forestry residues (second generation) or algae (third generation). Used cooking oils (UCOs) are processed from food industry and catering waste; cheap and widely available, they are playing an increasing role in the development of advanced biofuels. However, although the legislative framework is in place, less than 40% of discarded UCOs are collected, and the biofuels processed from these are still associated with negative environmental impacts. Moreover, current biofuel production chains still mostly resort to the import and long-distance transport of material to large-capacity processing units: freight accounts for up to 20% of the GHG impact of these biofuels' life-cycle.


BIOHEC-LIFE aims to achieve the following:

  • Validate an eco-designed, compact and flexible demonstrator in order to produce competively-priced advanced biofuels derived from UCO and bioethanol;
  • Provide French local authorities? transport fleets with locally-produced biofuel;
  • Validate the economic, social and environmental model of the production chain in the city of Lille and Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie region;
  • Prepare the replication and deployment of this model in subsequent French and European territories through partnerships and franchises; and
  • Develop and promote new methods enabling the optimised recovery of UCOs.
  • Expected results: The project expects to achieve the following beneficial results in terms of the prototype technology, recovery chain and replicability:

  • Construction of an eco-designed, compact and flexible demonstrator allowing the processing of UCOs for biofuel production;
  • Production of UCO-derived biofuel and bioethanol, allowing a 93% reduction in GHG emissions in the life-cycle compared with classic gasoline and a 22% reduction in comparison with other biofuel processes;
  • Reduced environmental impacts compared with gasoline including -86% consumption of non-renewable energies, -97% photochemical oxidation, -98% human toxicity (health impact), and -46% eutrophication;
  • High-value recovery chains for glycerol;
  • Creation of a local and economically-competitive supply chain for second generation bioethanol;
  • Successful running of the city of Lille's vehicle fleet for 19 months;
  • Supply of 245 000 L of fuel ? i.e. 50% of Lille's fuel consumption, bringing GHG emission savings of 200 teqCO2 during the project;
  • Air emissions from the vehicles compatible with European emission standards 4 to 6;
  • Methods and tools necessary to reach a rate of household waste recovery of 0.1 kg/inhabitant in participating local communities? i.e. avoiding 0.27 Mt eqCO2 of emissions;
  • Technical, socioeconomic and environmental data validating the creation of a circular production chain for the processing of UCO-derived biofuel for the use of local communities; and
  • A methodology to accompany and support the setting-up of production chains in order to ensure their replicability.


    Reference: LIFE15 CCM/FR/000068
    Acronym: BIOHEC-LIFE
    Start Date: 01/12/2016
    End Date: 30/06/2021
    Total Budget: 2,446,344 €
    EU Contribution: 1,459,164 €
    Project Location:


    Coordinating Beneficiary: GECCO
    Legal Status: PCO
    Address: 75 Rue Lon Gambetta, 59000, LILLE, France
    Contact Person: Michel MILLARES
    Tel: 33642964115

    LIFE Project Map



    • Renewable energies
    • GHG reduction in non EU ETS sectors


    • waste management
    • biofuel


    • COM(2015)614 - "Closing the loop - An EU action plan for the Circular Economy" (02.12.2015)
    • COM(2011)112 - "A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050" (08.03.2011)
    • Directive 2009/28 - Promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (23.04.2009)


    Name Type
    GECCO Coordinator
    Pour La Solidarité, Belgium Participant
    NEOECO DEVELOPPEMENT, France Participant
    Université des Sciences et Technologies de Lille - Lille1), France Participant
    RREUSE, Belgium Participant