• Biomass Research
    Current Celignis Projects

Background


We believe that, in the bioeconomy, if you stand still you end up being left behind. Celignis was born from pioneering research and we are still passionately committed to playing our part in advancing the bioeconomy.

As a result we are currently active in a number of important research projects looking to advance the state of the art in the utilisation of biomass for the production of biobased products, fuels, and energy. These projects are funded by a number of schemes, including the EU's Horizon Europe programme, the Circular Bioeconomy Europe Joint Undertaking (CBE-JU), and local national programmes.

Current Research Projects at Celignis

"Mining Microbes and Developing Advanced Production Platforms for Novel Enzymes To Rapidly Unleash Xylans Potential In a Scope Of Products For the Consumer Market"




ProgrammeHorizon Europe, FNR-16-2020
CategoryResearch and Innovation Action (RIA)
StatusActive
Period2021 - 2025
Partners13
Budget€6.04m
LinksCordis, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook
Enxylascope is a project, thought and written by Celignis, with multiple focus areas to achieve consumer products free of liquid plastics derived from fossil fuel resources. The project has several novel elements, with a strong commercial focus. The novelty starts with the discovery of novel xylan side chain acting enzymes and extends to their application to develop novel xylan based products.

Celignis is involved in the isolation of natural isolates that have the ability to produce multiple sidechain-acting enzymes of interest by adaptive culture enrichment process. Additionally, Celignis is the leader of WP4, being responsible for the extraction of water-soluble xylan and its conversion it to water insoluble forms with high water holding capacity using the enzymes developed in the project. The target is that the modified xylan is used as an alternative for liquid plastics that are used as rheology modifiers in personal care and cosmetics products.

Celignis is also undertakeing the full-length techno-economic analysis (TEA) of the process.

Get more info...EnXylaScope



"High Performance Bio-based Functional Coatings for Wood and Decorative Applications"




ProgrammeCBE-JU, Horizon Europe, BBI-2020-SO3-R5
CategoryResearch and Innovation Action (RIA)
StatusActive
Period2021 - 2024
Partners13
Budget€6.25m
LinksWebsite, Cordis, CBE-JU
PERFECOAT aims to develop paint and coating formulations with more than 25% biobased content with these divided into polysaccharides, lipids, and pigments. The project addresses three important markets for coatings: (i) high-volume, UV-curable clear coatings; (ii) waterborne trim paints for DIY; and (iii) waterborne wall paints.

The project is linking the industrial biotechnology sector to the paint and coating sector, as the biobased products developed in the project are microbially or biomass derived and modified using microbially derived enzymes. The project integrates chemical approaches with biochemical approaches to achieve the final superior quality product. The polysaccharides are both chemically and enzymatically modified separately or sequentially to obtain unique functionalities.

Celignis is involved in extracting xylan and chitin from terrestrial and aquatic biomass respectively and modifying them chemically and enzymatically to produce water based and UV-curable coatings. The modification involves: hydrolysing to obtain desired molecular weight polysaccharides; grafting chemical groups (chemical and enzymatic means) on to xylan, chitosan, and alginate to produce UV-curable binders; and grafting chemical groups to convert water soluble polysaccharides to water resistant forms.

Get more info...PERFECOAT



"UNique Refinery Approach to Valorise European Lignocellulosics"




ProgrammeCBE-JU, Horizon Europe, BBI.2017.R2
CategoryResearch and Innovation Action (RIA)
StatusActive
Period2018 - 2022
Partners13
Budget€3.72m
LinksWebsite, Cordis, CBE-JU, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook
The UNRAVEL project (UNique Refinery Approach to Valorise European Lignocellulosics) is funded with 3.6 million euros by the Biomass Based Industries Joint Undertaking and runs from June 2018 until May 2022.

The project addresses topic 2017.R2 of the 2017 BBI Work Programme - "Innovative technologies for the pre-treatment and serparation of lignocellulosic feedstock and complex composition streams into valuable fractions while maintaining key characteristics".

It focuses on the demonstration, at pilot-scale, of the FABIOLA pretreatment process for the production of (fine) chemicals, fuels and high-value lignin applications through an economically-feasible biorefinery concept for lignocellulosic biomass conversion.

Celignis is leader of Work Package 2 which concerns the detailed analysis of selected feedstocks, with a particular focus on extractives composition, and the optimisation of a pre-extraction process that could improve the yields and product qualities in subsequent pre-treatment. Studies showed that this pre-extraction is particularly effective in increasing the homogeneity of the feedstock composition and the purity of biorefinery products.

Celignis also worked on finding key chemicals within the extractives that may warrant separation and recovery and consider appropriate means for doing this. Our work will also involve developing a suite of NIR models for key inputs, intermediates, and outputs of the process.

Get more info...UNRAVEL



"Sequential Temperature-phased Enhanced Anaerobic digestion using Microbes and Enzymes"




ProgrammeOther
StatusActive
Period2019 - 2022
Partners1
Budget€0.10m
STEAME is aimed at developing a cost-effective technology for the efficient conversion of farm-animal waste and surplus grass silage to biogas. Key innovations are developed in the areas of: pre-treatment; thermophilic semi-dry anaerobic digestion; and microbial and enzyme applications. These are expected to improve the economics of farm-based AD systems thorough increased biogas yields; avoidance of slurry storage; and production of stable class-A biosolids as a value-added product for agricultural land applications.

Get more info...STEAME



"Value Added Materials from Organic Waste Sugars"




ProgrammeCBE-JU, Horizon Europe, BBI.2018.SO2.D3
CategoryInnovation Action (IA)
StatusActive
Period2019 - 2023
Partners11
Budget€13.70m
LinksWebsite, Cordis, CBE-JU, Twitter
VAMOS is based on the Fiberight process for the valorisation of municipal solid waste to produce lactic acid. Celignis plays a key role in the project with regards to the analysis of the solid fractions at a number of stages in the process. Our initial work focuses on the development of rapid analysis models, using near infrared spectroscopy equipment located in our labs, that allow the composition of the material to be predicted based solely on the NIR spectra collected from it. This allows the analysis time to be reduced from weeks to seconds, an approach we have successfully demonstrated to date in other BBI projects (BIOrescue and UNRAVEL) at the RIA (up to TRL-5) level for both feedstocks and process outputs.

