17 Jan 2018

Invitation to BBEPP’s event of the year

Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant (BBEPP) has kindly invited Rehap project partners to attend the IMPACT project event, where a new €9m investment will be inaugurated.

A staggering €9.36 million investment agreement has been signed by the European Regional Development Fund Flanders and BBEPP, in the frame of the IMPACT project, and will be inaugurated on 19th February 2018 at BBEPP, Ghent, Belgium.

The IMPACT event will start at 2pm and will celebrate the investment and elaborate how it will be used to build new research infrastructure, specifically for gas fermentation and down-stream processing, which will enable BBEEP to use the full potential of its 15m3 fermenters. The pilot plant makes Flanders a frontrunner in terms of industrial biotechnology, and this investment will stimulate economic growth in and around the region.

BBEPP is expecting to host 400-500 participants, making the event the most anticipated bio-based economy networking event of the year. There will also be the opportunity to listen to a number of interesting talks on the European bio-based economy and IMPACT throughout the day.

As well as an additional networking reception for participants, BBEPP are kindly putting on guided tours of the plant for those interested in going behind the scenes.

If you would like to attend, simply visit the website and register for FREE.

A B2B partnering tool will be available from January 15th for participants only.

15 Jan 2018

Rehap to attend EUBCE 2018

Lars Wietschel from the Resource Lab at the University of Augsburg will be attending the European Biomass Conference and Exhibition (EUBCE) 2018, where he will be presenting a poster on EU agricultural residue potentials as part of the wider Rehap project.

The event, which takes place in Copenhagen on May 14th – 18th, combines one of the largest biomass science and technology conferences with a high quality industry exhibition, attracting biomass professionals from around the globe.

Wietschel’s poster, titled “Assessment of European Union’s agricultural residue potentials available for high-added value products: Current state and future development”, summarises a methodology for the forecasting of agricultural residues in the EU.

The scientific novelty of the work being presented is the assessment of available and future potentials of lignocellulose residues for use on an industrial scale. The poster will present the results of this study which will help forecast the bioeconomic potential of each agricultural residue and future farming possibilities, contributing to the current discussion about the EU’s feedstock availability for a future bioeconomy.

This is a huge opportunity for Rehap and will provide the project with a platform to showcase their advances and results to some of the leading biomass specialists and professionals from around the globe.

We will catch-up with Lars during and after EUBCE 2018 to get his take on the event.

08 Jan 2018

Rehap publish first scientific paper

The Resource Lab at the University of Augsburg have just published Rehap’s first scientific project paper in the Journal of Cleaner Production.

The paper, “Assessment of agroforestry residue potentials for the bioeconomy in the European Union”, was written by a team of four from the Resource Lab at the University of Augsburg: Andrea Thorenz, Lars Wietschel, Dennis Stindt and Axel Tuma.

Accepted at the end of 2017, the paper extends the work of existing EU papers and studies the forecasting of arisings across the EU and how suitable these agroforestry residues are for transforming into high added-value products for the green building sector.

The team revealed some interesting results on which residue in the EU is most important for both the agricultural and forestry sectors, as well as learning about other materials that are of importance for industrial use in the bioeconomy.

The paper concludes by drawing upon the potential barriers facing the use of EU agroforestry waste in the Rehap project due to changes to farming technologies, as well as changes to the availability of this waste due to other concepts such as second-generation biofuels competing for the feedstock, for example.

Read the complete paper here. The Journal of Cleaner Production will be published in March 2018.

03 Jan 2018

Rehap apply to exhibit at leading EUBCE

The Resource Lab of the University of Augsburg, and leaders of Rehap’s waste management research, have been keeping busy applying for conferences, scientific papers, and reporting on recent results.

Lars Wietschel, from the University of Augsburg (UNIA), spoke of the recent developments taking place within Rehap with regards to their research, the first of which being the application they placed to exhibit at the 2018 European Biomass Conference and Exhibition (EUBCE) in Copenhagen in May.

