Scientists are prompted to seek alternative methodologies for the production of materials, fuels and chemicals using low environmental impact technologies and greener methodologies with comparable efficiencies to those currently available in view of the expected resource scarcity and future oil economy. Lignocellulosic residues can constitute a highly promising (and currently largely under-utilised) feedstock with a significant potential to be converted into useful end products. However, a joint multidisciplinary effort from several disciplines including (bio)chemistry, biology, (bio)chemical and biological engineering, forest products sciences as well as environmental sciences and experts in economic assessment in liaison with industry is required to appropriately address the efficient transformation of such residues. The main objective of this COST Action will be to develop a solid European multidisciplinary network able to provide a range of innovative alternatives to the valorisation of lignocellulosic residues to chemicals, fuels and materials making use of environmentally sound protocols from pretreatment/fractionation to conversion to valuable end products. Thus, this Action will bridge gaps between academic disciplines as well as between academia and industry by bringing together skills and expertise that cross scientific borders interconnecting different technology hubs across Europe, overcoming technological barriers, going beyond current lignocellulosic waste exploitation/management approaches.
The main objective of the Action is to develop low impact environmentally sound and cost-effective lignocellulose valorization technologies to be exploited in the production of industrially-relevant bio-derived chemicals, materials and fuels.
The potential application areas and benefits to the European forest-based and bioenergy-based industries as well as agro-industries are numerous, such as improvement of traditional manufacturing processes to save energy or chemicals, development of sustainable and low environmental impact solutions for the utilization of forest and agro industrial resources, design of novel efficient catalytic systems for more efficient hydrolysis of lignocellulosic carbohydrates into sugars, and novel transformation processes of intermediates into fuels, energy and chemicals.
The Action will especially benefit the forestry sector (Pulp and paper) by creating new knowledge and new synergistic approaches for biorefineries, helping to preserve this industry in Europe. Presently, pulp and paper companies evaluate traditional or nonconventional pulping methods to take advantage of the potential carbohydrate streams for ethanol production. The chemical industry has started to consider lignocellulose as a source for “platform chemicals”. The Action will also benefit the agricultural sector as value-added products can be generated from the lignocellulosic waste raw materials. During the life-span of the Action, know-how on new benign methodologies will be delivered to academia and industry through annual workshops, conferences and publications. The Action is expected to lead to various innovations; i.e. development of novel heterogeneous catalytic systems and their application in biorefineries.
“Valorisation of lignocellulosic biomass side streams for sustainable production of chemicals, materials & fuels using low environmental impact technologies”