26 Apr 2019

How to convert wheat straw waste into green chemicals

The development of new bio-refining technologies based on agricultural waste is seen as key to reducing Europe’s dependency on fossil-based products. According to a White Paper by the International Council on Clean Transportation, about 144 million tonnes of wheat residues accumulate each year in the EU. Supported by the EU-funded OPTISOCHEM project, researchers have made significant progress in transforming this excess material into something more useful: bio-isobutene, or bio-IBN, a key precursor for numerous chemicals.

The project involves several processes such as the conversion of wheat straw into hydrolysate and its fermentation into isobutene. This material is then converted into oligomers and polymers. A press release by project coordinator Global Bioenergies states that “currently underutilized residual wheat straw has been converted at demo scale into second generation renewable bio-isobutene, and will eventually be transformed into oligomers and polymers usable in lubricants, rubbers, cosmetics, solvents, plastics, or fuels applications.”

Planned activities

Quoted in the same press release, Jean-François Boideau, EMEA Commercial General Manager at project partner INEOS Oligomers, says: “To date, we received several batches of bio-isobutene from Global Bioenergies for qualification purpose[s], and the quality is promising. During the next phase of the project, INEOS is ready to evaluate conversion of additional quantities of bio-isobutene into downstream products in order to assess the potential of this bio-based feedstock as a building block for end consumer applications.” Frederic Pâques, COO of Global Bioenergies, adds: “We expect to produce several tons of bio-isobutene on this new non-conventional feedstock in the remaining periods of the project.”

Various benefits

The project website notes that the partners hope to make use of the “technical, economic as well as environmental/social sustainability performances” for a commercial biorefinery. The ongoing OPTISOCHEM (OPTimized conversion of residual wheat straw to bio-ISObutene for bio based CHEMicals) project is funded by the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), a public-private partnership between the EU and the Bio-based Industries Consortium. The project will run until May 2021.

As summarised on the BBI JU project web page, OPTISOCHEM aims to achieve a rise in “the yield of targeted bio-based product(s)” by over 20 % and lessen “production costs of bio-based products by 10-20%, compared to current market situation.” Another expected impact of the project involves “savings, in terms of CO2 emissions per kg product by more than 20% for bio-catalytic as compared to state-of-the-art production methods.” The partners also plan to cut “energy consumption by more than 30% for bio-catalytic processes.”

Overall, the BBI JU is expected to provide several environmental and socioeconomic benefits, as summarised on its website: “The new bio-based products resulting from the BBI JU will on average reduce CO2 emissions by at least 50% compared to their fossil alternatives.” It emphasises that these products will be “comparable and/or superior to fossil-based products in terms of price, performance, availability and environmental benefits.”

(Article sourced from: www.cordis.europa.eu/news/rcn/130991/en)

08 Apr 2019

Webinar: Biomass feedstock and valorisation

Webinar

Biomass feedstock and valorisation
An introduction and insight into transforming agroforestry waste into high
added-value commercial and sustainable products developed by the REHAP project

8 May 2019 – Watch live and on demand. Register today!

Responding to the ambitious targets set in the EU’s Europe 2020 strategy of sustainable patterns of consumption and production, REHAP is an EU-funded project facilitating a significant step towards a better use of natural resources by creating novel materials from agricultural and forestry waste, whilst decreasing the use of fossil resources and energy in the process industry.

The project’s first webinar takes a close look at the progress being made after two years’ work in creating these novel materials from agriculture and forestry waste for commercial use in the green construction sector. Expert project partners from the University of Augsburg, Tecnalia, VTT Research Centre and Rina Consulting will be leading discussions on the following topics:

  • An introduction to REHAP and the project’s main objectives.
  • Waste management – forecasting of feedstock potentials in the EU.
  • Optimisation of biomass waste stream processing and upscaling.
  • Market analysis and life cycle assessment (LCA) of REHAP processes.

The webinar will divulge on-going project results to provide a picture of the processes the project is developing and using to produce and up-scale waste material into pilot scale eco-friendly products and demonstrate their sustainability and business potential compared to existing solutions.

Get involved and speak out

During the webinar you will have the opportunity to submit any questions you may have to the speakers, which will be answered live during the designated Q&A session at the end of the webinar.

Who should attend?

This webinar will interest professionals in companies and institutions that are related to the production of low-value residues such as bark, wheat straw and sawmill. This might include the pulp and paper industry, biorefineries, forest proprietaries, sawmills, farmers and forest associations, amongst others.

Also, those in the chemical industries of the likes of phenolic resin manufacturing, polyurethane industries and adhesive manufacturing could be interesting to know about new biosources for their raw materials.

Registering for the webinar will also allow you to become part of a growing network of key actors in the biomass and bioeconomy space in Europe, taking part in discussions and learning lessons about this important sector as it quickly develops.

Join us at the webinar to learn how REHAP is strengthening the bioeconomy. Register here!

 

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