GREEN BIOREFINERY - Technical, economic and ecological optimisation of value chains by the introduction and efficient use of sustainable raw materials (SUSPRISE Joint Call)
In the project green biomass will be investigated for applying the biorefinery approach. Partners from Austria and the Netherlands will define possible process setups for the feedstock grass, maize and agro-wastes. The technology required will be generally assessed and selected processes will be further developed. Market potential of products and the implementation potential of the investigated green biorefinery systems will be evaluated. The results of will be used to specify on technology bottlenecks and further R&D needs in that field and to compile a technology deployment plan for green biorefineries.
Initial Situation und Motivation
The Green House Gas (GHG) Emission and the threat of global warming have been wildly discussed in academia, economy and politics over the past years. A variety of actions and technologies are discussed in this concern. The most promising seems to be the approach of introducing biorefining into the production of every day goods. A biorefinery is a facility that integrates biomass conversion processes and equipment to co-produce food, feed, materials, chemicals, power and/or heat from biomass. By producing multiple products, a biorefinery can take advantage of the differences in biomass components and intermediates and maximizes the value derived from the biomass feedstock. The project presents the idea of a Green Biorefinery, which uses fresh, green biomass or residues of agriculture as feedstock. The project team consists of Austrian and Dutch partners since in both countries R&D work has been performed so far and additionally there exists a surplus on grass.
The idea is to evaluate and develop an integrated Green Biorefinery system which can generate a maximum of products and revenues out of the raw material biomass. By doing this the overall efficiency of this approach should clearly exceed existing utilisation pathways.
The project will focus on three different types of Green Biorefineries based on the selected feedstock: grass, maize, agro-wastes (e.g. sugar beet leaves). The overall objectives of the project are:
- Assessment (technical and economical) of the value chain and involved sub-processes
- Development of selected sub-process and defining further R&D needs
- Stating on Green Biorefineries implementation potential and provide a technology deployment plan
- To disseminate results in order to stimulate further development and implementation plans.
Possible products of the defined Green Biorefinery types are bulk chemicals (e.g. lactic acid), food or feed products (protein or amino acid products), plant fibres for various potential applications (e.g. possible application in pulp and paper) and energy (biogas).
At the beginning base cases will be defined and characterized for selected feedstock (e.g. conventional biogas production out of maize or grass) which will be used as a bench mark. Parallel the selected 3 types of Green Biorefineries (feedstock grass, maize agro-waste) will be defined more accurately concerning process and product options. The next step is a technology assessment of involved value chains and their sub-processes for the presented process chains. Some identified technologies will be worked on an experimental level (a lab and technical scale) in order to improve the current state of art. The generated specific process data out of experiments will be used in an overall technology assessment of technology and derived products. Additionally selected products of the Green Biorefineries are investigated from an economic perspective (cost estimation, evaluation of corresponding market etc.). Out of the generated results the project team would like to comprise a technology deployment plan providing recommendations for further R&D and implementation work. The dissemination of achieved results to the general public, the scientific community and to decision makers especially completes the scope of work.
The project on the one hand will deliver specific process related data like
- how a Green Biorefinery can be set up and integrated to existing value chains,
- what technology is appropriate to be used for selected feedstock and what type of products can be derived (technical assessment),
- the chemical and physical properties of first prototype products and samples,
- results and experiences if and how plant fibres can be integrated in the pulp and paper industry and first results of separating lactic acid out of maize silage.
On the other hand the project generates a variety of an overall strategic thematic output, which futher can be used to direct and focus R&D work and also specifically support the implementation of biorefineries.
Dipl.-Ing. Michael Mandl
JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH
Project or cooperation partner
- Bumaga B.V., Arnheim, The Netherlands
- Agrotechnology and Food Innovations B.V., Wageningen, The Netherlands
- Ökoenergie Utzenaich GmbH, Utzenaich, Austria
- OÖ Bioraffinerie Forschung & Entwicklung GmbH, Linz. Austria
- Ökoplan Energiedienstleistungen GmbH, Hartberg, Austria
- JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsges mbH, Graz, Austria