Nine European companies have joined forces in the SWEETWOODS flagship project, which involves producing wood-based biomaterials for the first time on an industrial scale. These wood-based materials can be used to replace plastic in various everyday applications.
MetGen – industrial enzyme solution provider, is moving forward in an industrial demonstration of it’s four novel biorefinery solutions: Tailored hydrolysis solution, Enzymatic lignin depolymerization, Lignocellulosic glucose isomerization, and Glucose conversion to glucosone. The demonstration takes place as a part of partially publicly funded EU Flagship project SWEETWOODS.
The SWEETWOODS project covers the entire material process: wood raw material processing, enzymatic hydrolysis of wood and further refinement of material into various end products. Breaking down the wood raw material into pure sugars and lignin makes it possible to further refine the material into high added value products that can be used to replace oil-based chemicals and plastics.
How we reached the goals
The responsible manager of the project is the Estonian Graanul Biotech, the subsidiary of Europe’s largest wood pellet producer, Graanul Invest. The company specialises in wood processing. The Finnish MetGen’s pioneering enzyme technology plays a key role in the efficient extraction of pure biomaterials for further processing. The biomaterial is used, for example, by the German Tecnaro GmbH for biocomposites, Armacell via Ultima Gmbh for elastomeric foams, the French Global Bioenergies for biofuels and the Belgian Recticel N.V. for polyurethane foams. Spinverse is orchestrating the project partners to achieve the promised results.
Up to 95% of the carbon content of wood can be further refined. The objective is to implement the tested and verified technology at a full industrial scale in four years. If the project is successful, it will create new material economy value chains where wood plays a vital role.
The project features a biorefinement concept that can transform 80 tonnes of hardwood into innovative high added value products. Such products include bioplastics, insulation materials, cushions, panels, fuels and sweeteners. The list is practically endless.
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Photo credit: Annie Spratt