The new generation biorefineries are integrated, closed loop and designed to make the best use of biorefinery by-products to deliver new high value new products. The Valor Plus project is providing new knowledge, new biotechnologies and new products that support the release, refinement and transformation of lignocellulosic biomass, lipids and low-volume functional chemicals to produce multiple bulk and high-value product streams.
The benefit of this valorisation process is to allow for the full use of the biomass with zero waste, thereby generating the highest value return. In addition, optimum use is made of available resources with improved efficiency built into the process, resulting in multiple product stream processes. Ultimately, the end outcome is increased commercial competitiveness and profitability.
With funding from the EU FP7 programme, the Valor Plus project consists of a strong consortium of 14 partners, including SMEs, research centres, universities and one large enterprise. In delivering improved sustainability, commercial and environmental benefits, the Valor Plus project is focused on five key areas:
- Pre-treatment and fractionation: development of a novel methodology for the controlled breakdown, release and fractionation of the lignocellulosice biomass.
- Hemicellulose Valorisation: engineering of new enzymes and microorganisms for the controlled hydrolysis and transformation of hemicellulose to high value oligomers and bulk fermentation product streams.
- Lignin Valorisation: utilisation of combined chemo-enzymatic and chemo-microbial processes for the controlled depolymerisation and transformation of standardised lignin feedstocks to value product streams.
- Glycerol Valorisation: engineering of new microorganisms suitable for the fermentation of crude glycerol to higher value product streams.
- Demonstration of the technological and economic potential: demonstrating component technologies, roadmaps for technology and product stream integration, case studies and a full life cycle assessment.