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H2020

ReTAPP Report Summary

Project ID: 691414

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ReTAPP (Re-Think All Plastic Packaging)

Reporting period: 2015-11-01 to 2016-10-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The aim of the ReTAPP (ReThink All Plastic Packaging) project is to produce fructose from wood-based feedstock (both hardwood and softwood): a conversion which has never been commercialised. For example, fractionation of hardwood into sugars is very difficult with current methods. Hardwood is mainly built up from glucose, and to a lesser extent xylose. Wood-based glucose needs to be subsequently isomerised into fructose. The ReTAPP project will make this process technologically and economically feasible using enzymatic solutions. The fructose thus produced can then be converted into MMF (methoxymethylfurfural) and 5-HMF (5-Hydroxymethylfurfural), to be used to produce FDCA (2,5-furandicarboxylic acid), one of the two buildings blocks for PEF (polyethylene furanoate). PEF is a 100% bio-based alternative for PET (polyethylene terephthalate) with enhanced barrier, thermal and mechanical properties over existing packaging materials. The processes will be optimised and demonstrated by the three partners: SEKAB, a technology provider for the wood-to-sugars technology; Avantium, world leader in the production of PEF; and MetGen, which provides the enzymes to make the processes more economically and environmentally sustainable.
The main objectives of the project are to demonstrate the production of fructose from wood-based feedstock and to prepare the whole value chain for the market introduction of PEF resin for bottles using this fructose.
This includes:
•Verification that wood-based sugars are suitable for the conversion into fructose and the resulting furans into polymers,
•Demonstrate an increase in the reducible sugar yield by 10% in the hydrolysis phase.
•Demonstrate a reduction of 10% in energy use throughout all the wood processing phases.
•Demonstrate a fructose cost of more than 18% under the market price of food-based fructose (0.5 €/kg).
•Perform three production campaigns with a production rate of 2,000 kilograms of hardwood-based fructose, with theoretical yields of over 80 %.
•Demonstrate the process from wood-based fructose to polymers, using the fructose produced by SEKAB and MetGen for the production of PEF resin for PEF bottles.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The main technical achievements reached during the first reporting period:
•MetGen has developed novel glucose isomerase capable of efficiently converting wood-based glucose into fructose even in crude hydrolysates, showing much better results than the enzymes used in commercial fructose production.
•MetGen has achieved over 50% glucose to fructose conversion in lab-scale.
•MetGen has successfully scaled up the production of glucose isomerase to pilot scale.
•SEKAB has demonstrated the production of cellulosic sugars from wood-based feedstock with over 80% glucose yield from cellulose.
•SEKAB has developed and demonstrated a process for the separation of xylose rich liquid streams from the solid cellulose stream in the Biorefinery Demo Plant, which improves the conditions for enzymatic hydrolysis.
•MetGen has demonstrated that the addition of the MetZyme® SUNO™ booster to hydrolysis solutions used in SEKAB CelluAPP® process increases sugar yield by 25%-30% and decreases the enzyme dosage by 50%.
•SEKAB has tested and verified the CelluAPP® conversion process to handle pulp chips and even wood chips of larger size and still maintain the process yields. That indicates less need for energy consuming mechanical treatment before the CelluAPP® conversion process.
•SEKAB has produced glucose and xylose both from hardwood and softwood during the project and already produced a total sugar amount of more than 2000 kg wood-based sugars.
•Avantium is working on novel glucose/fructose separation technology to be able to make a feed high in fructose from the batches provided by MetGen. This technology should significantly reduce costs as well as lower the environmental burden of glucose/fructose separations.
•Avantium has developed and is currently in the final stages of building and commissioning novel parallel flow equipment to carry out experiments with C5 xylose/xylulose as well as fructose enriched C6 sugar feeds to prove the suitability of SEKAB and MetGen solutions to produce fructose from hardwood for the production of FDCA and PEF.

In addition to technical achievements, the communication and dissemination activities have run continuously throughout the project in order to promote the exchange of information between the project and the related community, including potential customers, but also the general public and end-users. The communication activities are targeted towards an efficient market replication of the novel technology solutions developed during the project. In addition, an active promotion of the sustainability and positive environmental impact are at the core of the communication activities. During the ReTAPP project, the consortium partners have gained a good reputation as recognised collaboration partner in this field. The individual and joint networks of the partners are extensive in Europe and also expand across the world, illustrated by the number of collaborating partners in those networks as well as the other H2020 projects. The successful dissemination and communication activities will provide new opportunities for commercialisation of industrial scale biorefineries, serving new value chains and enables further exploitation of technology solutions and know-how developed by the ReTAPP consortium.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

A successful execution of this project will lead to several novel enzymatic solutions to market and supply to wood-to-chemicals processes for MetGen, a proprietary wood-to-sugars process technology that can be licensed out for SEKAB and a new, non-food based, and renewable feedstock for Avantium.
Avantium has already reached commercial deployment phase of its technology well before the schedule anticipated in application of the ReTAPP project through the formation of a joint venture (JV) between BASF and Avantium in 2016. The aim of the JV named Synvina, with headquarters in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, is to produce and FDCA and PEF and to build a world-leading position this field. It is planned to invest a mid-three-digit million euro sum to build a reference plant with an annual capacity of up to 50,000 metric tons of FDCA per year at BASF’s Verbund site in Antwerp, Belgium, and to license the technology for industrial scale production. For the production of FDCA, Synvina will use the YXY process® developed by Avantium, which is based on monomeric carbohydrates as feedstock. Ketoses, such as fructose, are preferred as renewable feedstock.
SEKAB will have a proprietary optimized wood-to-sugars process technology that can be licensed out. The technology can be demonstrated in the Biorefinery Demo Plant in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden and can further utilized by other projects and clients for covering the need for industrial cellulosic sugars for downstream bio-chemical product developments.
The annual fructose market for biochemicals is estimated to be around 1.5 million tons by 2021. Already at less than 10% market share of the enzymatic solutions for fructose production, the sales of MetGen enzymes for this application are estimated to exceed 10 M€ by 2021, while another 10M€ could be saved in fructose production costs.
All of the novel technologies developed and implemented during ReTAPP will utilise highly abundant sustainable resources in Europe and generate new jobs in the biorefinery sector.

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