Separation solutions designed to IMPRESS – Sulzer’s tech is central to plant-based platform chemical manufacturing

December 1, 2021 |

By Sulzer Chemtech

Special to The Digest

A broad range of Sulzer’s leading separation technologies are playing a key role in the EU funded project IMPRESS (Integration of efficient downstreaM PRocessEs for Sugars and Sugar alcohols). This aims to deliver a novel biorefinery concept, which enables the production of important base chemicals from plant-based resources. By providing customized solutions for this innovative venture, Sulzer continues to strengthen its position as the go-to partner for high-quality, reliable and efficient separation solutions for industrial-scale sustainable manufacturing plants.

Sulzer Chemtech has been appointed by Avantium, a front runner in renewable chemistry, to support the IMPRESS project by providing bespoke crystallization and distillation equipment. The solutions will enable the creation of a demonstration plant in Delfzijl, Netherlands, showcasing the feasibility of IMPRESS’ processes to create highly effective fully-integrated second-generation biorefinery complexes.

The facilities will feature upstream, midstream and downstream processes to convert plant-based materials into chemical building blocks, such as monoethylene (plantMEG™) and monopropylene glycol (plant MPG), lignin nanospheres, xylitol and isosorbide. In turn, these are used to create a wide range of materials, including bioplastics. Therefore, the manufacturing complex being created is believed to mark the future of biorefining, offering more than just bioethanol as an end product.

Sulzer’s separation units will play a key role in the purification of all IMPRESS’ end materials. The company has been selected on the basis of its extensive experience in developing cutting-edge solutions for the renewable sector. For the IMPRESS project to succeed, it is essential to develop highly efficient processes as well as large-scale plants that are economically feasible. Sulzer’s comprehensive capabilities in conducting laboratory- and pilot-scale tests and its vast experience in scaling up complex processes have been crucial. These skills are fundamental to create customized application-based solutions that maintain a low environmental footprint and help to drive the adoption of sustainable manufacturing practices across the industry.

Torsten Wintergerste, Division president Sulzer Chemtech, comments: “We are excited to be part of the IMPRESS team and to be playing an essential role in the development of cutting-edge process solutions for sustainable manufacturing. We are well-equipped to support such a ground-breaking project, thanks to our industry-leading capabilities, and we look forward to driving the adoption of proven facilities for the production of plant-based chemical building blocks. These will have a cascade effect in reducing the environmental impact of the manufacturing industry as a whole.”

IMPRESS project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 869993.

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