Graanul Biotech (part of Graanul Invest Group, owned 100% by AS Graanul Invest) is a newly established bio-based economy dedicated private company headquartered in Tallinn, Estonia.
The main fields of activities of Graanul Biotech are the innovative technologies based processing of woody biomass into high purity lignin, C5 sugars, C6 sugars or microcrystalline cellulose to be used for novel end-use applications.
SWEETWOODS project that is lead by Graanul Biotech and has eight other international partners is establishing a first-of-a-kind wood fractionation Flagship plant to create new industrial value-chains using sustainable hardwood as a resource.
The project SWEETWOODS received the grant in the frame of the European HORIZON 2020 programme for research and innovation, following a very selective and competitive process led by independent experts. The project total budget is €43.2 million, non-refundable grants totaling €20.96 million will be provided by the EU, with the remainder being contributed by the SWEETWOODS project participants.
Until recently non-timber hardwood biomass has been considered solely suitable for a limited number of end products, mostly cellulose pulp or ethanol. By-products like lignin and hemicellulose have been considered low-value side streams.
The SWEETWOODS technology platform creates additional value for lignocellulosic biomass and all the fractions will be valorized. The carefully selected technologies are co-developed to complement each other: MetGen’s comprehensive enzymatic solutions are optimized for Graanul Biotech’s diverse feedstock and selected pretreatment technology allowing affordable breakdown and efficient bio-conversion of wood to valuable intermediates and products.
Enzymatic lignin depolymerization and conversion of sugars provide a portfolio of high-purity wood-derived intermediate products with novel characteristics. These will be further processed into a variety of biofuels, biochemicals, and biomaterials to enhance new business models of the biobased economy.
The consortium is proud to have the leading companies to participate in development and market demonstration on new bio-based products – completing a strong chain from forest to market.
The 9 participants of the SWEETWOODS project representing 6 EU-member States have signed an agreement with the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU). The objective is to demonstrate at the industrial level successful and profitable production of high purity lignin and sugars from hardwood as well as the demonstration of these materials in novel applications by combining the technologies and know-how of participants as follows:
- Industrial wood processing competence by OÜ Graanul Biotech (Estonia)
- Industrial enzymes for hydrolysis, lignin depolymerization, and sugar conversions by MetGen Oy (Finland),
- Post-processing of lignin for bio-composites production by Tecnaro GmbH (Germany),
- Production of bio-based elastomeric foams by Armacell, viaUltima GmbH (Germany),
- Incorporation of lignin into polyurethane foams production by Recticel N.V. (Belgium),
- Hydrolysate fermentation to bio-isobutene by Global Bioenergies (France)
- Life Cycle Assessment of the project by 2B Srl (Italy)
- Viability performance analysis by Vertech Group (France), and
- Project management support by Spinverse Oy (Finland)
The aim of REWOFUEL project is to convert currently poorly valorised softwood residues into second generation renewable isobutene for subsequent conversion into gasoline and jetfuel. A €13.9m grant agreement was signed with INEA on behalf of the European commission.
Biomass is frequently considered as an alternative feedstock to fossil oil in order to address the issues of climate change and resources depletion, and also to strengthen energy independence of European nations. However, such substitution is far from trivial and innovative processes are needed to efficiently convert residual biomass into drop-in fuels and chemicals.
The present project, gathering renowned industrialists from various fields, sets the foundations of a first-of-a-kind biorefinery converting residual wood to high performances drop-in renewable gasoline and jetfuel. With an estimated forestry residues potential of about 145 million tons per year, the European Union has the potential to support the deployment of hundreds of such biorefineries.
The 11 project partners coming from 8 EU-member States have signed an agreement with the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) which manages the Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy societal challenge of the Horizon 2020 program. INEA’s mission is to support the Commission, project promoters and stakeholders by providing expertise and high quality of program management.
The project was selected under the name REWOFUEL (N°792104), in the frame of the European HORIZON 2020 program for research and innovation, following a very selective and competitive process led by independent experts.
The objective is to demonstrate the new value chain at cubic meter scale by combining the technologies and know-how of participants as follows:
- Residual softwood supply and processing by Graanul Invest AS (Estonia)
- Softwood conversion to hydrolysates by Sekab, using its CelluAPP® technology (Sweden),
- Hydrolysates fermentation to bio-isobutene by Global Bioenergies (France and Germany),
- Bio-isobutene conversion to fuel components by Neste Engineering Solutions (Finland),
- Preliminary engineering of a wood-to-isobutene plant and overall integration with a fuel conversion unit by TechnipFMC and IPSB (France),
- Evaluation of Gasoline applications by Repsol (Spain) Evaluation of Jetfuel application by SkyNRG (Netherlands)
- Valorisation of the lignin side stream by Peab Asfalt (Sweden)
- Valorisation of proteins from the dried killed residual biomass by Ajinomoto Eurolysine (France), and
- Assessment of the sustainability and environmental benefits by the Energy Institute at the University of Linz (Austria).
The program covers a total budget of €19.7 million. Non-refundable grants totalling €13.9 million will be provided by the European Union, with the remainder being contributed by the participants. Global Bioenergies will be the coordinator of the project, and receive funding amounting to €5.7 million. Additionally REWOFUEL will be supported by numerous industrialists including Air France and Safran.