A biobased approach to e-refinery concepts

Projecttitel: A biobased approach to e-refinery concepts
Projectnummer: BBE-1807
Looptijd: 2019 – 2022
Budget publiek: € 735.000
Budget privaat: € 194.000
Projectleider: Adrie Straathof
Betrokken partijen: Shell, TU Delft

The deep decarbonization of our economy will require the replacement of fossil fuels with alternative sources of carbon and energy. For production of fuels and chemicals, the development of integrated concepts that benefit of the carbon-neutrality of biomass and profit of the large fluctuations on electricity suply can become a new alternative. This proposal aims at identifying the possibilities for integration of biorefineries with solar/wind power generation. It will a) develop scalable fermentation processes that use electric power and b) assess the impacts of intermittency of IES, availability of biomass and requirements for downstream processing in the techno-economic and environmental performance and future up-scaling of the configurations. Bioreactors will contain a pure microbial culture that will produce a desired chemical from carbohydrate using electric power directly, or indirectly via an electron donor such as H2 or formate. Such an electron donor is to be produced by electrocatalysis coupled to the fermentor. The research issues are to conceive, select, and demonstrate techno-economically viable process configurations (at specific combinations of microorganism, product, electron donor, and process condition) as well as assess the potential impact in the process of system conditions.
When this project has identified feasible options, bottlenecks on the microbial and electrochemical conversions will remain, as well as on the required infrastructure, but it will be much clearer what should be next steps. Furthermore, the early evaluation of system impacts will allow to steer the development of the technology concepts, thereby speeding their deployment in the medium and long-term.