Biorizon scales up: realization of demonstrators to produce bio-aromatics

BIO-HArT project partners have successfully realized two demonstrators. Since 2016, ten partners have been working on the scaling up of technology for the production of aromatics from biomass. The key objective is to construct demonstrators by the end of 2018 for the targeted future production processes. Two such demonstrators have now been realized.

Biorizon Innovation and Upscaling of Renewable Aromatics Technology

The realization of the demonstrators is another important milestone within the ‘carbohydrates to aromatics route’ in the BIO-HArT project. One demonstrator was designed and constructed by Avantium on the basis of their plug-flow Flowrence technology. It is a flexible unit that can handle the high temperature and high pressure requirements that are needed to execute several of the key reactions in the Diels-Alder approach toward bio-aromatics in a safe environment.

The other demonstrator was custom built for Biorizon by Zeton based on a unique design by TNO. It can process many different feed chemicals, giving access to a wide range of bio-aromatic products. This demonstrator enables Biorizon to produce samples of bio-aromatics in larger quantities, and more efficiently, than before, fulfilling the requests from companies for chemicals with specific functionalities on a multi-kg scale.

By scaling up the Diels Alder chemistry from lab- to pilot-scale (throughput: 1-10kg/hr) Biorizon will be able to optimize two different routes to bio-aromatics, and thus prove the industrial feasibility of the processes.

“Coming up with a design ‘in steel’ that could operate the desired processes, and be realized within the timeframe and budget of the project, was challenge in itself”, BIO-HArT project manager Nadine Wennersbusch explains.

Testing the most economical route to match companies’ requirements

Besides the realization of the demonstrator itself, the goal of the BIO-HArT project is to further optimize the processes for the production of bio-aromatics. Different parameters, such as reactant feed flow rates and ratios as well as reaction pressure and temperatures, can influence the efficiency of the reaction. All these parameters, amongst others, can be varied in the set-ups to determine the optimal settings for the highest yield and selectivity. These results can then be used to evaluate the technical and economic feasibility of the process at industrial scale.

Interested to test samples of bio-aromatics in your applications?

Earlier this year, Biorizon sent out a call for participation to attract companies that are willing to test samples in their applications. Several companies from all over Europe have responded to this call, and with the realization of the demonstrator, Biorizon is expecting to discuss the results with these companies by the first quarter of 2018.

If you are interested in testing samples of bio-aromatics in your applications, discussing the desired characteristics and sharing the results with Shared Research Center Biorizon, please contact Monique Wekking via or +31 (0)6 46 84 73 58.

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 isolated from fossil sources, which leads to the emission of CO2. Shared Research Center Biorizon, initiated by TNO, VITO, ECN and Green Chemistry Campus, develops, together with partners, technologies to produce 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 its suppliers.


The BIO-HArT 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.

Photo: Diels-Alder pilot by TNO

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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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