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New EU agro-industry project to demonstrate integrated biomass logistic centres launched

AGROinLOG to demonstrate Integrated Biomass Logistic Centres (IBLC) for food and non-food products, evaluating their technical, environmental and economic feasibility in three agro-industry sectors; fodder, olive oil and cereal processing. Open new markets in bio-commodities and intermediary bio-products.

The three-year EUR 6.3 million AGROinLOG project is funded under the EU Horizon 2020 programme and its 15-strong partner consortium is coordinated by the Spanish energy research centre CIRCE. According to the project brief, the main objective of AGROinLOG is to demonstrate Integrated Biomass Logistic Centres (IBLC) for food and non-food products, evaluating their technical, environmental and economic feasibility. Three agro-industry sectors have been selected for the project; fodder (Spain), olive oil production (Greece) and cereal processing (Sweden) as these sectors combined represent over 10 percent turnover of agro-food industries and 30 percent of those with “inherent synergies to integrate food and non-food business” by taking advantage of their existing equipment, seasonality and established food logistics.

Willing to deploy

A key component is that the industrial project partners in each of the three agro-industry sectors are willing to deploy new business lines in their facilities to open new markets in bio-commodities and intermediary bio-products. The project is built on these agro-industries that will achieve a technology readiness level eight (TRL7-8) in their facilities, guaranteeing operation under real conditions and with big amounts of production compared to the current activity, ensuring proximity to real market at the end of the project. The main challenges to be addressed by the project are based on being able to integrate logistics, harvesting and equipment in food and non-food applications to ensure marketability of the final bio-commodities.

Swedes look to cereal straw

The partners in the Swedish sub-project, SP Technical Research Institute (SP) via SP Processum and SP Department of Agriculture and Food, Lantmännen Agroetanol and the University of Borås will look at the use of straw as a complementary feedstock to grain for ethanol production. In particular, the partners will seek to find an economically feasible industrial-scale straw aggregation and logistics, lignin separation process along with lignin use.

A field to final product value-chain of straw in the cereal processing industry is one area of research for the recently launched AGROinLOG project.

A field to final product value-chain of straw in the cereal processing industry is one area of research for the recently launched AGROinLOG project.

– Lantmännen Agroetanol is looking forward to this project. We see this as a very important part in increasing the value of ligno-cellulosic based raw materials like straw, not only produce ethanol but also high-value products from the lignin contained in the raw material, said Paula Segura at Lantmännen Agroetanol.

Pre-treatment pathways

At it facilities in Örnsköldsvik, SP Processum will evaluate different pre-treatment methods for lignin extraction followed by a hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) process to produce a lignin-based bio-oil, an intermediary product.

– We are building a high-pressure high-temperature pilot plant to produce the bio-oil. Bio-oil can be upgraded for example biofuels and biochemicals. Since we normally work with wood raw material and waste streams from the forestry industry will be exciting to apply our processes even on lignin from straw, said Tomas Gustafsson, SP Processum.

5579/AS

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