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Emerging technologies for separation and purification of fermentation products to obtain high grade bio-based molecules at industrial level

Select and advance suitable new technologies for separation and purification of fermentation products for feasible subsequent industrial application. Proposals should focus on a well-defined existing production route of a bio-based molecule of high industrial interest, and prove substantial improvement in the yield, cost- and time-effectiveness of the process.

The projects should cover any Technology Readiness Level (TRL) from 3 to 5. In the case of a pilot scale project (TRL 5), proposals should present a credible cost estimate for the proposed processes with a preliminary assessment of their competitiveness when scaled up.

Proposals should also include an environmental and socio-economic assessment, for example with an LCA. In particular, when targeting TRL 5, proposals should include an LCA in order to evaluate the environmental and socio-economic performance of the developed processes.

It is considered that proposals with a total eligible budget in the range of EUR 2-5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals with another budget.

Separation and purification of fermentation products can be a major bottleneck in terms of productivity and cost competitiveness. For lactic acid, for instance, this stage can account for up to 50% of the overall production cost.

Several technologies, based on reactive extraction, membrane technologies, electro-dialysis, ion exchange and distillation have been proposed, as well as approaches based on fermentation with simultaneous purification such as multistage fermentation or combination of fermentation with adsorption.

Nonetheless, a continued research effort is needed to improve separation and purification processes and to make them available for a wider range of products.

  • Improved yield by 10% versus state-of-the-art applied to the same route (same feedstock and same product).
  • Show 20% reduction in impurities as compared to state-of-the-art applied to the same route (same feedstock and same product).
  • Contribution to the BBI JU Key Performance Indicators (KPI), specifically:
    • Lead to the creation of at least 1 new cooperation project through cross-industry clusters (KPI 3).