Prometheus

Assessment of Microbial Protein Sources for Food and Feed

The goal of Prometheus, an intercluster project in collaboration with Flanders’ FOOD, is to deliver the proof-of-concept that microbial protein-rich biomass and by-products from citric acid production are fit for use as high-quality proteins in feed and food.

More information about this project will soon be provided on this page.

Project Details
Project type: ICON
Approved on: 12/12/2019
Duration: 1/03/2020 – 30/03/2022
Total budget: €1.880.692
Subsidy: €1.316.313
Project Partners

EnzymASE 2

Enzymes for Added Sustainability and Efficiency

Building on the previous Catalisti project EnzymASE, EnzymASE 2 seeks to create environmentally friendly processes to produce chemical products with the help of enzymes. This should lead to new and improved products, as well as reduced CO2 emissions.

More information about this project will soon be provided on this page.

Project Details
Project type: ICON
Approved on: 12/12/2019
Duration: 30/06/2019 – 29/06/2022
Total budget: €1.769.357
Subsidy: €1.285.041
Project Partners

BIORESAL

Bio-Based Resins from Aldehydes and Lignin

The current industrial production of a wide range of chemicals and synthetic polymers relies on fossil resources. Consumers and brand owners drive the search for bio-based materials and products that are more sustainable. Companies search for performant materials containing bio-sourced carbon. Phenol, a fossil-derived chemical building block, is used downstream in various chemical formulations and applications, such as phenolic resins. Phenolic resins are successfully used in a variety of industrial applications, among others automotive, coating, varnish, adhesives, construction and insulation foams. For all these applications, there is a continued drive to find novel sustainable alternatives to these basic building blocks. In view of its chemical resemblance and availability, lignin and its derivatives could be a viable alternative to partially substitute phenol in phenol-formaldehyde resins.

Goal
The BIORESAL project aims to research to produce bio-based LPF resins by replacing phenol with (modified) oligomeric lignin fractions, as potentially less hazardous and sustainable building blocks for their application in insulation materials and moulding compounds. Most importantly, this replacement is needed in a technologically proven and economically viable way. Additionally, BIORESAL will include the evaluation of a series of aldehydes as co-reactant in the synthesis of bio-based LPF resins.

Project Details
Project type: ICON
Approved on: 13/12/2018
Duration: 01/05/2019 – 30/04/2022
Total budget: €2.596.723
Subsidy: €1.807.567
Project Partners

PolyFlam

Polyol-Based Flame Retardants and Lubricants

Flame retardants are a diverse group of chemicals which are added to a number of different materials (e.g. plastics, textiles, building materials) to enhance the materials’ resistance to fire. Within this diverse group, halogenated flame retardants are often regarded as being the most effective flame retardant, as only relatively small amounts are needed to obtain high flame protection. Nevertheless, this class of flame retardants can have detrimental effects on the aquatic environment if they leach out of different (plastic) materials, as they are very persistent, and they tend to bioaccumulate. A second possible negative effect could be their toxicity for humans. For these reasons, a number of them have been put on the candidate list (SVHC), like for instance hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD) and decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE). There clearly is a need for more sustainable and environmentally friendly flame retardants.

Goal
The PolyFlam project aims to develop and produce branched polyols derived from a bio-based alcohol. These polyols can then be further transformed into (reactive) flame retardants via phosphorylation chemistry. The obtained flame retardants can subsequently be used in different applications, such as textile, polymers and fire-resistant industrial fluids. The bio-based polyols can also be converted into (fully) bio-based lubricants. The project will result in a new value chain starting from a common bio-based alcohol and ending up in high-end applications that can be embedded in the chemical industry in Flanders.

Project Details
Project type: ICON
Approved on: 13/12/2018
Duration: 01/04/2019 – 31/03/2022
Total budget: €2.274.737
Subsidy: €1.633.696
Project Partners

InTiCosm

Innovative Trends in Cosmetics

InTiCosm is an interregional project between Flanders, France and Wallonia that aims to investigate the development of biosourced materials and their use in the field of cosmetic formulation. These compounds, called “green cargo ships”, are made from molecules obtained primarily from biorefineries in the Franco-Belgian region, respecting the principles of green chemistry as much as possible (in particular by reducing the use of solvents and the number of synthesis steps). The molecules obtained are used in cosmetic formulations. Specific studies are carried out to select the most efficient and least expensive cargoes, which can then be tested with manufacturers in the cross-border region.

