BIOFOREVER starts demonstration project for converting woody biomass to chemicals


BIOFOREVER, a consortium of 14 European companies, has started a demonstration project that converts woody biomass to chemical building blocks.

The consortium applied for European funding under the Horizon 2020 programme in 2015.

In April 2016, its proposal was positively evaluated by Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), a public / private partnership between the EU and the Bio-based Industries Consortium.

"BIOFOREVER brings together the most potential technologies in Europe and unifies professionals behind them to tackle an ambitious goal of enabling a next-generation bio-refining industry."

Consortium partner MetGen's chief technical officer Matti Heikkilä said: “We  are  certain  that  it  is  already  possible  to  be  competitive  against  petroleum-based chemicals and the food-based sugars utilising existing technologies – more than that, we can make better  products  than  is  possible  through  conventional  processes.

“To be successful in such a task requires connecting the capabilities and expertise of several companies and research organizations to create complementary and complete processes.

“BIOFOREVER brings together the most potential technologies in Europe and unifies professionals behind them to tackle an ambitious goal of enabling a next-generation bio-refining industry.”

BIOFOREVER plans to demonstrate the feasibility of various new value chains ranging from lignocellulosic feedstocks to chemical building blocks, such as butanol, ethanol, 2, 5 – furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), on an industrial scale.

The project also includes demonstration of a number of pre-treatment and subsequent conversion technologies, including delivering commercialisation routes for the most promising value chains.

The demonstration project starts in September and will be carried for three years with a budget of €16.2m, €9.9m of which is contributed by BBI JU.

Woody biomass will be converted to lignin, (nano-) cellulose and (hemi-) cellulosic sugars.

It will then be further converted to lignin derivatives and chemicals, such as butanol, ethanol and FDCA, on an industrial scale, where feedstocks will be benchmarked with crop residues and energy crops.