LignoValue Pilot Project: Technology Selected & Call for Application Testing

Recently, Biorizon co-initiator VITO and project partners Worley België and Flemish Environmental Holding (VMH) announced the technology they will use to scale up production of bio-aromatics in the LignoValue pilot installation. Furthermore, the project calls for participation in the form of application testing, feedstock testing & demo plant building. More than 30 companies already have signed a letter of intent.

Technology Selected: Metal-Catalyzed Depolymerisation of Lignin

The selected technology is metal-catalyzed depolymerisation of lignin using a heterogeneous catalyst in solvent medium under H2 atmosphere. “We decided to select this technology on the basis of a thorough landscape analysis of technologies for the direct conversion of wood and the depolymerization of lignin” Kelly Servaes, project manager bio-aromatics at VITO/Biorizon explains.

“This analysis was carried out by VITO and KU Leuven in Catalisti’s BAFTA project - an acronym for Bio-Aromatics Feedstock and Technology Assessment. Furthermore, we applied a number of predefined criteria for this selection of the most suitable technology, among which TRL level, type of compounds formed and yield”.

Next Steps: Design & Basic Engineering

Currently, project partner Worley België is working on the concept and design of the pilot, followed by the basic engineering. This phase is expected to be accomplished by the end of this year. Next year, the detail engineering will take place, followed by the construction of the pilot installation.

LignoValue Project: Production of Bio-Aromatics from Lignin/Wood

Last year, Biorizon co-initiator VITO and partners have launched the EFRO LignoValue Pilot project. By May 2021, this € 4.3 million project must result in a functioning pilot plant in Flanders for the production of bio-aromatics from lignin, which is obtained from biomass. The pilot meets the needs of various companies that have expressed an interest in innovative molecules and a willingness to carry out application testing. 

Often the development of applications can only be done at kg scale, if not 100 kg scale, to enable detailed properties’ testing. The LignoValue Pilot plant allows the production of these larger amounts of bio-aromatic fractions, as such allowing companies to take further steps in their application development path.

Call for participation: application testing, feedstock testing & demo plant building

More than 30 companies are actively following and supporting the LignoValue Pilot project and have signed a letter of intent. If you want to receive more information on the LignoValue Pilot project or if you want to elaborate on the opportunities of lignin valorization for your organization, please contact Dr. Kelly Servaes via or +32 (0)4 93 31 87 46.

Specifically, we are looking for:

  1. companies that have an interest in innovative molecules and a willingness to carry out application testing;
  2. feedstock providers (sources of lignin) that are willing to test their product in the pilot line;
  3. companies that have an interest in building together a demo plant for the production of bio-aromatics from lignin in Flanders.

European Regional Development Fund

The development of the pilot facility in the LignoValue Pilot project was approved by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The total budget of the project is € 4.3 Mio, with cofinancing from ERDF, the province of Antwerp and the Flemish Department of Economy, Science and Innovation. VITO will invest around two million euros. The project is also actively supported by Catalisti, the Flemish spearhead cluster for chemistry and plastics, as it perfectly fits in its strategic research program on bioaromatics.







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