Europe is preparing to switch from a fossil to a biobased economy. This European bio‑economy provides a comprehensive response to the most important social challenges as set out in the EC Strategy and Action Plan “Innovating for Sustainable Growth: A Bioeconomy for Europe“. These include creating and maintaining jobs, maintaining the competitiveness of process industries, adapting to climate change, reducing the dependency on fossil raw materials, and reducing the dependency on renewable raw materials for the “more with less“ strategy Food industry. Within this framework, a working group was set up to strengthen the demonstration of the feasibility of industrial production facilities. This involves setting up all technical and economic key parameters required for investment decisions on the first industrial production facilities for the production of the bio‑based products 1,4‑butanediol (BDO) and itaconic acid (IA). The project partners cover the complete value chain for both chemicals and are thus to be transferred from research into industrial applications.
Fraunhofer CBP provides sugar from lignocellulose, which is produved from beechwood using the Organosolv process. Furthermore, Fraunhofer CBP is working together with the group Industrial Biotechnology of the Fraunhofer IGB on the selection of suitable raw materials and the associated toxicity test for microbiological utilization as well as on the development of a fermentation process for the production of IA with the selected raw materials. Scale-up of the process to the pilot scale (up to 10 m³) takes place at the Fraunhofer CBP. The downstream process for the recovery of purified IA, which is developed and scaled together with TNO and SoliQz, plays an equally important role.