Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Specific challenge: A number of rejects and side streams of pulp and paper industry such as pulping liquors and discharged fibres in rejects and sludges, are currently being landfilled or incinerated. Their valorisation improves the environmental footprint of the whole process while enhancing its competitiveness. The potential to further exploit these streams requires the application of new technologies to isolate their sugars and to convert those sugars into added value bioproducts such as carbohydrate derivatives (e.g. alcohols, polyols, small organic acids).

Scope: Development of processes to isolate a constant and reliable stream of sugars from spent pulping liquors (from sulphite and Kraft pulping) or discharged fibers, for further conversion into carbohydrate derivatives via chemical or biochemical routes. Proposals should address the development of suitable separation, purification and conversion processes and include conversion trials, as well as identification and removal of possible inhibiting compounds in the feedstock. A life-cycle assessment should be carried out in order to evaluate the environmental and socio-economic performance of the developed technologies. The feasibility of integrating the proposed concept into existing industrial processing chains should be assessed.

It is considered that proposals with a total eligible budget of at least EUR 2 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals with another budget.

Expected impact:

·         Creating new value chains using waste streams of the pulp and paper sector as bio-based feedstock for a number of industrial sectors such as chemical industry (solvents, intermediates), food industry (e.g. food additives), and precursor materials for bioplastics.

·         Increasing the value by two to three times when using discharged fibre streams with respect to state of the art.

·         Achieving a separation rate of sugars of at least 50% when processing liquor, along with an increase in value of at least four times with respect to the energy value of liquor when burnt for power generation.

·         Enhancing cooperation along the value chain between the feedstock supply, processing industries (chemical, food, bioplastics), as well as providers of the required technologies (incl. SMEs) facilitating the creation of new industrial clusters.

·         Achieving technological validation of at least 3 new biobased chemical building blocks for the mentioned processing industries, ready for demonstration phase.

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