Excitingly, VAMOS gives Celignis the opportunity to demonstrate its NIR models at a higher TRL level (TRL-7). As part of this we will install similar NIR equipment within the demo plant (which is expected to be located in the UK) and set up customised software that will allow plant operators, with no technical expertise in NIR or chemometrics, to routinely analyse the inputs and outputs of the process.

Get more info...VAMOS



"Innovative Large-Scale Production of Affordable Clean Burning Solid Biofuel and Water in Southern Africa: Transforming Bush Encroachment from a Problem into a Secure and Sustainable Energy Source"




ProgrammeHorizon Europe, LC-GD-2-3-2020
CategoryInnovation Action (IA)
StatusActive
Period2021 - 2024
Partners15
Budget€11.73m
LinksWebsite, Cordis, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook
This project addresses the problems experienced with bush encroachment in a number of southern African countries by using this biomass as a feedstock for a steam torrefaction process, developed in SteamBio (an earlier EU-funded project). Their are two main outputs of this process, a solid material which has improved properties, with regards to its use as a clean-burning fuel, over the original biomass, and a liquid condensate containing volatile components removed from the biomass during torrefaction.

Celignis is an important analytical partner in the project, undertaking detailed compositional analyses of the feedstocks and process outputs as well as providing guidance and SOPs to the local partners for routine analyses (e.g. for proximate, ultimate, and calorific value analysis). Additionally, Celignis is the main partner responsible for the analysis of the liquid condensate fraction and for the evaluation of suitable applications and markets for it. This is expected to be a complex mixture of degradation products, particularly those coming from the extractives and hemciellulose fractions of the biomass. The profiling of this liquid stream will involve use of our extensive range of chromatography equipment, particularly our Agilent iFunnel 6550 QTOF-LC/MS device. Following this detailed analysis we will then consider which components within the liquid are of value and will consider applications for these (either in crude or refined forms) and will work on techniques for separation and purification.

Get more info...SteamBioAfrica



"Diversifying Revenue in Rural Africa through Circular, Sustainable and Replicable Bio-based Solutions and Business Models"




ProgrammeHorizon Europe, CE-SFS-36-2020
CategoryResearch and Innovation Action (RIA)
StatusActive
Period2021 - 2025
Partners25
Budget€9.00m
LinksWebsite, Cordis, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook
BIO4Africa focuses on the demonstration of sustainable, circular solutions and business models, suitable for African countries, based on the valorisation of a variety of local feedstocks.

Celignis is an important partner in the project, having a key role early-on with regards to the compositional analysis and evaluation of a wide variety of different local feedstocks. These data allowed decisions to be made with regards to which feedstocks were suitable for which technologies leading to a subset of feedstocks being selected for processing. The project's technologies include: pyrolysis (for biochar production); hydrothermal carbonisation; and a green-biorefinery (the GRASSA process).

After matching feedstocks with technology, samples will be sent to the European technology providers where initial tests will determine how these feedstocks behave. Following these trials arrangements will be made for the equipment to be shipped to Africa where the technologies will be deployed at a number of locations, processing locally-available biomass. Celignis will also play an important role in the project at these stages, being responsible for the analysis of the outputs (e.g. biochar, HTC char, press-cake, etc.) of the various technologies.

Get more info...BIO4Africa





Celignis Pitches for Involvement in Collaborative Research Projects


We believe that we can make valuable contributions to biomass and bioeconomy research and demonstration projects, based on our expertise in:

Extraction of Hemicellulose Polysaccharides

To date much of the innovations related to the valorisation of lignocellulosic feedstocks has focused on the cellulose and lignin fractions. In most technologies hemicellulose is broken down in the process to either monomeric sugars (e.g. xylose) or their derivatives (e.g. furfural). However, hemicelluloses, when retained in the polymeric form, can have outstanding physical and chemical properties which make them suitable for incorporation in an array of consumer products, replacing less-sustainable product components and so allowing for greener market options for the consumer.

Celignis is the technical lead in the €6m Horizon Europe project EnXylaScope which focuses on the efficient extraction of xylan, the most abundant hemicellulose polysaccharide, and its subsequent modification to confer properties that make it suitable as an ingredient in a scope of consumer products. In the CBE/BBI project PERFECOAT Celignis is also working on extraction of xylan, from different feedstocks, so that it can ultimately be used as a binder in paints and coatings. We consider that integrating efficient methods for extracting hemicellulose polymers within the wider biorefinery process scheme will allow for higher-value products and a more sustainable and profitable process.

Our expertise in hemicellulose extraction is therefore relevant to a number of topics within the CBE-JU 2022 Work Programme, in particular JU-CBE-2022-R-01 (High performance bio-based polymers for market applications with stringent requirements) and JU-CBE-2022-R-05 (Sustainable fibres biorefineries feedstock).

Related Projects


Modification of Polysaccharides

An efficient extraction process is only one component in developing value-added products from polysaccharides. In many cases further treatment of the polymer is required in order to confer the physical and chemical properties that are required for the desired application/market. Such properties that can be influences with these modifications include the the rheology and water-resistance of the polymers.

At Celignis we also have extensive experience in such modifications using both enzymatic and chemical approaches. For example, in the Horizon Europe project EnXylaScope we are active in the discovery and application of enzymes for the debranching of xylan and for its subsequent modification for additional functionalities. In the CBE/BBI project PERFECOAT the focus is on the chemical modification of xylan in order to enhance its properties for application as a binder in paints and coatings.

