The current Phase III of BIOREFINERE2021 proceeds with the extension of usable biomass resources and focuses on further applications of wheat straw lignin produced by the Aquasolv process. Also, other sources of large-scale producible lignins are being considered for valorization. One of them presented itself with the addition of the new consortium partner Verbio AG, a biofuel production company, which operates a biogas plant based on the substrate straw. Since the lignin fraction of the straw cannot be degraded during the biogas production process, it is accumulated with the other fermentation residues and can be processed for further usage.
Different lignocellulosic substrates, aside from wheat straw, such as softwoods, sugarcane bagasse, rapeseed straw, are being tested with the Aquasolv process, as the lignin properties are dependent on biomass species.
It is hypothesized, that lignins isolated from other biomass possess diverging characteristics. Hence, a more diverse variation of lignins with different properties, e.g., reactivity, melt- and glass transition temperature, can provide the market with a wider spectrum of application possibilities. In that regard, chemical and/or enzymatic modification of the different lignins is another viable option, which is being currently studied. The customization of lignin properties with additional treatment measures and the initial choice of raw biomass material allow the production of tailored lignin feedstock to fulfill individual product requirements.
Simultaneous to the technological advancements of this project, techno-economic and environmental studies are conducted to determine the economic viability and environmental impact of an industrial scale Aquasolv process, which is a further step towards the realization of a highly promising biorefinery concept.