H2020 – Spanish University requires a company producing lignin waste, a company using bio-based aromatics as input and a research team with technological expertise on lignin, to develop new technologies to obtain new aromatic building blocks from lignin.

REQUEST from Spain, reference: RDES20180507001, valid from 07-05-2018 untill 06-06-2018

Research & Development
  • Start date:
    7 mei 2018
  • End date:
    6 juni 2018
  • Summary:
    Leading Chemistry Department of a Spanish University requires industrial partners and research teams to develop photochemical and electrochemical technologies to obtain new aromatic building blocks from lignin. Project aim is to add value to industrial waste (lignin) by developing new, sustainable and cost-effective synthetic routes to produce lignin-based aromatic building blocks used in several industries (chemical, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, polymer, agrofood...) under H2020 BBI-2018-S03-R11.
  • Description:
    The LIGNAROM project aims at adding value to lignin residues by developing new synthetic routes to produce aromatic building blocks. The project objective is to obtain new aromatics and phenolics with new functionalities, and improving conversion yields and efficiency of compounds already in production.

    Lignin is a main constituent of wood and plants and is produced in massive amounts as a residue of biorefineries and wood industry (among other activities), which is usually employed as a low-grade combustible. Call "H2020 - Develop technologies and systems to produce bio-based aromatics that outperform fossil-based (BBI-2018-SO3-R11) focuses on the development of procedures & technics for the industrial transformation of lignin into added-value phenolic compounds and other bio-based aromatics.

    The initial partners in the consortium are:
    - 1 Spanish Public University (coordinator)
    - 1 Spanish Private Technological Centre

    Both institutions and teams have previous experience in EU Projects involving research and development actions in the fields of chemistry, electrochemistry and renewable energies. The completion of the consortium requires the following partners (preferably form EU countries other than Spain):

    1 company interested in the valorisation of lignin residues (wood industry or bio-refinery, for instance), providing know-how about the lignin starting materials, its conditioning and treatment previous to photo-sono-electro-chemical conversion steps, the processing of product streams after synthesis, as well as on any other economical, technological and environmental issues.

    1 company interested in particular applications of the aromatics obtained from lignin that could provide know-how about economical -industrial interests for selecting target products and collaborate in the separation and purification of the products, as well as on any other economical, technological and environmental issues.

    1-2 R&D Institution / University with research and technological expertise on lignin processing, reactivity, separation and analysis.

    At least one of the companies must be one constituent entity of the Biobased Industry Consortium that is a beneficiary non eligible for JU funding as laid down in Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 623/2014.

    The project starts from TRL1 (Concept Stage) and must reach TRL3 level, corresponding to validation/demonstrative results at the laboratory stage.

    The project will define new synthetic and separation process easy to be scaled up and integrated in industrial facilities. The new process will be mainly electrochemical, photochemical and photoelectrochemical, will use solvents, reagents and catalysts of wide availability, low cost and minimal environmental and health hazards. Ultrasounds will also be incorporated either in the reactors, or in either upstream or downstream steps. Energetic costs will be minimized by studying the integration of renewable energies (mainly solar energy, either in the form of direct sunlight radiation, or photovoltaic power). Achieving low temperature and pressure operation will be favoured as to maximize energetic efficiency.

    Research activities will focus on:

    A) Laboratory tests for
    - photocatalysts, electrocatalysts and semiconductor oxide photoelectrocatalysts
    - reaction mixtures (solvent mixtures, electrolytes, additives, co-catalysts, mediators,...)
    - sonication and sonochemistry

    B) Evaluating optimal reaction conditions for improved conversion, energy efficiency and product selectivity

    C) Improvement of reactor design for optimal coupling of photo-electro-sono-chemical technologies

    D) Improving pre- and post-processing stages for starting materials and product streams, for a better efficiency of the overall process and simplification of the separation and purification of the final products.

    Project duration: 3 years
    Estimated total budget of €2M
    Call deadline: 06/Sept/2018
    EOIs deadline: 06/June/2018
Partner Sought
  • Type of Partnership Considered:
    Research cooperation agreement
  • Technical Specification or Expertise Sought:

    Type1: industry (wood industry, biorefinery, industrial activity that produces lignin residue). Activities/expertise required:

    - provider of lignin samples as produced in the industry

    - enviromental plan and potential risk/hazards analysis, including legislation issues

    - economic viability performance check (value chain, market analysis) of products and processes

    - separation procedures

    Type 2: industry (final user of phenolics and aromatic building blocks: pharmaceutical, cosmetic, agro-food, polymer, or other industries). Activities/expertise required:

    - specification of desired target molecules for orienting chemical selectivity of synthetic routes and separation procedures.

    - enviromental plan and potential risk/hazards analysis, including legislation issues

    - economic viability performance check (value chain, market analysis) of products and processes

    Type 3: R&D Institution or University. Activities/expertise required:

    - electroorganic synthesis, product analysis and separation procedures

    - batch and flow electrochemical reactors operation

    - electrode materials preparation and characterization

    SME 11-50,University,Inventor,R&D Institution,SME <10,>500 MNE,251-500,SME 51-250,>500

  • Development stage:
    Concept stage
  • IPR Status:
  • Market keywords:
    Commodity chemicals and polymers
    Industrial chemicals
    Speciality/performance chemicals
    Chemical and solid material recycling
  • Technology keywords:
    Liquid biofuels
    Solar/Thermal energy
    Solid biomass
    Organic Chemistry
  • NACE keywords:
    Other research and experimental development on natural sciences and engineering
    Research and experimental development on social sciences and humanities
    Tertiary education
  • Advantages and Innovations:
    The project results will provide/facilitate:
    - valorization of lignin residues (that are produced in a massive scale in some bio-based industries) by conversion into chemical building blocks with improved yields and new functionalities
    - alternatives to fossil raw materials for obtaining chemical building blocks
    - intensification in the electrification of the industry,
    - work at milder temperature and pressure conditions, with significant improvements in energy efficiency
    - direct use of renewable energy sources: sunlight for photo(electro)catalytic processes, photovoltaic electric power for electrocatalytic processes
    - improved economic efficiency of biorefineries and other bio-based industries
    - reduction of the consumption of reactants (lower costs of purchase and stockage or reactants, and for the disposal/treatment of residual chemicals)
    - improved flexibility of operation, allowing for the implementation of renewable energies.
  • Type and Size of Organisation:
  • Already Engaged in Trans-National Cooperation
  • Year Established:
  • Turnover:
  • Country of origin:
  • Languages spoken
    • English
    • French
    • Spanish