In PERFECOAT we are also working on the extraction and modification of chitosan, from prawn shells, whilst we have also internally worked on processes focused on the extraction and modification of pectin. Additionally, as outlined in the video below, we have developed processes for the modification of seaweed-derived alginate to confer the desired physicochemical properties

The ability to selectively and cost-effectively modify polymers is a key component of many topics in the CBE-JU 2022 Work Programme, in particular JU-CBE-2022-R-01 (High performance bio-based polymers for market applications with stringent requirements) and JU-CBE-2022-R-02 (Bio-based coatings, barriers, binders, and adhesives).

Related Projects


Identification, Extraction, and Purification of High Value Chemicals in Biomass

The CBE-JU recognises that biomass valorisation can involve much more than the processing of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. Non-structural components of the plant can also be of value, in some cases being worth thousands of Euros per kilogramme. There are numerous examples of such high value constituents, with the most prominent recent example being the extraction, isolation, and purification of cannabinoids (in particular CBD and CBG) from hemp, which has developed into a multi-billion Euro industry.

At Celignis, we can play important roles at all stages in the valorisation of such compounds, starting from their identification and ending in their purification and the testing and modification of their functional and chemical properties. For identification, we firstly get a crude extract from the feedstock, obtained via various approaches, including pressurised liquid extraction. This extract is then profiled using our top-range QTOF-LC/MS system (Agilent iFunnel 6550), which can identify constituents to the femtogram-level, and the spectra and chromatograms reviewed by Sajna, our Bioanalysis Developer. If necessary, we can collect the relevant fractions from the LC system and confirm the identification using a number of different chemical and spectroscopic techniques. We then determine which constituents warrant extraction and then work on optimising a targeted extraction method. This method considers not only the yield of the target compound(s) but also the chemical and energy costs of the process and the implications for the downstream processing and valorisation of the solid residue, evaluated by Oscar, our technoeconomics analysis (TEA) expert. We subsequently work on the isolation and purification of the targeted compound(s) from this extract, again considering the commercial and scale-up implications.

Celignis undertook such an approach in the CBE/BBI project UNRAVEL where the extractives of 25 feedstocks were profiled using QTOF-LC/MS. We identified betulin in birch bark as the most attractive compound and subsequently worked on developing an optimised extraction protocol and an isolation/purification process scheme that offered several advantages, in terms of sustainability and safety, over the current art. Click here for a news article on this work. We are also using employing our compositional analysis and purification expertise in the Horizon Europe project SteamBioAfrica where we evaluate and process the liquid condensate obtained from the steam torrefaction process and consider market applications for its constituents, fractions, and derivatives.

Our high-value-chemicals expertise is of particular value for improving the competitiveness of a biorefinery process, through employing the principle of the cascading use of biomass. For example, a relatively minor component of biomass can substantially improve the financial viability of a technology if it can be sold at a high price. As a result, such an approach can make important contributions to a number of the 2022 topics, such as: JU-CBE-2022-R-05 (Sustainable fibres biorefineries feedstock), JU-CBE-2022-IA-04 (Co-processing of mixed bio-based waste streams), JU-CBE-2022-IA-02 (Cooperative business models for sustainable mobilisation And valorisation of agricultural residues, by-products, and waste in rural areas), and JU-CBE-2022-IAFlag-01 (Maximum valorisation of sustainably sourced bio-based feedstock in multi-product, zero-waste, zero-pollution biorefinery).

Related Projects


Real-Time Analysis of Feedstocks and Process Outputs

We have extensive expertise in the development of algorithms and models for rapidly predicting the composition of samples using their near infrared spectra. This allows the time for analysis (for detailed lignocellulosic compositional paramaters) to be reduced from weeks to seconds. To date we have over 10,000 biomass samples in our proprietary models for lignocellulosic composition and we have also developed custom models for feedstocks and pretreatment/bioprocess outputs in the CBE-JU/BBI-JU RIA projects BIOrescue and UNRAVEL. In BIOrescue we developed custom software, employing a browser interface for the user, that allowed us to tailor the model-generation and composition-prediction experience to the requirements of our lab personnel and in-house chemometricians. This software also employed advanced chemometric techniques that we proved, in project deliverables, to deliver improved accuracies in prediction over the conventional PLS approaches.

This software is constantly being improved and, in the ongoing CBE-JU/BBI-JU Innovation Action (TRL7) project VAMOS we are deploying an upgraded version of it at the demo-scale biorefinery being built and operated by project partner Fiberight. This has allowed us to extend the reach of our predictive models beyond our own laboratories and into the global biorefinery landscape. We see many opportunities, within the current CBE-JU topics, to apply and refine this at-line analysis system to other IA (demo) projects as well as for Flagship projects. In addition, we also plan for the deployment of in-line analyses, using Celignis-developed models, using the latest state-of-the-art and cost-effective hardware on the market.

While there are numerous options currently on the market for NIR hardware, there is no robust solution currently available for the at-line/in-line analysis of lignocellulosic feedstocks and process outputs/residues. This is due to the complexity of such analysis, the difficulties often faced in getting precise and representative data, abd the widely varying outputs of different biomass processing technologies. At Celignis, however, we have years of expertise in getting precise lignocellulosic data and in using these data as inputs to our chemometric tools. As a result Celignis provides full vertical integration regarding advancing the art in rapid biomass analysis and the utilisation of biorefinery data.

Our abilities to develop on-site rapid analysis solutions are applicable to many of the Innovation Action and Flagship topics of the 2022 CBE-JU Work Programme, including: JU-CBE-2022-IA-04 (Co-processing of mixed bio-based waste streams), JU-CBE-2022-IA-02 (Cooperative business models for sustainable mobilisation And valorisation of agricultural residues, by-products, and waste in rural areas), JU-CBE-2022-IA-03 (Cost-effective production routes towards bio-based alternatives to fossil-based chemical building blocks), JU-CBE-2022-IAFlag-01 (Maximum valorisation of sustainably sourced bio-based feedstock in multi-product, zero-waste, zero-pollution biorefinery), and JU-CBE-2022-IAFlag-02 (Alternative sources for high added value food and/or feed ingredients).

