Unique pilot infrastructure for innovative catalytic biorefinery of lignocellulosic material to functional bio-aromatics

Project Goal

Today, Flanders has world-class expertise in the production of bio-aromatics from lignocellulose. Technologies for the conversion of wood and lignin into biobased aromatics have been proven at lab scale (TRL 4).

The next essential step in this technological development is the demonstration of available conversion technologies at higher scale (TRL 5-6). Yet, suitable process equipment for technology development at higher TRLs is absent and requires a unique custom-made setup differing from state-of-the-art infrastructure.

PILLAR seeks to realise a unique pilot infrastructure platform for innovative catalytic biorefinery of wood and lignin, and by extension any lignocellulosic material, into functional biobased aromatics. PILLAR will focus on (1) a 100 L batch reactor (TRL 5) for ‘lignin-first’ technology (PILLAR I) and (2) extension of the LignoValue Pilot catalytic reactor with a multi-purpose feed dissolver and solid feed injection (TRL 6) able to treat both lignin and wood (PILLAR II).

The project is set up to solve specific questions related to scale-up, e.g. mixing and handling of a lignocellulose slurry, catalyst stability and solvent recycling. This way, PILLAR provides necessary technological and economic proof-of-concept data and paves the way towards an industrial scale catalytic biorefinery that transforms biomass into competitive chemicals and materials, resulting in a significant CO2 capture.

Project Details

Project type: LSI in MOT1 Biobased Chemistry
Approved on: 20/12/2019
Start date: 01/01/2020 (with a maximum duration of 36 months)
Budget: €1.999.848