The project also seeks to strengthen the cross-border cooperation between the bio-economy sectors of northern France, Wallonia and Flanders. This aim is reflected by the broad project consortium, which includes partners from all three regions.

More info about the project can be found on the VITO website (in Dutch).

Project Details
Project type: INTERREG
Duration: 01/01/2019 – 31/12/2022
Total budget: €2.207.229,65
Subsidy: €1.103.614,80
Project Partners

AppliSurf

Screening the Application Potential of a Yeast-Based Biosurfactant Portfolio

Surfactants are performance molecules that intervene in nearly every product and aspect of human daily life with a global turnover of $31 billion in 2016. Despite the efforts to move towards a bio-based economy, only 4% of the surfactant market is 100% bio-based (e.g. APGs and MESs). An even smaller part (<0.1 %) of the market is not only 100% bio-based, but also produced through biological processes, such as microbial, plant-based and/or enzymatic processes. Although a lot of companies are striving towards such sustainable solutions, current limitations blocking valorisation of such technologies are the higher production costs as well as the limited structural variability and subsequent lack of physicochemical (and biological) properties.

The AppliSurf project will apply a combination of genetic modification, fermentation development/optimization and green chemistry to enable commercial production of an innovative and broad portfolio of biosurfactant structures at an acceptable cost. The unique properties of these ‘new-to-market’ biosurfactants will be identified by high throughput screening for industrially relevant properties (foaming, emulsification, wetting, gelling, antimicrobial properties, etc.). Subsequent structure-function modeling of this family of compounds will enable the prediction of the properties of compounds not included in the screen. The latter will maximize the output of the project, also after the projects’ end. Scale-up of the optimized production processes will generate samples for in-house evaluation by the members of the industrial user group.

AppliSurf Industry User Group
The project partners are looking for companies that wish to be involved in the user group of this VIS project. The user group is open to all interested companies, even outside Flanders. Interested companies can contact Catalisti at info@catalisti.be for more information.

Project Details
Project type: VIS
Approved on: 13/12/2017
Duration: 31/08/2018 – 31/08/2020
Total budget: €624.827
Subsidy: €499.853
Project Partners

BAFTA

Bio-Aromatics Feedstock and Technology Assessment

Due to lignin’s wide availability, its aromatic structure, as well as the variety of potential modifications offered by its chemical structure, many studies have shown that the real commercial opportunity offered by lignin lies in its valorization as a renewable feedstock of aromatics for the chemical industry. This renewed interest in lignin has stimulated research for the development of an economically viable lignin conversion route into high-added value bio-aromatics as phenol and phenol derivatives.

The intrinsic properties of lignin, the variability of the resource, heterogeneous and polydisperse molar masses and hype-branched structures have, until now, hindered technological and commercial developments. While technology for isolating lignin from biomass is no longer the main obstacle for effective valorization, extensive research is currently being undertaken globally to propose innovative concepts of biorefinery based on disruptive processing/purification technologies.

Goal
The BAFTA project seeks to initiate the first steps in closing the virtual “valley of death” between research and industrial scale, thereby focusing on the general aim of the transition towards a biobased chemical industry in Flanders using lignocellulosic feedstock. The target group of companies that will benefit from this project are found throughout the value chain of bio-aromatics (from paper, wood, and waste treatment companies as a primary/secondary source for feedstock, over producers of polymers or fine-chemicals based on phenolic compounds, to formulators in the area of adhesives, UV-stabilizers, dyes, inks, coatings).

The main goals of this project are fivefold. First, a technology mapping for the conversion of lignin and wood biomass into useful chemical building blocks will be done. Secondly, a feedstock overview will be worked out both quantitative and qualitative for three different types, being virgin wood, waste wood and lignin. Another goal is creating a clear overview of the IP landscape and freedom-to-operate for conversion technologies of lignin and wood biomass. This will lead to the selection of 2 most promising technologies per feedstock (lignin and wood) based on a decision support framework. A detailed analysis of the two selected technologies per feedstock and recommendations for future research and follow-up projects will be provided. The last goals is the sampling of 4 different technologies at kg-scale and characterization of obtained samples on both stability and reproducibility.

