BIO-HArT: Patents, Publications & Pilot Plant

Since 2016, Biorizon researchers and partners have been working in the cross-border BIO-HArT project to scale up technology for the production of bio-aromatics from biomass, focusing specifically on woody biomass sources. Recently, partners within this successful project have realized publications, patents and last but not least a pilot plant.

Pilot plant & patent pending

Recently, BIO-HArT partner InSciTe announced that next month it will start to operate its new pilot production unit at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus. This unit will be used to convert biological residual flows and waste into high-quality products. The plant houses several pilot plant units, also for the InSciTe Lignin RICHES project, that is part of Biorizon’s BIO-HArT project.

The pilot plant at Brightlands Chemelot Campus

Vertoro will be the first user of the new unit. Vertoro, a spin-off from the TU Eindhoven, that is based on the results of the Lignin RICHES project, will be producing oil from both wood and lignin at the plant.

This biobased oil, which is called crude lignin oil (CLO), will, much like fossil crude oils, as a platform product for fuels, chemicals and materials. The CLO applications phenol and resins will be evaluated by the University of Maastricht (UM) as part of the InSciTe Lignin RICHES project. The CLO applications marine fuel and octane boosters will be explored by Progression Industry in an ongoing OPZUID project (Scelio-4B), in which parts of Lignin RICHES are also embedded. The patent applications that describes both the lignin to CLO process, the composition of CLO, and various CLO applications can be found in the online patent database.

International media coverage

Last February, Vertoro’s CEO Michael Boot featured in an interview for Worldwide business with Kathy Ireland, a business TV show, which was broadcasted by Fox Business Network as sponsored content and Bloomberg International. He talked about how Vertoro is all about co-creation and innovation and that he aims to create a platform chemical that can be used globally. Please watch the video:

Publications & award

Recently, Panos Kouris en Xiaoming Huang, working at Vertoro and InSciTe, have published two scientific articles that are a product of the InSciTe’s Lignin RICHES project.

  1. Kouris et al., Scaling-up catalytic depolymerisation of lignin: performance criteria for industrial operation, Topics in Catalysis, 2018, 61, 1901-1911. In this article the conversion of lignin from wood to aromatic monomers is described, including a very new way developed at the Eindhoven University of Technology. This is based on a 2-step process, of which the first deals with a solvolysis and after removed the char followed by catalytic hydrodeoxygenation. In this novel method there is no cat fouling. The method has also been patented.
  2. X. Huang et al., Selective production of biobased phenol from lignocellulose-derived alkylmethoxyphenolsACS Catal., 2018, 8, 11184−11190. This article described the conversion of lignoecellulose-derived aromatic monomers into phenol with simultaneous demethoxylation and dealkylation using various catalysts as developed at the Eindhoven University of Technology. The obtained phenol yields are 70%, much higher than hitherto described. The method has also been patented. 

Furthermore, Panos Kouris, who is both researcher at InSciTe and CTO at Vertoro, was elected as Young European Talent in the field of Science. Congratulations!


The cross-border project BIO-HArT, acronym in Dutch for “Biorizon Innovation and Upscaling of Renewable Aromatics Technology”, was set out in 2016 to scale up technology for the production of bio-aromatics from biomass, focusing specifically on woody biomass sources. By 2019 this must result in functioning bench-scale demonstrators and optimized processes with which samples can be provided to the industry on a kilogram scale.

By demonstrating the technology within this project on a larger scale, the confidence in the applicability of the technology on an industrial scale increases and the risk to invest diminishes. Simultaneously bio-aromatics will be produced in sufficient quantities to be able to start application development routes.

Consortium of 10 partners

A consortium of 10 partners from industry and research organizations is working on the realization of these ambitious targets.

The BIO-HArT bench scale demonstrators will be realized at five different locations in the border region that complement each other optimally: the Green Chemistry Campus in Bergen op Zoom, the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant in Gent, the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Geleen, the Chem&Tech Campus in Leuven and Blue Gate in Antwerp. The accelerated establishment of value chains within this project will give an impulse to businesses and employment in South-Netherlands and Flanders.

Profitable and sustainable prospects for the chemical industry

Aromatics are one of the main raw materials used by the chemical industry: 40% of all chemicals are aromatic by nature. Aromatics are currently extracted from oil, which leads to the emission of CO2. The Biorizon Shared Research Center, initiated by TNO, VITO and Green Chemistry Campus, together with partners develops technologies to extract aromatics from plant residues. This reduces dependency on oil, leads to lower CO2-emissions, and provides profitable and sustainable prospects for the chemical industry and the supply industry.


This project is established by a contribution of the European Interreg V Flanders-The Netherlands program that stimulates innovation, sustainable energy, a healthy environment and the labor market by means of cross-border projects. On a total budget of € 6.085.445,38 Interreg contributes € 3.042.722,69 (50 %) and besides that the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, the provinces of North-Brabant, Antwerp, East-Flanders and Flemish-Brabant offered additional funding. Thereby they make an important contribution to the further development of the Flemish-Dutch border region as a top location for the transition to a more sustainable, biobased economy and an efficient use of natural resources.


More information

If you want to know more about (participating in) the BIO-HArT-project or Biorizon, please contact Nadine Wennersbusch via or +31 (0)88 866 63 71.

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This project is made possible by a contribution from the European
Regional Development Fund (ERDF) within the framework of OP-Zuid.

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