UNRAVEL – A Unique Refinery Approach to Valorize European Lignocellulosics (EU funded project report)
The report presents a portrait of the EU project UNRAVEL which is funded under the Bio-Based Industries (BBI) Public-Private-Partnership. The project addresses a novel biorefinery approach for cost-effective pre-treatment of lignocellulosic biomass.
Our European UNRAVEL project will demonstrate a sustainable and economically feasible biorefinery for the conversion of second generation biomass, such as forestry and agricultural residues, into chemicals and building materials. The FABIOLA™ fractionation process lies at the heart of our work. To develop an innovative lignocellulosic value chain we aim to:
- Develop a pre-extraction process optimised for upgrading mixed lignocellulosic biomass streams prior to fractionation
- Achieve at least 80 percent delignificaton, 90 percent glucan recovery, 80 percent yield of monomeric
hemicellulose sugars and less than 1 percent solvent loss after fractionation
- Achieve at least 95 percent lignin recovery and 99 percent (non-condensed) solvent recovery from the liquor
- Develop an economically viable process for purifying the hemicellulose hydrolysate to subsequently ferment the hemicellulose sugars efficiently into chemical building blocks
- Achieve over 90 percent sugar conversion, over 20 percent reduction of hydrolysis time and 20 percent
- reduction of enzyme dosage through optimisation of MetZyme® SUNO™ enzyme cocktail composition
- Demonstrate partial depolymerisation of FABIOLA™ lignin aiming to create more suitable building blocks for biobased products.
- Further refine the FABIOLA™ lignin applicability using METNIN™ enzymatic lignin fractionation technology
- Establish a series of high-value lignin applications such as PUR/PIR insulation foams and lignin-based additives in bitumen for roofing applications
- Show a 30 percent reduction in operating expenses through lower overall energy consumption and costs compared to a benchmark pre-treatment process
- Demonstrate an overall reduction of at least 15 percent in the carbon footprint compared to the state-of-the-art bio-based operation
In UNRAVEL the mild biomass fractionation process FABIOLA™ is applied, matured and upscaled. This process has been patented by consortium partner TNO and has a large potential for improving the cost-effective pre-treatment of lignocellulosic biomass.