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Objective of the project BIOCORE will create and demonstrate a lignocellulosic biorefinery for sustainable processing of agricultural residues (wheat and rice straws), SRC wood (poplar) and hardwood forestry residues, into 2G biofuels, bulk chemicals, polymers, speciality molecules, heat and power. Several biorefinery chains from feedstock to end products will be demonstrated on industrial pilot scale.
Background The European Union has set ambitious targets for 2020: 20 % reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy consumption, introduction of 20 % renewable energies, including biofuels, in the overall energy supply and of 10 % of the energy content in liquid biofuels for the transport sector. Therefore, it is vital to make significant progress towards the development of advanced lignocellulosic biorefineries that use different non-food feedstocks such as dedicated biomass crops, residues and wood. Moreover, it is of utmost importance that advanced biorefineries are conceived to address the whole value chain by developing the most appropriate and efficient processes to provide a range of products including 2nd generation (2G) fuels, chemicals and materials.
Activities BIOCORE is a biorefinery concept working with work packages. DLO-FBR is one of the workpackage leaders and part of the executive committee.
Using an innovative, patented Organosolv technology, BIOCORE will overcome current hurdles linked to lignocellulosic biomass fractionation, thus being able to give appropriate focus to other technological steps required to transform biomass components into valuable products. This controlled, specific Organosolv fractionation technology will provide the three major biomass components (cellulose, lignin and hemicellulose) from the different BIOCORE feedstocks. Obtained in forms optimal for further processing, these fractions will be used as major building blocks for the synthesis of viable product portfolios. Integrated designs will enable the transformation of primary fractions into a range of added-value commodity chemicals and bulk products, including 2G bioethanol, made from cellulosic glucose and hemicellulosic pentose sugars and adhesives, resins and polyurethanes, made from novel, linear sulphur-free lignins. Moreover, in a highly ambitious way, BIOCORE will use sugar syrups as starting material for the production of bio-based substitutes of oil-derived thermoplastics (i.e. bio-polyolefins and bio-PVC). Therefore, together with the development of bio-based substitutes for polyurethanes, BIOCORE will cover >70% of the global market for polymers.
Food & Biobased Research will play a key role in downstream processing of iso-propanol, as precursor for bio-polypropylene, in the chemical conversion of lignin fractions into polyols and conversion of carbohydrates into furan based isocyanates and plastizers. These building blocks will be used for biobased polymers like polyesters, polyurethanes and bio-PVC. FBR is WP leader of thermochemical conversion of lignin and carbohydrates. Output 1. Development of a downstream process for isolation of isopropanol from a fermentation broth. 2. Production of suitable polyol fractions from lignin for the synthesis of biobased polymers. 3. Production of biobased isocyanates for biobased polyurethanes. 4. Development of biobased plastizers for bio-PVC applications, like flooring.
Results obtained by FBR in 2010: Organosolv lignin was successfully fractionated in increasing molar mass fractions with different functionalities for polyol production. The first steps in the synthesis of difurfurylisocyanates have been performed. First synthesis steps in the production of biobased plastizers have successfully been applied
Results The overall product for BIOCORE is the demonstration of a sustainable lignocellulosic biorefinery towards 2nd generation biofuels, chemicals and materials. This demonstration will be pan-Europe.
For FBR: 1. Isolation of isopropanol, which can be used as precursor for bio-polypropylene. 2. Proof of principle for production of suitable polyols fractions from lignin and evaluated as building block for polyurethanes and polyesters. 3. Production route for biobased isocyanates and evaluated as reactant in polyurethane manufacturing. 4. Production route for biobased plastizers and evaluated in bio-PVC for flooring applications. 5. Organisation of summer course on biorefineries together with other partners. 6. Peer reviewed papers, posters and publications in technical journals. 7. Presentations on international symposia/conferences.