Related Projects




Compositional Analysis

As detailed throughout this website, the Celignis team are highly experienced in a wide array of methods for the compositional analysis of biomass and process intermediates and outputs/residues for lignocellulosic and thermal properties. Our expertise also extends to seaweed, algae, and a large variety of functional molecules many of which have large future potential in substituting for the use of fossil fuels in the production of consumer and industrial products.

We have an wide array of equipment that allow us to obtain the required compositional data, including an extensive chromatography laboratory that includes state-of-the-art equipment, such as our QTOF-LC/MS system.

Our in depth understanding of the steps involved in the processing of biomass also allow us to bring forward suggestions to other partners in the consortium, based on the analytical data we obtain, on how the project's technologies can be improved.

Our expertise in compositional analysis, and in the understanding and process implications of compositional data, is relevant to all of the topics of the 2022 CBE-JU Work Programme.

Related Projects


Fermentation Optimisation

Microbial conversion of sugars to chemicals and fuels is considered advantageous over chemical processes, but is a challenging area due to the high number of variables involved in the process. Fermentation process development involves: selection of microbes to produce the desired product, screening of microbes, media engineering, process optimisation, scale-up, downstream designing, etc. Screening and optimisation involve hundreds of runs which is labour and time intensive. Know-how in the area of microbiology, bioprocess engineering and design of experiments (DOE) can significantly reduce the number of experimental runs and time involved in the preliminary screening and optimisation process.

With our CIO Lalitha, our CTO Kemal, and our Bioanalysis Developer Sajna we have the expertise and knowledge to optimise fermentation processes for high yield and productivity in short-time. Our personnel have proven scientific record in producing enzymes, biofuels, biosurfactants, exopolysaccharides and prebiotics through aerobic and anaerobic fermentation processes.

Celignis also has numerous bioreactors, ranging from 1 litre to 100 litres capacity, that allow us to undertake an extensive DoE approach in optimising fermentations.

Our expertise in fermentation is particularly relevant to the following topics of the 2022 CBE-JU Work Programme: JU-CBE-2022-IA-04 (Co-processing of mixed bio-based waste streams), JU-CBE-2022-IA-02 (Cooperative business models for sustainable mobilisation And valorisation of agricultural residues, by-products, and waste in rural areas), JU-CBE-2022-IA-03 (Cost-effective production routes towards bio-based alternatives to fossil-based chemical building blocks), JU-CBE-2022-R-04 (Proteins from alternative and unconventional sources), JU-CBE-2022-IAFlag-01 (Maximum valorisation of sustainably sourced bio-based feedstock in multi-product, zero-waste, zero-pollution biorefinery), and JU-CBE-2022-IA-01 (Biogenic carbon capture and use (CCU) For circular bio-based products).

Related Publications


Discovery and Use of Enzymes

Our team has years of experience in discovery and use of enzymes for deconstruction of lignocellulosic biomass and, with Celignis participation in EU projects like EnXylaScope, this experience is expanded to enzymes useful for modification of the xylan fraction of lignocellulosic biomass.

The discovery of enzymes needs rapid analysis methods and, by understanding the action of enzymes and the changes that occur in the substrate, the Celignis team can develop simple high-throughput screening methods for the discovery of enzymes. This is currently being undertaking in EnXylaScope for xylan side-chain acting enzymes.

Celignis is also discovering enzymes and designing enzyme cocktails for lignocellulose deconstruction aiming at production of monomeric and oligomeric sugars and for generating clean lignin for lignin valorisation purposes. We are also isolating the microbes that have the ability to produce a cocktail of enzymes for increasing the productivity and yields of biogas from complex recalcitrant streams such as late cut grass, wheat straw and garden waste.

Celignis follows traditional methods in enzyme screening allowing the isolation of natural enzyme producers which means that enzyme cocktails developed by Celignis are non-recombinant in nature. The enzymes discovered are studied for various characteristics such as nature of protein (Molecular weight, hydrophobicity); kinetics (reaction and inhibition); optimum reaction conditions etc. Celignis has a collection of close to 100 strains capable of producing a range of enzymes that act on a variety of substrates.

Our expertise in enzymes is particularly relevant to the following topics of the 2022 CBE-JU Work Programme: JU-CBE-2022-R-01 (High performance bio-based polymers for market applications with stringent requirements), JU-CBE-2022-R-02 (Bio-based coatings, barriers, binders, and adhesives), JU-CBE-2022-R-05 (Sustainable fibres biorefineries feedstock), JU-CBE-2022-R-03 (Circular by-design bio-based materials to improve the circularity of complex structures), and JU-CBE-2022-IA-04 (Co-processing of mixed bio-based waste streams).


Related Projects


Scale-up and Scale-Down Modelling

The Celignis Bioprocess Framework is a hybrid innovative modelling framework that utilizes data-driven models and empiric data collection for bioprocess monitoring, parameter estimation, optimization, and scale-up.

Effectively implemented optimisations of industrial bioprocesses can lead to massive improvements in process yields, productivity, and sustainability. These often lead to significant advances in the competitiveness and profitability of the companies that implement them. However, each bioprocess is unique, which presents challenges to be overcome and requires unique scale-up efforts.

Celignis utilizes multiple tools to scale-up, including computational fluid dynamics scale-down modelling. As Celignis's robust instrumentation acquires info, the superior hybrid models are built for scale-down operations. Potential failures are removed prior to scaling up with this approach. Modified scale up models are evaluated with several fermentation experiments in Celignis's bioprocess upstream and downstream establishment which includes several systems on various scales, from benchtop to pilot-scale.

Such an approach allows for improved levels of performance across bioprocess systems to maintain product titres, higher yields, and productivity in large-scale bioprocess operations.

