Development of innovative and efficient processes for the separation and conversion of extractives from wood and wood residues, exploiting the large variety of chemical compositions available for obtaining specialty chemicals and/or larger volume products. Different approaches (such as microwave extractions, supercritical fluids, enzymatic and/or fermentative processes) can be applied, with a focus on providing energy- and cost-efficient solutions. Proposals are expected to address mobilization and use of low value feedstock such as bark and branches. Proposals should assess the impact of the developed processes on the environmental, social and economic performance of the whole value chain when scaled up at commercial level.
It is considered that proposals with a total eligible budget between EUR 2 and 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals with another budget.
The manufacture of various forest-derived products in different biorefinery processes depends heavily on the availability of efficient fractionation, separation and purification processes. Important research and development efforts have been dedicated to the efficient separation of the major structural organic polymers of the wood matrix: cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. However, in view of maximising the value derived from forest biomass, mobilisation and valorisation of lower value feedstock such as bark and branches is required. Such feedstock is potentially a rich source of extractives such as oils, waxes, terpenes, tannins, steroidal compounds etc., which are currently underexploited due to the lack of efficient extraction and separation methods. The challenge is to expand the commercial exploitation of extractives beyond the low volume/high value applications currently available (e.g. as fragrance or flavour enhancers), such that market size matches their available volumes.
- Envisioned improved economics and model character for other biorefineries as well;
- A 5 times higher value from residues of wood processing as compared to their heat value;
- At least 3 new processes for the production of specialty chemicals / bulk chemicals;
- Beneficial economic impact to forest-based sector and underpin partnerships and synergies across biorefinery related industrial sectors.