EUBCE is the largest platform and gathering of biomass experts for the collection, exchange and dissemination of scientific and industrial know-how in the field of biomass. The event combines one of the largest biomass science and technology conferences with a high-quality industry exhibition and attracts professionals from around the globe.

If UNIA’s application is accepted, this will be Lars’s first time at the event and he hopes to present methodology and results from the research they have been undertaking on forecasting the future of agricultural and forestry waste arisings in the European Union. Arisings are the surplus materials that form the waste products of agriculture and forests after they have been harvested for other purposes.

“We handed in this extended abstract - the forecasting of arisings - plus an oral presentation. If we are accepted for a full paper, we will publish a peer-reviewed conference paper in the journal ‘Biomass & Bioenergy’,” said Wietschel on applying for the EUBCE.

Part of what has been proposed as part of the EUBCE application includes the results from a completed project deliverable. A report was written and a database was created that provided information on the forecasting of the future of biomass feedstock in the European Union over the next 10 years. The database provides information on the forecasts of waste arisings until the year 2027.

“Some of the interesting results we found from our research on this topic revealed that for agricultural residues we forecast increasing arisings for wheat straw, maize stover and barley straw, and for rape straw we forecast decreasing arisings in the next 10 years, which is mainly due to a reduced demand in first generation biofuels,” said Wietschel. “We also assessed the influence of extreme weather events on the projection of biomass and our results showed that heatwaves and a lot of precipitation have a strong negative influence on their annual production quantities.”

Rehap hope to hear the outcome of their EUBCE application in the new year, so watch this space.

11 Dec 2017

October partner meeting round-up

The Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant (BBEPP) in Ghent, Belgium, hosted the most recent Rehap partner meeting. Project partners came together to review the progress of actions set during the previous meeting in May, and looked closely at results from specific studies such as extraction methods and the upscaling of processes for economic value.

Partners from DAPP, D’Appolonia, now formally known as RINA-c, commenced by sharing information on key performance parameters for the sustainability, energy and techno-economical evaluation project, and identified the forthcoming first reporting period for giving technical and financial reports.

RINA-c continued by discussing the improvements with regards to key performance parameters and life-cycle assessments since May. For the next six months, a lot of emphasis will be placed on gathering information from partners via questionnaires, to help achieve Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) – a new tool to help innovative environmental technologies reach the market – and in preparation for the techno-economic SWOT analysis in December.

Before the end of the first day, partners had the opportunity to visit BBEPP facilities where Brecht Vanlerberghe and Henrik Waegeman gave an interesting presentation of the pilot plant before showing participants around the plant’s installations. Click here to have a look around yourself!

Tarja Tamminen, principle scientist at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, commenced the second day by presenting results gathered from the testing of sugar, lignin, tannin fractions and bark residue after soda cooking to determine high yields and up-scaling possibilities.

VTT’s work was further elaborated on by BBEPP representative Karel De Winter, who confirmed and continued to explain VTT’s results in more detail with regards to upscaling. Alternative processes were presented to VTT that BBEPP had already tested to understand the factors which affect and ultimately improve yield and upscaling possibilities, and to find better performing purification processes.

Further discussions followed, many centring around a new paper that had been prepared on state-of-the-art waste management in Europe which will be published in Cleaner Production at the end of the year. Partners CARTIF closed by reminding partners to keep updating the risk action plan on the partner database to maintain its purpose as a living document on the Rehap website.

Finally, Insight Publishers presented developed communication tools and asked partners to propose potential congresses to attend in the coming months. They also revealed that a new video for the Rehap website will be released before the end of the year. Keep your eyes peeled.

The next meeting will be at Tecnalia in Bilbao in March, when the actions for the next six months will be reviewed.

31 Aug 2017

8th Life Cycle Management Conference

Rehap will be attending the 8th Life Cycle Management Conference 2017 on the 3rd – 6th September in Luxembourg City, organised under the theme “Designing sustainable technologies, products and policies – from science to innovation.”