Our scale-up/scale-down modeling expertise is particularly relevant to the following topics of the 2022 CBE-JU Work Programme: JU-CBE-2022-R-01 (High performance bio-based polymers for market applications with stringent requirements), JU-CBE-2022-R-02 (Bio-based coatings, barriers, binders, and adhesives), JU-CBE-2022-IA-04 (Co-processing of mixed bio-based waste streams), and JU-CBE-2022-R-04 (Proteins from alternative and unconventional sources).



Process Flow Diagrams and Techno-Economic Analysis of the Process

Bioprocesses are complicated, with several upstream and downstream process unit operations to achieve the final product. Celignis's process engineering team has several years of expertise in performing techno-economic analyses (TEA) for the conversion of biomass to biofuels and chemicals. Celignis performs techno-economic analysis from the process concept design and uses it for economic optimisation of the process together with the yield optimisation. This process is done iteratively during the course of the project to achieve the process optimised for conversion efficiencies and economics. Our process engineers develop TEAs for multiple scenarios of the same process and perform sensitivity analyses to identify the major contributors of the operation's cost to allow development of economically-viable processes without sacrificing the process yields.

Celignis is developing PFDs and performing TEA for the Horizon Europe project EnXylaScope, where the analysis is being performed for enzyme production, extraction of xylans, and use of enzymes for the modification of xylans.

Our TEA expertise is relevant to all RIA and Innovation Action topics in the 2022 CBE-JU Work Programme.
Related Projects


Biomass Pretreatment and Fractionation

Based on our bioprocessing and compositional expertise, we have a very good understanding of how to optimise biomass pretreatment processes. For our clients we have analysed hundreds of samples of outputs from biomass pretreatment processes. We have a very strong understanding of the chemistry of biomass and how to evaluate the conversion and valorisation of the main constituents of lignocellulosic biomass (cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin). We target mass-closure in our analysis so that the full mechanisms of conversion can be understood and we have a suite of analytical methods to characterise process liquids for monomers, oligomers, sugar degradation products, and fermentability. Our CBE project UNRAVEL concerns the development of a pretreatment process and Celignis plays a key role in the project regarding the analysis of the products of pre-treatment and by investigating the influence of extractives in biomass pretreatment. In our completed BBI project BIOrescue we also analysed the solid and liquid outputs of biomass pretreatment and developed rapid analysis models for them using near infrared spectroscopy.

Our pre-treatment/fractionation expertise is particularly relevant to the following topics of the 2022 CBE-JU Work Programme: JU-CBE-2022-R-01 (High performance bio-based polymers for market applications with stringent requirements), JU-CBE-2022-R-02 (Bio-based coatings, barriers, binders, and adhesives), and JU-CBE-2022-R-05 (Sustainable fibres biorefineries feedstock).

Related Projects




Anaerobic Digestion and Fermentation

We have years of experience in various types of anaerobic fermentation and anaerobic digestion for the production of chemicals and fuels. The team has knowledge and experience in isolation and handling of Clostridial strains and clostridial fermentations for the production of hydrogen, organic acids and solvents. Celignis's CIO Lalitha Gottumukkala has published several articles in the area of Clostridial fermentation, especially for biobutanol. Celignis’s AD expert Kwame has optimised the process for sequential production of bioethanol and biogas from paper sludge as part of his Process Engineering Research Masters in Stellenbosch University, South Africa and has published articles on the same.

Celignis is using this expertise in the development of an advanced anaerobic digestion process design (STEAME) that allows high volumetric productivity and yields. This is being done as part of a nationally-funded project (Irish Research Council). In this process, the thermophilic nature of archaea is taken advantage of together with the ability of Clostridia to digest complex feedstocks. In STEAME Celignis is using expertise in biomass pretreatment together with microbial and enzyme expertise to enhance the anaerobic digestion of late cut grass, wheat straw and other complex-recalcitrant agricultural residues.

Celignis also provides services for biomethane potential (BMP) determination; anaerobic toxicity assays; specific hydrolytic, acidogenic and methanogenic potential using its 90 1L anaerobic digestion reactors. Celignis has also the reactor set-up for continuous anaerobic digestion and sequential continuous anaerobic digestion that allows two stage and multi-stage digestion. Additionally, the Celignis team also has strong expertise in the valorisation and treatment of food industry effluent streams and is providing consultancy for three years for the operation of high-rate digesters that process 60 m3/h of dairy industry waste streams. This expertise is of particular value in EU projects where zero-pollution is the process target.

Our AD experience is particularly relevant to the following topics of the 2022 CBE-JU Work Programme: JU-CBE-2022-IA-04 (Co-processing of mixed bio-based waste streams), JU-CBE-2022-IA-02 (Cooperative business models for sustainable mobilisation And valorisation of agricultural residues, by-products, and waste in rural areas), JU-CBE-2022-IAFlag-01 (Maximum valorisation of sustainably sourced bio-based feedstock in multi-product, zero-waste, zero-pollution biorefinery), JU-CBE-2022-R-04 (Proteins from alternative and unconventional sources), and JU-CBE-2022-IAFlag-02 (Alternative sources for high added value food and/or feed ingredients).

Related Projects




Successful Proposal Writing and Proposal Evaluation

Dan Hayes wrote the €3.7m, 14 partner, EU project DIBANET from which Celignis spun-out of whilst, more recently, Lalitha Gottumukkala wrote the €6m, 13 partner, Horizon Europe project EnXylaScope, which started in 2021. Celignis personnel have also been successful as the primary authors of proposals for the EU's INNOSUP and Marie-Curie programmes, as well as for a number of nationally funded projects (e.g. the STEAME project).

In addition, both Lalitha and Dan have, for a number of years, been Expert Evaluators for proposals submitted to the BBI-JU (the precursor to the CBE-JU). As a result we have a good understanding of what makes a good proposal and what will improve the chances of a project being funded, hence we can give valued advice to proposal coordinators regarding the direction and focus of a proposal.

