FRACTION

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Aim of the project

FRACTION develops a novel integrated biorefinery approach to maximize the purity and quality of lignin and hemicellulose side streams in 2nd generation biorefineries to achieve its use in the formulation of high added value products, while keeping high quality cellulose as main targeted product.
This will be achieved thanks to a novel organosolv fractionation process using a mixture of ɣ-valerolactone (GVL) and water, followed by downstream processing and purification technologies aimed to produce high quality end products making the most out of all the lignocellulose components.

The uniqueness of this project is the outstanding performance of GVL-based fractionation, including solvent recovery and reutilisation. The use of GVL as a solvent offers unique advantages to the process by the virtue of its chemical and physical properties and solves problems associated with biomass fractionation, such as:

  • continuous biomass feeding
  • high biomass loading
  • low degradation of all three streams – cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin
  • the ability to effectively process the hemicellulose stream downstream within the solvent

Objectives

Raising TRL level of GVL recovery and stream utilisation

The main objective of FRACTION is to validate in lab (TRL4), start the activities towards TRL5 (engineering-problematic processes as GVL recovery and stream reutilisation) and demonstrate the sustainable and techno-economic viability of a novel lignocellulose biorefinery scheme with the GVL-fractionation technology as its core, enabling to obtain high purity lignin and hemicellulose streams while maintaining the value of high-grade cellulose as main output.

The overarching objective of the FRACTION project is to increase the performance of 2nd generation biorefineries, improving their economics and flexibility in dealing with lignocellulose feedstocks.

Environmental objectives contribute to EU's climate neutral by 2050 strategy

From an environmental perspective, the FRACTION project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the value chain through improvements in a range of production methods. It will also increase energy efficiency by more than 50% when benchmarked against current state-of-the-art methods. It will also contribute the EU’s climate neutral by 2050 strategy through creating energy and resource efficient biorefineries.

Reduced costs increase the economic and are in line with sustainable industry

From an economic perspective, the FRACTION project will increase the total economic value of lignocellulose processing-derived products by at least 20%. In addition, it will reduce separation costs in processing by at least 20% – a significant contribution, given that this can be as much as 40% of overall production costs.

Circular economy solutions provide well-being for society

From a social perspective, the FRACTION project will demonstrate the potential for creating new jobs in rural and coastal areas within the bio-based economy. This will make these less-urban settings easier and more attractive places to live and work.

Methodology

The duration of FRACTION will be 36 months starting in June 2021. The work plan is divided into 8 Work Packages (WP).

FRACTION’s workflow is divided in four lines, described below.

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