BioChemCat - Integration of chemical catalysis with industrial biotechnology for biomass utilization

In our project, new innovative renewable products from the Swedish forest are being developed in a green, modern and sustainable way.

Provglasflaskor

Background

By combining high expertise in green chemistry, pharmaceutical synthesis, engineering, catalysis and biotechnology, our goal is to build a modern technology platform that can transform biomass into competitive and renewable products.

The transition from a fossil-based economy to a bio-based economy is a prerequisite for creating economic growth in the future. It is also a European and national goal where ensuring sustainable production patterns is one of the global goals for sustainable development (UN, Agenda 2030). It is also in line with the European Climate Fuondation, ECF, agenda for a reduction in fossil carbon dependence from 2050.

Objectives

Lignocellulose from plant material is the most sustainable raw material on earth and therefore the most the obvious choice for replacing fossil raw materials and building a circular bioeconomy with. By combining high expertise in green chemistry, pharmaceutical synthesis, engineering, catalysis and biotechnology, our goal is to build a modern technology platform that can transform biomass into competitive and renewable products. This is done in collaboration and collaboration between academia and industry.

The raw materials we will focus on are taken directly from the forest (eg wood, wood chips, pulp from the pulp and paper industry, nanocellulose and lignin). With the help of green chemistry, we will transform wood fibers into new high performance biomaterials with improved and added value properties (eg water protection, fire protection and strength) that can therefore compete with other materials.

An interesting track is the modification of nanocellulose. Here we have previously produced bio-based films in the ENM-NSP project that have very low oxygen permeability (OTR) at high humidity. This has meant that companies see great opportunities in implementing this biomaterial in their packaging products.

BioChemCat will partly build on this technology, but will also incorporate new environmentally friendly engineering art for faster and easier modification of nanocellulose-based materials and thus allow a successful replacement of plastic or aluminum in packaging products. The nanocellulose is produced in a process in Örnsköldsvik.

We will also develop methods for producing fine chemicals such as capsaicin, vanillin and L-DOPA medicine from lignin and implement production on a larger scale at companies in Sundsvall. Our project will also introduce techniques such as biocatalysis and fermentation to synergy with it chemical catalysis can further refine the biomass. E.g. we will develop new environmentally friendly technology for selective production of renewable fuels and chemicals from lignocellulose through integrated fermentation and chemical catalysis.

The fermentation provides small organic compounds which will be coupled to catalytic cascade sequences performed by enzymes, heterogeneous metal catalysts and organic catalysts. This type of relay catalysis strategy is an energy-saving way to selectively convert lignocellulose to either fine chemicals, drugs, materials or propellants at almost maximum theoretical yield under very mild conditions. In addition to cellulose, nanocellulose and lignin, we will use recycled products (textiles, paper and cardboard) as raw materials.

This means that we have a circular eco-friendly technology strategy where we constantly develop sustainable products that can be used in several production and consumer cycles. An important part of this is a holistic approach to a sustainable economy that includes people, profitability and the environment.

Funders

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