Lars Wietschel, PhD student from the University of Augsburg and recent attendee on the Mobile Flip workshop in Paris, along with Andrea Thorenz and Axel Tuma, will be presenting a poster at the LCM event. The poster entitled, ‘Raw material potential for biopolymers in Europe’ will be entered under the category “Raw material supply chains in light of life cycle economy”.

The poster explains some of the activity from the project’s work on waste management, as Lars explains, “The content is mainly about the waste from agriculture and forestry that is available in the European Union and testing which product has the most potential economically and environmentally.”

The poster breaks down into digestible sections the processes and materials that are available to help make substitutes for petrochemicals out of agroforestry waste that has no use in food, feed or industrial production. Diagrams explain a three-step approach to decide which agroforestry waste shows the largest potential - wheat straw, grain maize straw, barley straw, and rape straw.

Results from the four products tested using the three-step approach reveal that wheat straw is the most important agroforestry waste product, with the potential to be the most economic and offer the most environmentally-friendly replacement for petrochemicals. The poster concludes by drawing attention to the availability of these agroforestry products in Europe, and mentions the next steps the University of Augsburg will be taking in the Rehap project.

Lars adds: “I hope the poster will successfully highlight some of the work we have been doing and I hope to get feedback from other professionals who might be working on the same, or doing similar things in this research field. The event is about meeting other people, seeing other presentations and other posters, but it’s also a great way to broaden your horizon in this field with new information and new input.”

The LCM conferences are one of the leading conference series worldwide in the field of environmental, economic and social sustainability, and a unique feature of the event is developing practical solutions for the implementation of life cycle approaches into strategic and operational decision-making.

The conference is for international decision-makers from science, industry, NGOs and public bodies to come together and work in the field of technology towards more sustainable solutions.

04 Aug 2017

Q&A with Tarja Tamminen: Rehap in Brazil

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd is hopping across the pond - and a little bit further - to Brazil, to attend and have the pleasure of presenting at one of the oldest and most established events in the field of biomass utilisation and bioeconomy in the world. 

On its maiden trip to South America, the 19th International Symposium on Wood, Fiber and Pulping Chemistry (ISWFPC) is taking place from 30th August to 1st September, and will be covering topics such as: chemistry, fibers, pulping, fossil energy, energy, renewable energies and biorefinery.

To a gathering of renowned international experts and relevant researchers and process engineers, Rehap project partners VTT will be presenting at ISWFPC on the influence of softwood bark origin on tannin recovery by hot-water extraction.

The presentation, led by principle scientist at VTT Tarja Tamminen, is based on master’s student Miikka Ruuskanen’s thesis written as part of the Rehap project, The influence of the origin and treatment history of spruce and pine bark on the extraction of tannin, and is set to be an interesting topic for discussion.

We spoke to Tarja about what to expect at ISWFPC.

Have you attended this event before?

Yes, I think I have been to most of them and I also personally know more than half of the presenters at the event, so I am really looking forward to going there and seeing what the presentations are about this year. Up until 10 years ago the event was more focused on pulping as that is what biorefinery was when the event began, and so now it has broadened into different kinds of uses of biomass, but with the main focus centred on wood chemistry. This means looking at ways to exploit the use of wood in a chemical sense – not construction – through chemical modifications to make other wood or wood components and wood fractions.

What will you be presenting on?

Continuing on from what I just said about the conferences’ main focus being on wood, in Rehap we are working with bark. Currently, making pulp and paper is where the value of the biomass product comes from but when you make pulp and paper you need to separate the bark from the wood. This creates a bark side-stream, which is where Rehap comes in. It would be beneficial for the industry to find higher value for the bark side-stream and so at VTT we have been developing methods to extract tannins out of wood bark to improve the valorisation of the value chain from bark side-streams. This is where we hope our presentation will offer interesting results for anybody working with wood or its value chain.

Which presentations would you recommend to those interested in the work of Rehap?

