Next-generation biorefinery

Published March 10, 2010

The EU’s four-year EuroBioRef project, which was launched on March 1, aims to cover the whole biomass conversion chain from raw materials to commercial products.

The EU’s 7th Framework Programme is financing the €23 million project, in which 28 partners from 14 countries are participating.

From oil to timber
Expertise in developing and implementing processes related to biorefining is of decisive importance for our ability to build up a sustainable bioeconomy in Europe.

EuroBioRef covers the whole biomass conversion chain from raw materials to the production of commercial fine chemicals, and the project will develop a new concept that will include complex raw materials, processes and products. One specific aim is to overcome the fragmentation of today’s biomass industry.


Catalysts
SINTEF Materials and Chemistry’s Department of Process Chemistry is running one of this major project’s work-packages, in which our scientists will develop new catalysts for converting sugars into other chemicals.

“As oil and gas resources gradually diminish, we will have to consider using biomass instead as a raw material instead of oil to produce chemicals such as aviation fuel additives,” says Morten Frøseth, SINTEF’s coordinator for the project.

“Our aim is to convert sugars into more useful chemicals for the market. The biomass can simply be “reconstructed” to make chemicals that can be used in other industrial processes.”


Improved efficiency
The objective of EuroBioRef  is to improved cost-efficiency by 30 percent through better reaction and separation processes, reduced capital investment requirements and better factory plant. The project also expects to achieve a 30 percent reduction in energy consumption, as well as waste-free production.