Successful EU Proposals Primarily Written By Celignis Personnel






Click here to see our pitches for specific roles in some of the 2022 topics of the CBE-JU Work Programme.



Go Back to Research Projects page.

Celignis News Artcles on Our Research Projects

June 22nd 2022

CBE-JU Call Opens - See our Pitches for Proposals


We detail the important contributions that Celignis can make in the 2022 topics

Today the Circular Bio-based Europe Joint Undertaking (CBE-JU) released their annual work programme and budget for 2022. There is an indicative budget of 120 million Euros which will fund a total of 12 topics, comprising 5 Research and Innovation Actions (RIAs), 1 Coordinating and Supporting Action (CSA), 4 Demonstration-Scale projects, and 2 Flagships.

Celignis is a partner in 3 ongoing CBE projects: UNRAVEL and PERFECOAT are RIA (Research and Innovation Action) projects, whilst VAMOS is an Innovation Action project. Additionally, Celignis was a partner in the BIOrescue RIA project which was completed in 2019. Click here to read more about our involvements in these projects. They were funded as part of the Biomass Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI-JU) programme. The BBI-JU was the precursor to the CBE-JU for which 2022 will be the first year of operation.

We believe that we can make valuable contributions to projects covering a large number of the topics in the 2022 CBE work programme. These contributions are summarised here and there are also individual Celignis webpages for each of the call topics.

If you are preparing a CBE proposal this year and would like to engage with the Celignis team during the proposal preparation period then feel free to contact us and we will be happy to discuss in more detail how we can potentially contribute to the proposal and consortium. Celignis's Lalitha and Dan have years of experience putting together and writing proposals for EU funding and have also both worked as Expert Evaluators for the BBI-JU and so are very familiar with what is required for an excellent proposal and improved chances of being funded.

Celignis's BBI/CBE Projects


April 27th 2022

Intro Video to EnXylaScope Launched


It explains the background to the project and its targets for xylan extraction and modification

An introductory video to the EnXylaScope project (funded by Horizon Europe and technically led by Celignis) has been released. It has been prepared by our fellow consortium partner Loba and details the rationale for the project and the technical advances that the project will make, leading to an efficient and commercially-viable process for the extraction of xylan and its modification so that it can be incorporated into a range of consumer products.

Click here to learn more about the project and Celignis's central contributions to it and here to view the video on YouTube.

December 10th 2021

Lalitha Presenting the EnXylaScope Project at CLIB Forum Event


There will also be presentations from the other projects funded in EnXylaScope's call

EnXylaScope is one of four research projects that were funded in the Horizon 2020 call FNR-16-2020 (Enzymes for more environment-friendly consumer products). Today a remote networking event is being held (CLIB HiPerln 2.0 Forum - Catalysing Alliances for Greener Products) at which representatives from each of the projects will present and discuss opportunities for collaboration. Celignis's Lalitha will be representing the EnXylaScope project and is looking forward to discussing the exciting opportunities for enzyme development and xylan valorisation offered by the project. Click here to read more about the event and to register.

September 14th 2021

ALGALVANISE - Astaxanthin Extracted from Microalgae!


High value constituent successfully extracted

Below is included an image of the solvent extract, containing the valuable pigment astaxanthin, obtained from microalgae that has been cultured and grown in our ALGALVANISE project. This output demonstrates successful achievement of a primary objective of Lalitha's project, that high value compounds can be obtained from algae that utilise waste streams from the anaerobic digestion sector as a nutrient and growth source.

September 1st 2021

Offical Start of the SteamBioAfrica Project


This project will use encroaching invasive bush species in southern Africa as feedstocks for the production of sustainable fuel

Today represents Day 1 of the SteamBioAfrica project. It is an €11.7m, four-year, Innovation Action project funded by the EU's Horizon Europe programme. The tagline of the project is "Innovative Large-Scale Production of Affordable Clean Burning Solid Biofuel and Water in Southern Africa: Transforming Bush Encroachment from a Problem into a Secure and Sustainable Energy Source".

The project will address the problems experienced with bush encroachment in a number of southern African countries by using this biomass as a feedstock for a steam torrefaction process, developed in SteamBio (an earlier EU-funded project). Their are two main outputs of this process, a solid material which has improved properties, with regards to its use as a clean-burning fuel, over the original biomass, and a liquid condensate containing volatile components removed from the biomass during torrefaction.

Celignis will be an important analytical partner in the project, undertaking detailed compositional analyses of the feedstocks and process outputs as well as providing guidance and SOPs to the local partners for routine analyses (e.g. for proximate, ultimate, and calorific value analysis). Additionally, Celignis is the main partner responsible for the analysis of the liquid condensate fraction and for the evaluation of suitable applications and markets for it. This is expected to be a complex mixture of degradation products, particularly those coming from the extractives and hemciellulose fractions of the biomass. The profiling of this liquid stream will involve use of our extensive range of chromatography equipment, particularly our Agilent iFunnel 6550 QTOF-LC/MS device. Following this detailed analysis we will then consider which components within the liquid are of value and will consider applications for these (either in crude or refined forms) and will work on techniques for separation and purification. This aspect will follow a similar approach to our work in the UNRAVEL project (funded by the BBI-JU programme of Horizon 2020) where we identified betulin in birch bark as a high value chemical that warranted extraction and purification and then worked on developing a commercially-relevant approach to enable this.

Click here to read more about the SteamBioAfrica project and our involvement in it.

June 19th 2021

ALGALVANISE - Algae Flocculation with Chitosan


We are pleased to report that we have succesfully achieved another project target!

The image below shows the successful flocculation of algae by using chitosan. This was one of the key objectives of the ALGALVANISE project that involve's Celignis's Lalitha.

