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lunes, 13 de febrero de 2017

Consortium for the development of a wood-to-chemicals biorefinery in Delfzijl



Great news coming from the Netherlands. An important movement for the sustainable production of 2G sugars, also known as cellulosic sugars. AkzoNobel, Avantium, Chemport Europe, RWE and Staatsbosbeheer have just announced the creation of a partnership to develop a wood to chemicals biorefinery at the Chemie Park Delfzijl (see press release). This reference plant will be based on the Zambezi process, a new technology that has been developed by Avantium, and will be constructed for a rapid increase of capacity after demonstration. The geographical, technical and logistical benefits of the Delfzijl area will enable a cost competitive production that will help accelerate the roll out of the technology. Let us know more about this technology and the partnership.

The Zambezi process

Avantium has developed a technology to produce sugars for the production of chemicals and fuels from 2G feedstocks including forestry residues and agricultural byproducts such as corn stover or bagasse. In the case of the production of cellulosic ethanol, pure glucose is not required and high temperature pretreatments followed by enzymatic hydrolysis is often used. However, those technologies do not deliver the high quality glucose needed for many biobased chemicals processes in a cost competitive way.

Avantium’s Renewable Chemistries business unit found that high acid and low temperature technologies were the only class of process that provided glucose with the right characteristics for biobased chemicals applications. This kind of technologies has been around for 100 years and is still the only 2G sugar processes that has been run at commercial scale. Taking those facts into account, they developed a number of proprietary innovations to transform this mature technology into the Zambezi process.

Video: The Zambezi Process (taken from the Avantium web page)

 Those are some of the characteristics highlighted in the web page of Avantium:
Feedstocks
Forestry residues (wood), corn stover, bagasse, sugar beet residue and others
Products
High purity 2G glucose from lignocellulosic biomass identical to starch-based glucose. This product is suitable for both catalytic and fermentative production of sustainable materials (PLA, PEF, PBAT, PHA).
Wood extractives such as tall-oil.
Clean lignin suitable for energy generation. Its energy content is significantly higher than that of woody biomass.
Process
Biomass pretreatment not required.
Use of concentrated acid.
Low temperature.
Sequential hemicellulose and cellulose hydrolysis.

The partnership

Each partner brings their core strength to the project in order to cover the whole value chain.
AkzoNobel
The plant will be built on the strong synergies of the infrastructure, utilities and expertise of the AkzoNobel site in Delfzijl.
Avantium
It will provide the process technology.
Chemport Europe
It will bring strategic support from the Northern Netherlands Region working via a range of initiatives to facilitate the project.
RWE
It will use biolignin residue from the Zambezi process for the generation of renewable energy.
Staatsbosbeheer
The main feedstock of the plant will be forestry residues sourced by this company.

Further synergistic partnerships and collaborations are currently under development.

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