Valuable aromatics from stabilized lignins: towards an optimal and feasible continuous operation

Project start : January, 1st 2022

Project Duration : 24 months

Contact : Dr. Monique Bernardes Figueirêdo

Environmental concerns linked to society’s dependence on fossil resources have spurred an unprecedented search for sustainable processes, not only for energy but also for manufacturing chemicals and materials. Unfortunately, the low efficiency of emerging technologies based on renewable resources often hinders their profitability. Bloom Biorenewables Ltd maximizes the utilization of non-edible biomass using a novel stabilization strategy that prevents undesired degradation pathways during bio-refining. Pure fractions are stabilized, isolated and upgraded to products such as fragrances, textile fibres or bio-plastics. With a 10-fold yield increase compared to current solutions, lignin applications can drive rather than hinder the process’s techno-economic feasibility. Yet, catalytic lignin depolymerisation for the production of high value molecules represents the main bottleneck for scale-up and is currently limiting the company’s ability to respond to the increasing demand for lignin products. LIGFLOW will develop an industry-compatible lignin depolymerisation process that paves the way for a continuous operation demonstrator. The main objectives are: 1) Transfer from batch to flow reactor; 2) Enable solvent recycling >90% and perform in situ catalyst regeneration; 3) Isolate and purify targeted products for distribution to key industrial partners; 4) Perform process modelling and life cycle assessment to achieve a full techno- economic and sustainability analysis of the resulting process. LIGFLOW’s results will unlock more profitable and sustainable production routes for biomass-derived aromatics.