To name a few:

  • “Valorisation of lignocellulosic biomass residues via hydrothermal treatment and carbonisation” – this is on softwood bark which is one of the raw materials in the project and the presentation will include characterisation methods and data
  • “On the reactivity of lignin-carbohydrate complexes (LCCs) under pulping and biorefining conditions” – LCCs are also present in Rehap raw materials and fractions
  • “Measurement of leaf lignin of a Japanese oak tree (Quercus crispula) by a combination of methoxy determination with alkaline nitrobenzene oxidation and its application” – a poster on the challenges for determining lignin in the presence of tannin. VTT has also developed a method based on methoxyl content for the bark samples.
03 Aug 2017

Rehap meeting round-up

The VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland hosted the second Rehap consortium meeting, where partners came together to discuss the overall progress of the project, looking closely at results and developments from specific studies such as the life-cycle analysis (LCA), and lay strategies for future activities and actions.

Partners from D’Appolonia (DAPP) commenced by presenting information on key performance parameters for the sustainability, energy and techno-economical evaluation project, identifying the key partners for each production chain, the data required, and pending plans for partners to deliver price information and possible by/ co-products for benchmark analysis.

Mr. Axel Tuma from the University of Augsburg, Germany, presented partners with data gathered from the first deliverable on agroforestry and displayed interesting results on where biomass resoRehap_workshop_3urces are available in Europe. Click here: Raw material potential for biopolymers in Europe.

Partners Cartif, explained their study on quality standards and protocols of agricultural materials – in particular wheat, maize and barley - in order to determine critical strictures and prevent issues such as the over reaping of materials, and to set regulations that ensure the final product meets set standards and purpose. A biomass database has been created to keep track of the results from biomasses treated within the project.

Further discussions followed on the optimisation of biomass waste streams, with several partners presenting materials they will be testing for the development of final products. For example, a smaller sample is needed of wheat straw lignin cake for further characterisation and content testing, and increased testing of spruce bark is needed for improved tannin yield.

In light of these technical Rehap copydevelopments, Mr. Hendrik Waegeman explained the upscaling capacities and equipment’s available at BBEPP for future processing.

Finally, Insight Publishers Ltd. presented updates on the project communication and dissemination and the work done so far in raising the profile of Rehap and the development of the Rehap website.

The meeting ended with partners presenting a number of actions to be completed over the next six months, to be reviewed in October 2017.

03 Aug 2017

SPIRE EU Process Industry Conference 2017

The Process Industry Conference is a SPIRE mid-term policy event and will be taking place on 19 September 2017 in Brussels to discuss and showcase some of the exciting projects ongoing with SPIRE.

The event will be dedicated to picturing the future EU Process Industry and what can be implemented if appropriate investments are met.

The event is open to all interested stakeholders and will include a number of interesting lectures from industry led experts on the topic of ‘A look to the future’. After a lunch of networking, the afternoon will be jam-packed with compelling short five to six minute pitches from SPIRE projects.

Under three parallel projects’ sessions, projects will give a short overview of how they are tackling and solving EU and SPIRE needs, and how the project will be able to bridge needs to solutions. The three sessions are:

  1. Modelling and integrated process control; Process optimisation
  2. Valorisation of different energy sources; Adaptable processes using alternative feedstock
  3. Waste to resource; Industrial symbiosis; Water; Business models

The audience will have the opportunity to vote for their most favoured project on the basis of the projects ‘look to the future: to what extent did the project’s presentation make you dream about the future?’, and ‘creativity: which picture and slogan was more appealing?’.

Two additional days, 20 and 21 September, dedicated to thematic sessions and a brokerage event will be hosted for A.SPIRE members only.

Registration is now open.

For more information visit SPIRE website.

25 Jul 2017

Collecting the data to prove the benefits of REHAP products

Work is now underway to perform detailed life cycle assessment of the social, economic and environmental benefits of the planned REHAP products. This work will examine every step of the processes involved in taking the raw bio-material to a green product to be used by the construction industry. Giorgio Urbano of Italian firm D’Appolonia is leading this work and here explains progress being made at the start of the project.

