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Processing Underutilised Low value sugarbeet Pulp into VALUE added products (PULP2VALUE)

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - PULP2VALUE (Processing Underutilised Low value sugarbeet Pulp into VALUE added products (PULP2VALUE))

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2018-06-30

Background Pulp2Value:
Royal Cosun is one of the leading companies in terms of sugar beet processing in Europe. Its primary processing revolves around the extraction of sugar from the beet. During this process a large quantity of side streams, the remaining sugar beet pulp, is produced and further valorized as low value feed and/or green gas. In order to increase the value of its side streams, Cosun developed multiple extraction techniques to isolate more valuable products from sugar beet pulp. Microcellulose fibers, arabinose and galacturonic acid can be isolated as high value products. For each of these products Cosun identified multiple product market combinations. Basic economic considerations point to the fact that the full potential of sugar beet pulp can only be fully exploited in case of developing a full scale cascade biorefinery system, producing microcellulose fibers, arabinose and galacturonic acid.

Valorization of sugar beet pulp:
Sugar beet pulp is a major residual stream from the sugar beet industry, which is currently valorized as low value feed and/or green gas. In Europe sugar beet pulp accounts for a production volume of approx. 13 million tons per year. Microcellulose fibers, arabinose and galacturonic acid found in sugar beet pulp can be used for a great variety of applications such as composites, chemical building blocks, food & flavor applications as well as detergents and personal care.

Objectives and Goals:
Throughout the years Cosun developed a pilot facility in which the state-of-the-art unit of operations were tested. The Pulp2Value project is aiming for the scale-up of these pilot processes to semi-industrial scale and the successful development of value chains based on the products derived from sugar beet pulp. Cosun aims to significantly increase the value of the sugar beet pulp by demonstrating applications for approximately 65% of its mass in high value markets. Demonstration of the separate and overall business case(s) is the main generic objective of the project.
The project’s two main objectives are:
1. To scale up, optimize and integrate processes for the production of microcellulose fibers, arabinose and galacturonic acid.
2. To build long lasting value chains for microcellulose fibers, arabinose and galacturonic acid.
The ultimate goal is to set up a demonstration plant which refines sugar beet pulp in an integrated and cost-effective cascading biorefinery.
Activities and results until the second reporting period:
In the first 36 months the project partners worked closely together on the various project objectives.
The focus of the activities of all consortium partners is summarized below.

Cosun: After design and construction of the demo-plants for Betafib microcellulose fibers and arabinose, this phase was followed by start up, production and further optimization of these biorefineries. Supply towards the first launching customers and sampling of commercial grades towards potential customers has started. For galacturonic acid the first production runs on demo-scale have been done. For all beet pulp derived products, value chain development with consortium partners and potential customers was and will remain a major part of the work.

Orineo: Applications of various products, based on sugar beet pulp, in flooring, panels, adhesives and glues were explored. Prototype development is ongoing.

Refresco Gerber UK: Exploration of the application of various Pulp2Value products in beverages such as soda drinks and juices.

Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant: Pilot testing of unit operations and testing of process concepts to support process engineering for the demo-plants.

nova-Institute: Economic and environmental analysis of the biorefinery concepts and support on IP management and communication activities. Also a stakeholder analysis was conducted as a start towards the organization of stakeholder workshops.

Wageningen University: Conduction of randomized controlled intervention trials (RCT’s) investigating the effects of arabinose in various food matrices on human glucose metabolism and satiety.

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research: Research and process development on synthesis routes to biobased building blocks and exploration of new applications for various building blocks. Development of biosurfactants and evaluation of properties.
Impacts of Pulp2Value
The following impacts are anticipated:
• Rural development in sugar beet growing areas by connecting the sugar beet processing industry with various industries, including the chemical and food industry.
• Increased resource efficiency through the diversified use of a side stream of the sugar beet industry.
• An expanded European portfolio of value-added products.
• Innovative products with a low environmental impact.