CORDIS - EU research results

Sustainable and efficient bio-chemical catalytic cascade conversion of residual biomass to high quality biopolymers

Project description

A sustainable approach to transforming residual biomass into high-value biopolymers

The EU-funded BioCatPolymers project aims to develop a sustainable, efficient method to convert low-quality residual biomass into high-value biopolymers. The proposed technology will involve an integrated hybrid bio-thermochemical process to convert biomass-derived sugars into mevalonolactone. The latter can then be converted into bio-monomers through selective chemocatalytic processes. The goal is to economically produce isoprene and 3-methyl 1,5-pentanediol (3MPD), two monomers with large markets, which can be processed into elastomers and polyurethanes, respectively. Project activities could help reduce production costs for bio-isoprene by 50 % and 3MPD by 70 %. This reduction will be achieved by optimising cell factories and downstream processes and integrating process modules.


The overall objective of BioCatPolymers is to demonstrate a sustainable and efficient technological route to convert low quality residual biomass to high added-value biopolymers. The technology is based on an integrated hybrid bio-thermochemical process combining the best features of both. The biological step consists of the efficient conversion of biomass-derived sugars to mevalonolactone (MVL). MVL can be then converted to bio-monomers via highly selective chemocatalytic processes. BioCatPolymers is specifically aiming at the efficient and economic production of isoprene and 3-methyl 1,5-pentanediol (3MPD), two momoners with very large markets that can be further processed in the existing infrastructure for fossil-based polymers for the production of elastomers and polyurethanes, respectively.
This ambitious target will be attained by optimizing and demonstrating the entire value chain on 0.5 ton of biomass/day scale, starting from the pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass to hydrolysis and biological fermentation to MVL, separation of MVL from fermentation broth, selective catalytic conversion to the targeted monomer and finally purification to polymer grade quality. The novel approach we propose in this project surpasses the impediments of traditional solely bio-based approaches. It aims at producing bio-isoprene at 50% cost reduction and 3MPD at 70% cost reduction compared to average market prices, by optimizing the platform cell factories and all downstream processes and integrating the process modules, thereby increasing the competitiveness of biological processes in terms of economics.
The BioCatPolymers consortium consists of highly qualified and experienced researchers with complementary expertise. Trans-disciplinary considerations are strongly involved in the project. The strong industrial leadership-driven innovation potential is reflected through the fact that the large majority of the partners are from industry.

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Net EU contribution
€ 1 316 250,00
57001 Thermi Thessaloniki

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Βόρεια Ελλάδα Κεντρική Μακεδονία Θεσσαλονίκη
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 1 316 250,00

Participants (9)