© Oregon Department of Forestry
© Oregon Department of Forestry

Woody biomass project starts in EU

BIOFOREVER, a consortium of 14 European companies, has announced the beginning of a demonstration project that aims to convert woody biomass to chemical building blocks.

In December 2015 the consortium applied for European funding under the Horizon 2020 programme; in April 2016 the proposal was positively evaluated by the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), a public/private partnership between the European Union and the Bio-based Industries Consortium.

Chief technical officer of consortium partner MetGen, Matti Heikkilä, said: “We  are  certain  that  it  is  already  possible  to  be  competitive  against  petroleum-based chemicals and the food-based sugars utilising existing technologies – more than that, we can make better  products  than  is  possible  through  conventional  processes.

“To be successful in such a task requires connecting the capabilities and expertise of several companies and research organisations to create complementary and complete processes.

“BIOFOREVER brings together the most potential technologies in Europe and unifies professionals behind them to tackle an ambitious goal of enabling a next-generation bio-refining industry.”

BIOFOREVER plans to demonstrate the feasibility of various new value chains ranging from lignocellulosic feedstocks to chemical building blocks including butanol and ethanol, among others, on an industrial scale.

The project will also include demonstrations of a number of pre-treatment and subsequent conversion technologies, including delivering commercialisation routes for the most promising value chains.

The project will run for three years with an overall budget of €16.2m and a €9.9m contribution from BBI JU.