Traditionally, algal harvesting costs can comprise around 30% of the total operating costs of lage plants, hence reducing these will have a major positive effect on algal cultivation economics. Modern separators use 0.4 kWh/m3, a high energy requirement given average algal biomass concentration is only 1g/L. For separation to give a positive energy balance the energy required for harvesting needs to be reduced to 0.1 kWh/m3. ALGALVANISE targets such a low energy system through the use of coagulation/flocculation methods with the use of chitosan being one of these approaches.

Further work will be undertaken to optimise the process in order to find the minimum chitosan dosage to enhance bacterial flocculation in terms of yield and quality of the biomass without using any alkali agents.

June 1st 2021

BIO4Africa Project Officially Starts


The project focuses on the deployment of several biomass processing technologies in a number of African countries

Today marks the first official day of the BIO4Africa project. It is a four-year €9m RIA (Research and Innovation Action) project, funded by the EU's Horizon Europe programme involving 25 partners from the EU and Africa. It focuses on the demonstration of sustainable, circular solutions and business models, suitable for African countries, based on the valorisation of a variety of local feedstocks.

Celignis is an important partner in the project, having a key role early-on with regards to the compositional analysis and evaluation of a wide variety of different local feedstocks. These data will allow decisions to be made with regards to which feedstocks are suitable for which technologies leading to a subset of feedstocks being selected for processing. The technologies that will be deployed in the project include: pyrolysis (for the production of biochar); hydrothermal carbonisation; and a green-biorefinery (the GRASSA process, which has previously been demonstrated in Ireland in the Biorefinery Glas project).

After the most appropriate feedstocks have been selected for each technology, samples will be sent to the European technology providers where initial tests will be undertaken in order to understand how these feedstocks behave, allowing for fine-tuning and process modifications to improve process efficiencies for each feedstock. Following these trials arrangements will be made for the equipment to be shipped to Africa where the technologies will be deployed at a number of locations, processing locally-available biomass. Celignis will also play an important role in the project at these stages, being responsible for the analysis of the outputs (e.g. biochar, HTC char, press-cake, etc.) of the various technologies.

Click here to read more about the project and Celignis's involvement in it.

May 18th 2021

Kick-Off Meeting for the EnXylaScope Project


Celignis is the Technical Coordinator of this Horizon Europe project

Today we were happy to take part in the kick-off meeting for our EnXylaScope project. There were fruitful discussions between the project's partners on the work to be undertaken in the various work packages and on how the scientific and technical progress will be guided by the clear commercial opportunities presented by xylan as a polymer and the range of markets for which it can be an important component in consumer products. The discovery and application of novel enzymes to facilitate this is a key component of the proejct.

Click here to read more about the project and the important contributions that Celignis is making towards it.

April 29th 2021

Success for Celignis at the Irish Lab Awards 2021


We won in the “Innovation of the Year” and the “Laboratory Staff Member of the Year” categories

We are happy to announce that Celignis received two awards in the 2021 Irish Lab Awards. These awards are detailed below:

Innovation of the Year Award - for our technological developments for polysaccharide extraction and modification and our advances in the provision of Bioprocess Development Services for clients.

Laboratory Staff Member of the Year Award - For Laitha, our Chief Innovation Officer, recognising the massive constributions she has made to the company in the last year in terms of innovations, enhanced services to our clients, and business development.

Click here to see the list of finalists and awardees in each category.

September 28th 2020

ALGALVANISE - Filamentous Microalgae Isolated


Check out a video of our algae strain isolated in the project

Below is a short video of the microscope-view (10X) of a filamentous microalgae strain that we have isolated as part of the ALGALVANISE project involving Celignis's Lalitha.

April 1st 2020

Kick-off of ALGALVANISE PROJECT


We are happy to announe the start of our innovative new Marie-Curie Project

ALGALVANISE is an exciting new project, funded by the European Union's Marie-Curie programme, involving Celignis's Lalitha. It will advance the state of- the art by developing two novel concepts:

1) enzyme-assisted enhanced algal cultivation; and
2) combinatorial bioflocculation using bacteria and biopolymers.

These two processes are targeted towards efficient nutrient recovery by algae from the digestate produced by anaerobic digestors and harvesting high-quality algal biomass to produce high-value functional ingredients.

We will update you, over the coming months and years, regarding the progress of this exciting project.
December 4th 2019

Celignis Personnel Representing UNRAVEL Project at BBI-JU Stakeholder Forum


Come join us at the project's exhibition stand at this Brussels event

Celignis's Lalitha and Dan are, together with Andre Zomeren (from coordinator TNO), today representing the BBI project UNRAVEL at the BBI JU Stakeholder Forum 2019 being held at the Egg Congress and Meeting Center in Brussels. This event provides BBI projects' partners the opportunity to meet each other, and the wider public, to facilitate collaboration opportunities and commercial progress of the technologies being developed.

We are happy to discuss with you the advances made by partner TNO on the project's FABIOLA pretreatment/fractionation progress and by Celignis on the characterisation and removal of extractives, targeting recovery and purification of an identified high value component, and on the rapid analysis models developed by Celignis for the inputs and outputs of the process. We will also be happy to discuss the important work in the project being done by other partners.

We are located at Stand 5C so come say hello!

Click here to read more about the UNRAVEL project.

October 16th 2019

Celignis Demonstration at BBI Project ICT-Biochain Event


We welcomed visitors to our labs for a demonstration of the technical ICT innovations for biomass developed at Celignis

ICT-BIOCHAIN is a BBI-JU (Horizon 2020) project that targets the identification of opportunities for ICT to increase the efficiency of biomass supply chains for the bio-based industry.

On the 16th of October, as part of Bioeconomy Ireland Week 2019 the project's Irish partners hosted a Knowledge Transfer Demonstration Day where companies with novel ICT, IoT and Industry 4.0 solutions for the bio-based sector demonstrated their technologies in a real operating environment.

