A lot of plastic materials, chemicals and coatings – such as paint and glue – are made from the aromatic chemical compounds of benzene, toluene, xylene and phenol. Aromatics are therefore one of the most important building blocks of the chemical industry. The Biobased Delta is working on the development of aromatics on the basis of renewable raw materials. Its ambition is to become a global leader as regards technology developed for sustainable chemistry.
Biorizon Shared Research Centre
An important player in this respect is the Biorizon Shared Research Centre. Biorizon is located on the Green Chemistry Campus in Bergen op Zoom, and this makes the research centre an important element of the Biobased Delta.
Biorizon is an initiative by TNO, VITO, ECN and the Green Chemistry Campus. The research centre is joining forces with the industry to develop technologies to extract aromatics from plant-based residual material. That reduces the dependency on mineral oil and leads to less CO2 emissions.
By using waste flows as raw material Biorizon is helping with the transition to a circular economy. What is more, the research centre is providing a profitable and sustainable future for the chemical industry and its suppliers. Biorizon’s ambition is to make the commercial production of bio-aromatics possible for industrial partners. The aim is to achieve this in 2025.
Research area for bio-aromatics
Biorizon covers the necessary research area for the development of bio-aromatics. This makes it attractive for the industry to participate.
For example, TNO is focusing on aromatics from sugars, for example from organic waste. VITO is researching bio-aromatics from lignin, the substance that gives wood its rigidity. Both TNO and VITO are working on functional aromatics. These are chemicals with specific properties which retain the inherent functionality of biomass wherever possible. These chemicals can, therefore, lead to a positive business case.
ECN is also focusing on thermochemical routes for the production of functional aromatics. On top of this ECN is involved in routes for the production of bulk aromatics (BTX: benzene, toluene and xylene). The aim is to achieve optimal synergy with existing industrial installations. The principle of cascading is an important theme in this respect.
During the coming years joint research projects by Biorizon (including the current Waste2Aromatics, BIO-HArT and SceLiO-4B projects) will bring the commercial production of bio-aromatics closer to becoming a reality.
Organisations with an interest in the development of bio-aromatics can join the Biorizon Community free of charge via www.biorizon.eu/community. Members are updated on relevant developments, current calls for participation and are sent invitations to exclusive events.