New products from forest biorefineries
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is the coordinator of a large EU project called AFORE, which is developing new technologies for the separation, fractionation and primary upgrading of wood-based polymers and valuable low molecular weight compounds to be used by the wood processing mills of today and the future wood biorefineries.
The pulp mills of today could gain additional value from the wood used in pulp
production, if valuable wood components from forest residue and side-streams
could be recovered more effectively without compromising the main process and
energy balance,. New separation and recovery technologies will be important
for future forest biorefineries, too.
The main aim of the AFORE project is to develop new, industrially adaptable and techno-economically viable and sustainable methods and technologies for the separation, fractionation, and primary upgrading of wood polymers and low molecular weight compounds from forest residue or process side-streams. These valuable components can then be further utilised as starting materials in chemical, material and fuel applications. The project is focusing both on utilising the side-streams of the kraft pulping process employed in paper making today and on developing new forest biorefinery technologies for the future.
Project strongly targets at demonstration of the best technologies in current processes on a pilot or mill scale. It is believed that some of the technologies to be developed in the project could be quickly introduced into current processes.
The research supports the European wood processing industry and its industrial value chain in their aim of developing new business from forest biorefineries according to the principles of sustainable development. It is expected that the results will help the European forest industry, and the pulping industry in particular, to increase profitability and overall income significantly within 10 years, while simultaneously reducing the formation of waste by helping them utilise valuable side-stream components.
The AFORE project (Added-value from polymers and chemicals by new integrated separation, fractionation and upgrading technologies) will run for four years and has a budget of EUR 10.9 million. The project will end in 2013. There are 19 participants in total: VTT as the coordinator, 17 other European participants and one participant from the USA. Corporations (8 in total), research institutions and universities will come together in a consortium to achieve the aims of the challenging project.
Project website: http://www.eu-afore.fi
Senior Research Scientist
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