The first challenge for BIOCORE will be to show how a biorefinery can use a mixed biomass feedstock. To do this, analyses will be performed in order to establish how a biorefinery can be stably supplied with a mixture of cereal by-products (straws etc), forestry residues and short rotation woody crops. Several scenarios will be generated that will take into account harvest seasonality, transport and storage for biorefineries located in different regions of Europe and Asia.
From a technical point of view, BIOCORE will develop and optimize processes that will allow maximum use of the biomass resource. The first step will involve the extraction of each of the principle biomass components (cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignins). To achieve this, patented technology, which uses organic solvents to solublize the lignin components, will be employed.
Afterwards, BIOCORE will combine the development of biotechnologies and chemical processes in order to create smart transformation itineraries that will allow the production of 2nd generation biofuel, resins, polymers (and their intermediates), surfactants and food/feed ingredients.
In BIOCORE, the biomass feedstock will be used as a source of energetic molecules, but special emphasis will be placed on the use of biomass as a source of renewable carbon for the manufacture of chemicals that will substitute for petrochemicals. The ultimate aim of BIOCORE is to supply a range of products for a series of very different markets. Notably, through the production of a series of polymer building blocks, BIOCORE will cover 70% of the polymer families that constitute the current world plastics market.
Through pilot scaling testing of certain technologies, BIOCORE will be able to demonstrate the industrial feasibility of biorefining in conditions that are close to the market. Pilot tested processes will be modeled and optimized both from technical and economic standpoints in order to demonstrate the pertinence of a certain number of value chains.
From a sustainability point of view, BIOCORE will implement multicriteria sustainability studies of the overall concept, which will aim to demonstrate the impacts of BIOCORE with respect to the environment and society. Among the numerous criteria, analyses will account for water use and soil fertility, land usage, biodiversité, greenhouse gas emissions etc.
Finally, BIOCORE will actively organize technology and information transfer that will benefit all partners (the agricultural, forestry and energy sectors and the chemical and biotechnology industry), as well as policy makers and economic actors.