Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

APEX Report Summary

Project ID: 666346

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - APEX (Advanced Process Economics through Oxidoreductases)

Reporting period: 2016-04-01 to 2017-03-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Within the APEX project, MetZyme® enzyme solutions will be brought to industrial production for market demonstration at commercial scale within two target industries: Pulp&Paper (P&P) mills and biorefinery pilots. Both these industries are in a great need of more efficient processes with lower costs, and MetGen can offer them cost-efficient, tailored enzyme solutions. In addition, biorefinery and P&P processes have significant similarities, allowing the enzymatic solutions developed for P&P to be directly used in many biorefinery applications.

The main objectives of the APEX project have been:
1) scale up the production process of MetZyme® from the 400 l lab-scale pilot capacity up to 10 m3 and further, and to commission the large-scale industrial production in the scale of 50 m3–150 m3 at European contract manufacturers’ facilities
2) reduce the production costs
3) optimise logistics and the whole supply chain in order to further improve MetGen’s competitiveness
4) demonstrate and quantify MetZyme®’s customer benefits in field trials to allow for market uptake in P&P and biorefinery sectors
5) serve 1–3 large European customers in the P&P industry with an enzyme solution produced by 2–3 European contract manufacturers, with enzyme concentrate volumes of 500m3/annum.
6) make MetGen ready for the biorefinery market replication by demonstrating the chemical and economic feasibility of MetZyme® in collaboration partners’ processes, proving its effect on the pilot scale and developing necessary cost models

MetGen has been able to industrialize its enzyme solutions and successful market demonstration campaigns and commercialization efforts have led to several industrial scale purchase orders and establishment of first significant supply agreements with customers both in P&P and biorefinery sectors.
Due to streamlined production process and utilization of ENZINE® technology platform, MetGen has been able to significantly expand already existing MetZyme® enzyme product portfolio as well as develop and launch new MetZyme® enzyme product families to address different customer challenges in P&P and biorefinery sectors. MetGen now has 10 separate MetZyme® product families, addressing different application areas, including P&P and packaging, renewable chemicals, waste water treatment, biogas production and treatment of industrial textiles.

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

MetGen has continued to improve and developed its enzyme production for industrial process and turn it into an easily adaptable process for existing and future MetGen enzymes in industrial scale. MetGen has been able to gain further insights and address several aspects involved in the enzyme production process, including Quality control/Quality assurance procedures, process development, technology transfer process, resource expenditure and sustainability, and production costs.
MetGen’s enzyme portfolio has been expanded to eight enzymes in total during the APEX project. All of eight target enzymes have gone through extensive lab-scale pilot testing, of which five have been gone through full technology transfer and produced in industrial scale (50 m3). The ENZINE® technology platform developed during APEX has made it possible to industrialize a complex product in an industrial record rate of 4 to 12 months and with practically 100 % success rate with technology transfer.
Industrial scale P&P trial projects have enabled the market demonstration of several MetGen’s MetZyme® products and have led to several single-time purchase orders from P&P customers with one particular project converted to permanent application with an agreement for annual supply. Three main critical success factors concerning the P&P trial activates have been: 1) Completing the conversion of the most promising projects in Tissue production and Starch modification to permanent business, 2) Leveraging successes and positive results obtained in individual mills to gain new business cases and leads in other P&P mills of the same corporation or with P&P mills of different corporation with similar applications and 3) Gaining a foothold in recycled fibre paper/board production via successful market demonstration trials.
Through successful exploitation efforts, MetGen already established 12 separate pilot-scale trials aiming for market demonstration with larger global companies in the biorefinery sector. These pilot runs have already demonstrated that with selected substrates sugar yields corresponding 90% to 100% of theoretical recovered sugar amounts has been achieved.
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 general public and end-users. The communication activities have been targeted towards an efficient market replication of the novel technology solutions. The main aim has been to reach potential customers and collaboration partners using the communication channels they prefer. The successful dissemination and communication activities have resulted in over 120 ongoing collaborations and projects with private and public sectors. This has enabled to secure public funding through five additional EU Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme funded projects.

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)

Two currently targeted markets for MetGen Metzyme® product families are P&P (including tissue and packaging applications) and Biorefineries (including renewable chemicals). MetGen is already commercial in P&P for energy saving and process optimisation and has strategic focus on bioenergy and biorenewable chemicals. MetGen has also developed new, and further expanded already existing MetZyme® product families aimed for specific biorefinery applications, including efficiency improvements in pre-treatment process of various feedstocks (softwood, hardwood, straw, etc.), hydrolysis of sugar platform (high yields, affordable sugars, high solids, lower CAPEX, less inhibitors, valorisation of lignin), utilization of sugars in fermentation (less inhibitors, higher productivity, higher carbon yield), direct enzymatic chemical conversions to sugars and value-added chemical building blocks (5-HMF, FDCA, fructose, sorbitol, xylitol, less purification, streamlined processes, utilize all reducing sugars, 100% conversion). As a part of biorefinery activities, MetGen has been able to initiated potential very lucrative new business cases in water purification & biogas production (addressing lignin and phenolic compounds, thorough utilization of nutrients, neutralizing toxins, lowering COD & waste, efficient processes).

The APEX project has had a tremendous impact on the industrialization and commercialisation efforts of MetGen’s MetZyme® products. During the APEX project, MetGen has been able to demonstrate its unique ENZINE™ technology platform and the team to support the unparalleled speed-to-market. MetGen is now recognised globally as a significant enzyme provider. MetGen’s team has grown from 15 to 19, illustrating the direct job creation effect of APEX. A broader socio-economic impact is realised through the utilisation of the unused fermentation capacity in Europe. The total fermentation volume of 8000 m3 available for continuous operations in four contract manufactures selected by MetGen needed for the projected demand one year after the APEX translates to at least 500-800 secured jobs in Europe.

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