Skip to main content

May 11, 2021

SWEETWOODS project IBN production scale-up

SWEETWOODS project partners Global Bioenergies and Graanul Biotech have initiated demo scale IBN fermentation production campaigns.

The Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) funded SWEETWOODS project partners Global Bioenergies and Graanul Biotech have been collaborating since 2018 with the common goal of establishing a first of a kind high yield isobutene (IBN) production from cellulosic sugars process. Since the start of the project continuous progress has been achieved on both cellulosic sugars production by Graanul Biotech and IBN bioprocess side by Global Bioenergies.

The SWEETWOODS novel fractionation flagship uses sustainable hardwood residues to demonstrate, on an industrial scale, how novel pre-treatment technology in combination with tailored enzymatic solutions can provide high-quality wood sugars and hydrolytic lignin. Graanul Biotech has successfully started up the wood fractionation flagship plant first phase and is now producing cellulosic sugars at the ton scale.

As the mild pre-treatment process applied in the demo plant is very fast and highly controllable Graanul Biotech is able to produce cellulosic sugars with high purity and low inhibitory profiles. The cellulosic sugars can be concentrated up to 60-70% range without viscosity and crystallization issues – this means that they can substitute dextrose up to 100% even in more demanding fermentation processes.

The high quality of the sugar translates into top fermentation performances for the production of IBN. Global Bioenergies has tested the new cellulosic sugars at lab scale and pilot scale and found that they promote biomass growth and allow for high productivity of IBN. The consortium has now initiated demo scale IBN production campaigns.

“The use of 2nd generation substrates is essential for the production of large quantities of IBN to replace fossil-based materials in a range of products from jet fuels to cosmetics. Our partnership with Graanul Biotech has shown that wood-derived sugars can be produced with the right properties at an industrially relevant scale,“ said Global Bioenergies senior project leader Nicolas Barraud.

“We have been collaborating with Global Bioenergies for quite some time now and I am very impressed by the unique fermentation process delivering such good results on our sugars. Looking forward to completing the next steps and realizing the 2nd generation sugar to IBN route on an industrial scale one day, “ commented Graanul Biotech´s product manager Karl Peebo.

The SWEETWOODS consortium, led by Graanul Biotech, brings together innovation-oriented partners: Global Bioenergies, Tecnaro, Armacell, Recticel, MetGen, 2B Srl and Spinverse. The SWEETWOODS project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 792061.