Today marks the first day of the BBI-JU
. 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
) 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.
to read more about the project and Celignis's involvement in it.