|WG No.||WG Leader||WG Title||WG Members|
|1||Prof Ulrika ROVA||Preatreatment/fractionation of lignocellulosic biomass||55|
|2||Prof Alina Mariana BALU||Valorisation of hemicellulose derived streams (xylan/xylose)||49|
|3||Dr Tarja TAMMINEN||Valorisation of lignin derived streams||74|
|4||Dr Janka DIBDIAKOVA||Life cycle analysis & techno-economical perspective||16|
WG1: Preatreatment/fractionation of lignocellulosic biomass
Hydrothermolysis (e.g. steam explosion, mild acid under hydrothermal conditions, etc.) of local wood chips will be conducted to ensure high and selective solubilisation of hemicellulose. The resulting aqueous solution of oligo-, monosugars and acetic acid will be analysed and prepared for subsequent conversion reactions. In processes different than chemical pulping, where the aim is to selectively hydrolyse hemicellulose and cellulose to xylan/xylose and glucan/glucose respectively, the use of novel solid acid catalysts with tuned properties and enhanced hydrothermal stability will be also applied during the hydrothermal (pre)treatment for a controlled and stepwise implementation of the above two process steps. WG1 will also focus on recent advances made on the deconstruction of lignocellulosic biomass assisted by non-thermal activation such as ball milling and non-thermal atmospheric plasma. In spite of sufficient developments to be conducted at a large scale, these methods are highly selective and require a limited amount of water as compared to traditional chemical pre-treatments, with heat provided by the dissipated energy in the systems.
WG2: Valorisation of hemicellulose derived streams (xylan/xylose)
Dehydration of xylose derived from hemicellulose hydrolysis to furanic compounds in high yields (more than 75 % F): The pretreated hydrolysate is pumped into a continuous biphasic reactor together with an organic solvent to facilitate the in situ recovery of furanic derivatives and prevent their further degradation to humins. Suitable solvents such as THF, 2-butanol or alkylphenols could potentially be synthesized directly from biomass. Wasteful and energy-inefficient mineral acid catalysts are replaced by solid acid catalysts such as mesoporous carbon catalysts, nanostructured mixed oxides based on transition metals and hybrid zeolites and related aluminosilicates. Hydrothermal stability of the catalysts, accessibility of active sites, as well as the role of Brönsted/Lewis acidity highly overlooked previously, will be important research topics to address.
WG3: Valorisation of lignin derived streams
Depending on the origin of the lignin-rich waste stream, different catalytic and thermochemical downstrean processing will be applied. The main target will be the selective formation of high value chemicals (i.e. phenols). The catalytic processes of interest that can apply in the valorisation of lignin towards chemicals are the catalytic hydrogenolysis, the fast pyrolysis to produce bio-oil rich in phenolics and the hydrodeoxygenation of lignin to hydrocarbon fuels. Novel catalysts and optimized process conditions will be applied in order to develop sustainable processes that could be integrated in a biorefinery.
WG4: Life cycle analysis & techno-economical perspective
Life cycle analysis (LCA) and establishment of metrics that can predict any potential "measurable" benefit of the proposed valorisation of waste biomass streams are always necessary and should complement the research and technology activities. These activities will be based on systematic gathering and analysis of information on local, national and European level, and on the conduction of related studies by dedicated sub-working groups focusing on the most important processes/products in the whole biomass valorisation scheme. Furthermore, the objective of this WG is to identify a promising, competitive process concept for further development work, considering the whole chain from feedstock processing to fuels, chemicals and materials. This will be accomplished via techno-economical study of the main integrated processes that be developed within this Action.