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Biorefinery Process Uses Second-Gen Biofuels

Compagnie Industrielle de la Matiere Vegetale’s (CIMV) research to find a viable substitute for petroleum has led to a biorefinery concept that focuses on second-generation biofuels and chemicals.

These types of biofuels use only plant residuals (straws, forest residues, wood, miscanthus and switch grass) and not the plant itself. And for this research, CIMV has won Frost & Sullivan’s 2013 French Visionary Innovation Award.

In developing its technology, CIMV collaborated with key participants to implement best practices that can aid in breaking down a plant’s components to their purest forms. CIMV uses byproducts such as cereal straw, sugarcane bagasse, sweet sorghum, or fibre crops (hemp, flax, Provence cane and miscanthus), and hardwood, which points to significant feedstock flexibility in its processes.

CIMV is the only biorefinery using these processes to generate non-deteriorated lignin and produce pure glucose, says Frost & Sullivan research analyst Latha Rani. Once these technologies are patented, they present a unique, competitive advantage over other industry participants, according to the firm.

CIMV’s cellulose hydrolysis yields a high purity glucan syrup, with low enzyme dose, while its fermentation yields more than 0.48kg of ethanol per kg of glucose, with an ethanol concentration of 100g/kg. The derived cellulose has very low lignin content.

CIMV’s process also enables the derivation of C5 syrup of more than 85 percent purity. It finds application as biosourcing for bioethanol and white biotechnologies, additives in animal feeds as well as for Furanic chemistry.

The third primary product in CIMV’s process is Biolignin, which has low molecular weight, regular structure, high OH content, and no sulphur. Biolignin is used as a substitute for phenol, with more than 60 percent substitution rate. The applications for Biolignin include phenolic resins, additives for rubber, carbon fibers and polyurethanes.

Earlier this week BASF and Renmatix signed a non-exclusive joint development agreement to scale up the Renmatix Plantrose process for the production of industrial sugars based on non-edible (lignocellulosic) biomass.

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