Celignis was one of those demonstrating companies and we welcomed visitors to our labs where we provided a demonstration of our Near-Infrared Spectroscopy rapid biomass analysis models, using proprietary software, as well as our provision of biomethane potential (BMP) data for the anaerobic digestion sector.

Click here to read more about the event.

September 1st 2019

BBI-JU Project VAMOS Officially Starts


This Innovation Action project will involve the construction and operation of a TRL7 biorefinery in the UK, based on the Fiberight process and using Celignis's rapid analysis models for process control

Today marks the first day of the BBI-JU project VAMOS. It is a €13.7m Innovation Action (IA) project, funded as part of the EU's Horizon 2020 research programme, that involves 11 partners.

The project is based on the Fiberight process for the valorisation of municipal solid waste. In particular, VAMOS will focus on using the separated paper-waste fraction as a substrate for conversion to sugars which are then subsequently fermented to lactic acid.

The process involves a number of stages, including pretreatment, hydrolysis, and fermentation. At each stage there will be an input and a number of output streams. For example, the enzymatic hydrolysis process will produce a liquid fraction containing the hydrolysed sugars and a solid fraction containing the non-hydrolysed portion of the biomass.

Celignis plays a key role in the project with regards to the analysis of the solid fractions at a number of stages in the process. Our initial work focuses on the development of rapid analysis models, using near infrared spectroscopy equipment located in our labs, that allow the composition of the material to be predicted based solely on the NIR spectra collected from it. This allows the analysis time to be reduced from weeks to seconds.

Developing these models requires that we first analyse, via standard chemical approaches, a wide variety of samples, covering the variability expected from the process. Once a suitably large dataset has been built then the first iterations of the models can be developed. This is an approach we have successfully demonstrated to date in other BBI projects (BIOrescue and UNRAVEL) at the RIA (up to TRL-5) level for both feedstocks and process outputs.

Excitingly, VAMOS gives Celignis the opportunity to demonstrate its NIR models at a higher TRL level (TRL-7). As part of this, later on in the project, once the demo-scale biorefinery has been built and is operational, we will install similar NIR equipment within the demo plant (which is expected to be located in the UK) and set up customised software that will allow plant operators, with no technical expertise in NIR or chemometrics, to routinely analyse the inputs and outputs of the process.

We will then work with plant operators over the course of a year, devleoping incremental improvements in the accuracy of the models and in the performance of the customised software. This work is expected to lead to the development of an integrated software package and commercial proposition for replicating this approach at other biorefineries, operating at demonstration or commercial scales.

Click here to read more about the project and Celignis's involvement in it.

May 28th 2019

We're Hosting a Review Meeting of H2020 Project ENABLING


The 2 day event will see all 16 partners of the ENABLING project discuss the progress to date.

This two-day event will see all 16 project partners discuss the progress made in the first 18 months of our Horizon 2020 project ENABLING and make plans for the activities to be undertaken in the second half of the project.

The focus of the project is on supporting the spreading of best practices and innovation in the provision (production, pre-processing) of biomass for the Bio-Based Industry (BBI).

Click here for more information on ENABLING.

February 28th 2019

Celignis Presentation at BIOrescue Networking Event


The event is being held at the Max-Planck Institute in Mainz, Germany

Today a workshop, entitled 'Building sustainable value chains for the bio-based industry', is being held at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany.

The event is being organised as part of our Biomass Based Industries Joint Undertaking project BIOrescue.

Click here to see the agenda for the workshop and here to register.

Dan's presentation can be downloaded here.

February 5th 2019

Celignis Hosting the Month 9 Review Meeting of BBI Project UNRAVEL


We are delighted to welcome the 9 other project partners to Limerick.

Over the next two days Celignis will be hosting the other 9 project partners of the Biomass Based Industries Joint Undertaking project UNRAVEL in Limerick for the month 9 review meeting.

UNRAVEL addresses topic 2017.R2 of the 2017 BBI Work Programme - "Innovative technologies for the pre-treatment and serparation of lignocellulosic feedstock and complex composition streams into valuable fractions while maintaining key characteristics".

Celignis is leader of Work Package 2 which concerns the detailed analysis of selected feedstocks, with a particular focus on extractives composition, and the optimisation of a pre-extraction process that could improve the yields and product qualities in subsequent pre-treatment. Intial studies have shown that this pre-extraction is particularly effective in increasing the homogeneity of the feedstock composition and the purity of biorefinery products.

Click here to read more about our involvement in UNRAVEL.



June 12th 2018

Our New BBI Project Kicks Off!


UNRAVEL partners met in The Netherlands to launch the project.

The headquarters of project partners ECN (now part of TNO) was the venue for the kick-off of new research project UNRAVEL. This project is funded by the Biomass Based Industries Joint Undertaking and will run from June 2018 until May 2022.

The project addresses topic 2017.R2 of the 2017 BBI Work Programme - "Innovative technologies for the pre-treatment and serparation of lignocellulosic feedstock and complex composition streams into valuable fractions while maintaining key characteristics". Celignis is leader of Work Package 2 which concerns the detailed analysis of selected feedstocks, with a particular focus on extractives composition, and the optimisation of a pre-extraction process that could improve the yields and product qualities in subsequent pre-treatment.

The kick-off meeting took place between June 12-13 in Petten, The Netherlands and involved all 10 project partners.

Click here for more information on the project and Celignis's involvement.

September 28th 2016

Kick-Off Meeting for BIOrescue Project


We are in Pamplona, Spain for the launch of our BBI Horizon 2020 project.

Our Director Daniel Hayes and biomass analyst Daniel Hickey are in Pamplona, Spain for the kick-off meeting of "BIOrescue" a collaborative research project funded by the European Union's Biomass Based Industries scheme.

We will be involved in project-related discussions with the 10 other BIOrescue partipant organisations at the Second Generation Biofuel Centre of CENER, the coordinator of the project.

Click here to see the press-release for this kick-off meeting.




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