Emerging Markets: Biotechnology. MC Jarvis Glasgow University and IBioIC

Size: px
Start display at page:

Download "Emerging Markets: Biotechnology. MC Jarvis Glasgow University and IBioIC"


1 Emerging Markets: Biotechnology MC Jarvis Glasgow University and IBioIC M.C. Jarvis. Forest and Timber Industry Leadership Group. Edinburgh, 30 Nov 2015

2 Biotechnology Plant biotechnology Tree improvement Industrial biotechnology Biorefineries

3 What is a biorefinery? -Starts from a sustainable, biological raw material. Like wood. -Leads to multiple marketable products. -Often assumed that the chief product will be a liquid biofuel but does it need to be? -Often assumed that the scale will be very large.but does it need to be? Re-thinking needed.

4 Types of biorefineries By principal product (fuel or other) By platform (meaning the key intermediate from which multiple products are made)

5 Sugar platform Wood Pretreatment Hemicelluloses Cellulose Depolymerisation Lignin Furfural? Glucose Fermentation Aromatic feedstock chemicals? Bioethanol or other products (e.g.lactic acid, succinic acid)

6 Sugar platform Borregaard biorefinery, Norway: developed from pulp mill, pretreatment = sulphite pulping (n.b. mechanical pulping as at Caledonian Paper does not facilitate conversion of cellulose to glucose). Cellulose left fairly pure and well suited to onward conversion. Lignin sold as lignosulfonates, small amount converted to vanillin. Markets for both are saturated.

7 Sugar platform Pretreatment is key to success of refinery Many competing chemical pretreatment technologies, all expensive Wider range of pretreatments available for hardwoods than softwoods Pretreatment should also permit something useful to be done with the lignin

8 Sugar platform Bioethanol is traditional main product from fermentation of glucose. Price tied to falling price of oil. Alternatives: Biobutanol (fuel but can also be sold as solvent, more stable market) Monomers for polymer synthesis eg lactate for PLA Huge range of other possibilities

9 Sugar platform Can the cost of glucose production (raw material, pretreatment, cellulase enzymes) compete with glucose from corn? Scale in relation to economics and raw material availability? Other marketable products from hemicelluloses and ligninhemicelluloses can be fermentable No commercial process yet for conversion of lignin to BTX monomers Polymeric lignin as phenol replacement in resins? Lignin to carbon fibre? M.C. Jarvis. Forest and Timber Industry Leadership Group. Edinburgh, 30 Nov 2015

10 What kind of wood is required? First call would be on small roundwood. Biorefinery community looks out for waste streams. Competition with biomass and other low-value markets Pretreatment step is easiest to design for hardwoods

11 Syngas platform Wood Gasification Bio-oil Syngas Bio-char Bubbling fermentation Fischer-Tropsch conversion Ethanol Hydrocarbon fuel and other products

12 Syngas platform Gasification process relatively indifferent to wood type and quality Syngas can be fermented to bioethanol (Ineos process, Florida) Can alternatively be chemically converted to fuel-grade or feedstock hydrocarbons still under development, strong research background in Scotland Bio-oil and char fractions not well utilised and can clog process

13 Nanocellulose platform Wood Pretreatment Hemicelluloses Cellulose Dispersion Lignin Nanocellulose

14 Nanocellulose platform Cellucomp biorefinery at Glenrothes uses sugar beet pulp as raw material no lignin so no pretreatment required Sappi pilot plant in Netherlands uses dissolving pulp from Eucalyptus. Pretreatment is sulphite pulping and bleaching process. Nanocellulose products of varying particle length for different applications M.C. Jarvis. Forest and Timber Industry Leadership Group. Edinburgh, 30 Nov 2015

15 Methane platform Wood Anaerobic digestion Methane Solid residue Combustion Energy

16 Methane platform Scotland has good research expertise in anaerobic digestion Yields are low with lignified materials. Methane platform is better suited to non-lignified materials

17 Conclusions Shift in focus away from biofuels: greater diversity of processes and products, higher potential value, smaller potential scale. Sugar and cellulose platforms: limiting factor is pretreatment of softwoods to extract value from lignin as well as carbohydrate. Syngas platform: converting syngas to chemicals