Some of the first activities in the REHAP project to start producing concrete results are those related to assessing the energy, technological and economical impacts of the materials being developed for the final bio-products, all along their life cycle from raw material to final product. This vital work is being done in Work Package 6, which has defined some clear objectives:

  • To define a set of key performance indicators (KPI) for the environmental, social and economic impact evaluation of the REHAP processes.
  • To carry out market analysis of competitive materials and products on the market • To manage the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Life Cycle Costing (LCC) and Social Life Cycle Assessment for the different technologies
  • To perform integrated environmental, economic and social assessment of the REHAP bio-based building panel
  • To lead resource efficiency studies for further processes optimisation

This work is being led by Giorgio Urbano of D’Appolonia, which will specifically evaluate the environmental, economic and social impacts of Rehap bio-based processes through Life Cycle Assessment (E-LCA), Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LLCA) and Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA).

These assessments will be further used as a starting point to evaluate the environmental, economic and social impacts of the developed bio-based building panels. The work will also involve comparing the REHAP panels to conventional non-renewable building panels available on the market, which offer similar performance credentials. REHAP expects that the environmental and cost benefits of its panels will then form the basis of a commercial business plan that will enable their penetration into the market as a viable green building solution.

Later on in the project, a full market analysis will also be performed to ensure that the pricing for the REHAP panels is competitive compared to the fossilbased alternatives and other bio-based alternatives already on the market.

“This work has now started in the project,” says Giorgio Urbano. “We need to develop a product that has positive economic, environmental and social impact. Every partner in the project is providing a piece of this bigger picture, so we need to start now and collect all these inputs and data to make sure that we build the right final product. By analysing the impact of each part of the process, we will be able to do that.

“So, in order to have an accurate assessment of the total impact of the final product, we need to have all the inventory data, starting with the raw material and passing through the entire processes including the final production of the panels,” he explains further.

“For example, in the green cement, we need a plasticizer that is made with some bio-based materials, but we have to produce these biobased materials in the first place. To produce these, we need lignin and to have this lignin we need straw – the base material that starts the whole thing off and where we start our LCA.”

At this stage of the project, the work being done by D’Appolonia is in the scoping phase, where the team is defining the pathways for the materials and processes towards the final product and how these interact as well as the interdependencies of the various aspects of the work within the project by other partners.

“Part of the task ahead, therefore, is to build a map indicating where the interactions between data, partners, processes and materials lie. We have now built this map,” explains Urbano.

“We started with the project descriptions, describing the activities of each partner and collecting the data provided from them for each process step for the four products being developed. We started with simplified blocks for a diagram, in which material flows were included. Then we identified the responsible partner for each of the project stages and looked at how they would be providing the related data, to assess the environmental, economic and social impact of the target processes.

“We have also started to define the table of contents related to the market analysis; what could be foreseen for month 18, for example and so, we have provided this structure, where each responsible partner will be in charge of providing some market data about a competitive product in order to evaluate the market potential for each of the intermediate products.”

With the framework in place, the next stage is to start collecting the data, split into blocks of time within the project, from the first phase, which is the research phase, approaching the finish and development and the second phase which is the processing, scaling up and demonstration.

“We will perform an intermediate as well as a final environmental and economic impact study based on the scaling up approaches; trying to understand what could be the environmental impact in a large-scale production; even if this large-scale production is not in operation, but just on paper,” explains Urbano.

“The only thing that we are missing in the description of the activities so far is the selfsufficiency studies that are also being developed in WP6; so, in parallel with the LCA, the LCC and social lexical analysis, we are going to develop around four resource efficiency audits of the final outcomes.

“Up to now, the mapping and categorising of all the processes is going to be used for both actions. The foreseen action will be to categorise a benchmark for the different processes and to provide the studies and suggested efficiency measures.

“The project is seeking to provide an environmental benefit in the processes and products being developed in terms of a lower use of fossil-based resources,” concludes Urbano. “The target is set on 80-100 per cent less fossilbased resources used and shorter emission and energy consumption up to 30 per cent.

“So, while we are expecting the project to provide these environmental and economic benefits we don’t have enough data at the moment to make these claims. That is what we hope to provide.”