BIO All: Biomass and CO2 valorisation to high value added chemicals
A biorefinery by-product gets circled back into the production of chemicals and fuels.
1 September 2021
31 August 2025
Grant agreement ID
Biomass includes lots of waste in addition to things purposefully grown to produce fuels and chemicals. The valorisation of this waste is a great way to support a circular economy, address growing energy challenges and mitigate global warming. This can be achieved in biorefineries, where formic acid is often one of the main by-products. Formic acid is gaining increasing attention as a sustainable hydrogen source and safe reagent for transformations of biomass-based feedstocks given its non-toxicity and biodegradability. The EU-funded BIOALL project is harnessing the benefits of formic acid to convert biomass and CO2 into high added-value chemicals and fuels.
The scientific objectives include the conversion of biomass and carbon dioxide to produce chemicals and fuels. The transformation of biomass molecules requires hydrogenation reactions, for that we will use as hydrogen source a subproduct of biorefinery processes, formic acid, to transform biomass derivative molecules that can be used as building block to produce high added value chemicals. By doing so, we avoid the use of hydrogen from fossil fuels. In addition, we also aim at obtaining cost-effective catalysts for carbon dioxide methanation. During this project we will study the reaction mechanisms using in situ and operando spectroscopy as well as theoretical modelling of surfaces. This will allow to optimize the catalyst synthesis, processes and expand the knowledge in this area to be useful for related transformations. Also, the life cycle assessment of these processes will be evaluated.
WP1. Biomass valorisation.
This WP is designed to obtain catalysts for succinic acid and furfural hydrogenation using formic acid as H2 source in one single unit. To optimize the synthesis conditions, we will use in situ and ex situ characterization techniques. The results will be completed with theoretical modelling performed at PUC as well as tests with real feedstock provided by REC will be performed.
WP2. Carbon capture and CO2 valorization.
This WP includes the catalysts synthesis by physical vapour deposition which will be performed at ITM and the microfluidic feeding system will be optimised by ELV. Catalysts will be also in situ and ex situ characterized during secondments of ITM and BFU. For structure-reactivity relationships, in situ-TEM spectrometer for gas-phase will be used to follow formation of nanoparticles as well as changes upon adding CO2. Similar experiments will be performed with the NAP-XPS to analyse valence changes of exposed metal ions. Operando EPR will be performed to analyse the fate of possible paramagnetic species. In situ-FTIR and operando DRIFTS will be used to identify surface intermediates. Development and testing of materials for carbon capture coupled to CO2 conversion will be developed at BFU during secondments and the results will be combined with the study by theoretical modelling performed at PUC. In a further step, CO2 capture combined with its conversion will be developed at BFU.
WP3. Process intensification.
This WP aims at semi large-scale synthesis of the catalysts at UoS during secondments of ITM and PUC. This will be done using the Optimax batch that allows control of T, pH, etc and is fully automatized. Microchannel reactors will be also developed using the expertise of UoS and ELV on microfluidics. The materials will be deeply characterised at LIKAT to assess for the properties and optimise the synthesis.
WP4. LCA and LCC.
An integral part of BIOALL will be the adoption of life-cycle methodologies to assess the roll-out of bio-based products and CO2 valorisation. GreenDelta will conduct an environmental evaluation that will examine the entire value chain in a circular economy model, including challenges from upstream and downstream. This will be complemented by a techno-economic assessment and by a social impact assessment. The analysis of selected case studies chosen in collaboration of REC will assure an optimal approach which will allow comparison with non-biobased products.
Hello! I am Claudio a PhD student in the laboratory of catalytic materials of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. My research aims to use metallic carbides to transform biomass compounds into valuable chemicals and fuels.
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Instituto de Catálisis
y Petroleoquímica, CSIC
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c/ Marie Curie, 2
28049 Madrid (España)