Project Details
Project type: VIS
Approved on: 05/12/2017
Duration: 01/01/2018 – 31/05/2019
Total budget: €199.945
Subsidy: €159.956
Project Partners

SPICY

Sugar-Based Chemicals and Polymers through Innovative Chemocatalysis and Engineered Yeast

Cancellation of the EU sugar quota as of October 1th 2017 will have important consequences for European sugar producers, not at least in terms of the evolution of sugar prices towards prices on the global market. Together with the disappearance of export limitations, this will lead to new opportunities for sugar as feedstock for production of chemicals and materials. Market analysts also expect an increase of EU sucrose and glucose syrup production.

Goal
The SPICY project aims to provide the chemical industry with new or optimized processes to convert sugars into added value compounds, i.e. both drop-ins and novel biobased chemicals (see figure below). Two complementary lines are hereto developed in parallel, one focusing on biotechnology based on improved yeast-strains and one based on chemocatalytic routes. Both will aspire to meet industrial standards of productivity, titer, yield and selectivity, to safeguard potential economic benefit and future industrial valorisation. Most of the targeted platform chemicals are (potential) monomers for biobased plastics, hence, a second aim of SPICY is to deliver proof-of-concept of their usefulness by targeting novel and functional polymeric materials, typically not found in the current oil-based value chain.

The project has the ambition to strengthen the position of Flanders in terms of research into biobased processes and materials. The relevance of this project is further emphasized by an industrial advisory board eager to implement the results and create economic valorisation. Current members of the advisory board include: 3M, Allnex, Beaulieu, Cargill, Eastman, EOC, Galactic, GF Biochemicals, GlobalYeast, INEOS Styrolution, Proviron, Solvay, Tereos and Tiense Suiker.

Project Details
Project type: cSBO
Approved on: 14/12/2017
Duration: 01/02/2018 – 31/01/2022
Total budget: €2.526.011
Subsidy: €2.526.011
Project Partners

SweetEst

Innovative Production and Use of Sugar Esters

Sugar (fatty acid) esters are esters obtained by reacting a sugar with an (fatty) acid. Sugar esters are non-ionic surfactants which generally have very good emulsifying, stabilising or conditioning effects. Moreover, they are readily biodegradable, non-toxic, non-skin irritant, odorless, tasteless and give normal food products after digestion. For these reasons, they are used in many different applications and products, such as pharmaceuticals, detergents, cosmetics, and in the agri-food industry. There are roughly two methods to synthesize sugar esters. On the one hand, sugar esters can be obtained by chemical esterification, generally at high(er) temperatures in the presence of an alkaline catalyst. On the other hand, sugar esters can also be produced enzymatically at more moderate conditions in an organic solvent using lipases or proteases (and subtilisin).

Goal
The SweetEst project seeks to 1) identify which chemical identities (sugar composition, fatty acid chain length and degree of saturation, hydrophobicity, degree of esterification, etc.) give the desired and most performant biological functionality/activity, 2) investigate how to produce (and purify) the most relevant sugar esters efficiently and uniquely, 3) formulate and emulsify them for the desired end applications, and 4) test the biological activity of most relevant sugar esters ‘in vitro’ and ‘in vivo’. In first instance, lab-scale production will be pursued, after which (in second instance) production on kg-scale can be pursued if lab-scale production turns out to be technically (and economically) feasible. In the first two years of the project, lab-scale production and ‘in vitro’ testing of relevant sugar esters is targeted.

Project Details
Project type: ICON
Approved on: 13/12/2017
Duration: 01/03/2018 – 28/02/2021
Total budget: €1.267.196
Subsidy: €1.039.558
Project Partners

ValBran

Valorisation of Wheat Bran into Surfactant Molecules

The interregional ValBran project seeks to develop biotechnological and green chemistry pathways for the production of high added-value surfactant molecules with low environmental impact. The approach consists of developing several laboratory-scale processes and the selection of most promising process for pilot-scale transfer. This will eventually be followed by economic and environmental analysis of the developed process(es). The targeted applications are detergency, cosmetics, phytosanitary agents and food additives.

The project also aims to strengthen the cross-border cooperation between the bio-economy sectors of northern France, Wallonia and Flanders. This aim is reflected by the broad project consortium, which includes partners from all three regions. For more information, please visit www.valbran.eu or read the press release (in English).

Dissemination of research results
After four years of research, the ValBran project will present its findings during a webinar on 2 December 2020. You can register for this webinar for free by clicking the following link: https://www.valbran.eu/en/calendar/valbran-evenement-cloture/.

Project Details
Project type: INTERREG
Duration: 31/12/2016 – 31/12/2020
Total budget: €1.745.826
Subsidy: €872.913
Website: www.valbran.eu
Project Partners