Is the Market Ready for Small-Scale BioRefinery Plants?
The West of the Netherlands produces annually over 200,000 tons of plant residues.
The remains of tomatoes and peppers together account for 170,000 tons.
At this moment, these residual materials now are composted.
But residual materials also have potential as a new raw material, if the chemical industries are interested.
The remaining plant materials are made suitable for refining:
- washed to remove dirt
- reduced in size to be able to pass the equipment in the rest of the process
- and separated via compression into a solid fraction and a liquid
The fluid contains sugars and proteins. By heating or addition of acid, the proteins are coagulated and removed from the liquid.
The processing of the protein-free juice stream should be centralized (fermentation of C5 and C6 sugars and cellulose). But a profitable BioRefinery for C6 sugars requires large volumes. Therefore it might be useful to collect residues from other parts of the European Union.
Further, it is important that the chemical industry will buy the sugars. For this purpose it is important that the sugars are affordable and, moreover, it should be large volumes.
- The Technical University of Delft has a department of biotechnology (Faculty of Applied Sciences)
- Within the Wageningen University and Research Centre conducts research Plant Research International (PRI) research into ways to use plants with solutions for food, raw materials and energy issues.
- The Flemish universities centralize their research in the Flanders University Institute for Biotechnology (VIB)