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Report biocore – a

Report biocore – a biorefinery Today, concerns linked to climate change and modern society’s excessive dependency on fossil resources are providing the necessary impetus for the transition towards a new economy that will use biomass as its primary source of carbon and energy. In this respect, biomass (plant and animal-derived resources alike) is completely unique, because it is the only naturally renewable energy source that can also supply carbon for the production of the chemicals and products that are vital for our daily life. The FP7 European project BIOCORE (BIOCOmmodity REfinery), managed by INRA (French National Institute for Agricultural Research), has been built to conceive and analyze the industrial feasibility of a biorefinery concept that will allow the conversion of cereal by-products (straws etc), forestry products and short rotation woody crops into 2nd generation energy, chemical intermediates, polymers and materials. The first challenge for Biocore is to demonstrate the feasibility of an advanced biorefinery operation that uses diverse biomass feedstocks. To achieve this, activities in Biocore are focusing on important areas, such as feedstock supply, using a case study approach, which accounts for variations in biomass type and annual availability, and transport logistics. Case studies are currently underway in several European regions and in India. From a technical point of view, Biocore is developing and optimizing a series of technologies to perform the different stages of lignocellulosic biomass refining and to extract maximum value and products from available resource. Regarding the initial extraction of the biomass components: cellulose hemicellulose and lignin, Biocore is using patented technology developed by CIMV S.A., Levallois Perret, France, a specialist in lignocellulosic biomass fractionation, which supplies the three components as separate, refined platform intermediates. To further transform these into useful products Biocore partners are focusing on a variety of chemical, thermochemical and biotechnological processes that will lead to the production of a wide range of products including 2nd generation fuels and other chemicals that can be used to make polymers (bio-PVC, bio-polyolefins, polyurethane, polyesters etc), detergents, food ingredients and wood panels. Beyond the development of individual processes and technologies, Biocore is also in the business of demonstrating the feasibility of value chains. Focusing on a certain number of mature technology that form part of the Biocore portfolio, pilot scale testing is being used to further establish industrial feasibility in conditions that are close to the market. Additionally, process engineering is being used to model the whole Biocore biorefinery process and to scope for process optimization, notably through unit operation integration, the reduction of energy consumption and the reduction and/or recycling of waste streams. Finally, beyond the performance of unit operations and manufacturing efficiency, tomorrow’s biorefineries will have to conform to all of the criteria of sustainability, which take into account environmental, economic and sociopolitical impacts. By Michael O’Donohue, Coordinator of Biocore and Aurelie Faure, European Project Manager, INRA Transfert, Paris, France Varied biomass Cereal byproducts Forestry waste Fractionation Hemicellulose Cellulose Intermediates Final products 2 nd generation fuels Ethanol Thermoplastics PVC, polyolefins, polyurethanes, polyesters Chemistry Biotechnology Resins/Adhesives Food additives Detergents Application sectors Building Packaging Materials Energy SRC wood Lignin Wood panels Ethanol Adhesives and paints 42 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/12] Vol. 7

Report concept Residues of rice straw in the Punjab region (photo: courtesy Michael Carus) Therefore, Biocore researchers are analyzing the whole of the biorefinery process, from the production of the feedstock through to the ultimate use of the biorefinery products, using a variety of assessment methods in order to ensure that a comprehensive appraisal of the benefits of the Biocore concept will be available at the end of the project. Bioproducts and bioplastics In Biocore, white biotechnology and chemical technologies are major workhorses that form the basis of sophisticated integrated processes that will manufacture products for various market sectors. In particular, Biocore focuses on the production of key chemicals such as organic acids, aromatics and olefins. Those compounds are major building blocks for many commonly used thermoplastics (e.g. polyolefins, polyurethanes, PVC, etc.) which together represent 70% of the global plastic market. Additionally, Biocore will provide pipelines for 2nd generation biofuels, adhesives, resins and feed ingredients. 70% PVC PET PE (HD and LD) PU Other PP PS PE: polyethylene (high and low density) PP: polypropylene PU: polyurethane PVC: polyvinylchloride PET: poly(ethylene terephthalate) PS: polystyrene The EU plastics resin market: Biocore activities focus on four of the ‘big five’ polymers (PVC, PET, PE and PP) that make up the EU plastics resins market. Together with polyurethane (PU) these represent 70% of this market. EREMA will present more details on their PLA activities at the 2 nd PLA World Congress 15 + 16 MAY 2012 * Munich * Germany Contact, to get a 15% discount on the conference fee. organized by bM Bio meets plastics. The specialists in plastic recycling systems. An outstanding technology for recycling both bioplastics and conventional polymers bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/12] Vol. 7 43

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