Borregaard snags $5 million in support for biobased innovation projects in lignin, cellulose

January 30, 2014 |

Borregaard-logoNow that Borregaard demonstration plant is operational — when will Norway’s biobased leader reach for scale?

In Norway, Borregaard has received a commitment for US 3.01 million in support from the Research Council of Norway (NFR). The funds will be used for two different innovation projects based on biomass as a raw material.

“This is the second major pledge we have received in only a few weeks, which demonstrates that our research projects represent both great added value and credibility in the professional communities. Both research projects have an environmental upside in that the end products are bio-based,” says President and CEO Per A. Sørlie of Borregaard.

The funds come from Skog-Verdi, a collaboration between the support programmes BIA (User-managed Innovation Arena) and BIONÆR (Sustainable added value in food and bio-based industries). The support assumes that Borregaard itself contributes around $5.28 million across the two projects within the fields of lignin and specialty cellulose respectively.

$1.73 million has been awarded to the “Green Binder” project, which is a collaboration project between Elkem and Borregaard where the goal is to develop bio-based binding agents for carbon products. This project has also received support from Innovation Norway to the tune of $0.43 million.

In addition, $1.28 million has been awarded to the “High Purity Cellulose” project, which aims to develop a process to produce specialty cellulose qualities for use in advanced chemicals. Innovation Norway is also supporting this project with NOK 7.3 million.

The funds will be used over three years.

The Innovation Norway grant

Earlier this month, Borregaard received a pledge for a $2 million million grant from Innovation Norway. The funds will be used over three years in the field of innovation projects based on products from biomass.

“The support is recognition of the research effort Borregaard puts into this, as well as the products’ importance today and in the future. All of the research projects have an environmental and sustainable upside in that the end products are bio-based and in many cases replace petroleum-based alternatives, while at the same time do not compete with food production,” says President and CEO Per A. Sørlie of Borregaard.

The funds come from the Government’s package of measures for the forestry industry as well as the biorefinery program financed by the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation.
The support assumes that Borregaard itself contributes with just less than $8 million spread over three different innovation projects in the fields of lignin, specialty cellulose and sugar respectively.

$1.17 million has been granted for the project “High Purity Cellulose,” which aims to develop a process to produce specialty cellulose qualities for use in advanced chemicals. $0.43 million has been awarded to the the project “Green Bonds”, a joint project between Elkem and Borregaard which aims to develop bio-based binders for carbon products.

Innovation Norway and the Technology Strategy Board are working together to support projects between Norway and the United Kingdom, including a joint project between Green Biologics and Lucite where Borregaard has received pledges of $0.38million in support. Here sugar from Borregaard’s BALI technology will be used for the production of bio-butanol for various chemical applications.

Background on the biorefinery

borregaard

Last April Norwegian Finance Minister Sigbjørn Johnsen officially inaugurated the Borregaard biorefinery demonstration plant in Sarpsborg, which will produce green chemicals and sugars based on biomass from wood and agricultural and forestry waste.

The demonstration plant, called Biorefinery Demo, started preliminary operations in summer 2012, followed by normal operations in the 1st quarter of 2013. The plant relies on Borregaard’s proprietary BALI technology and is a continuation of today’s biorefinery concept.

The aim is cost-effective and sustainable production of lignin and bioethanol from new raw materials. BALI technology involves converting the cellulose fibres in biomass to sugars that can be used for the production of second generation bioethanol, while other components of the biomass (lignin) become advanced biochemicals. These products can replace petroleum-based alternatives, and the raw material cannot be used in food production.

BALI technology consists of several processing steps and has given promising results in laboratory-scale testing. In the demonstration plant the process will be upscaled by a factor of 1000 times in order to test and develop the technology moving towards full-scale production. The plant has so far processed over 100 tons of biomass.

“If we succeed with this project, we will be able to establish full-scale production of biochemicals with excellent climate accountability. Biorefinery Demo is a good example of how new technology can contribute to environmental solutions and also be commercially viable,” says Borregaard CEO Per A. Sørlie.

Construction of the demonstration plant has cost just under $24.4M (NOK 140 million), including $10.1M (NOK 58 million) from Innovation Norway’s Environmental Technology Support Scheme. The BALI innovation project has also received NOK 19 million in funding from the Research Council of Norway and NOK 35 million from the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development.

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