YXY-FUELS: lignocellulose and paper residues as a useful raw material for the production of biofuels and biochemicals.

By developing the Avantium YXY process using second-generation lignocellulose raw materials, Wageningen Food & Bio-based Research seeks, in cooperation with organisations in the paper industry, to produce heat, electricity, biofuels and elements for plastics using lignocellulose residual streams and paper residues.

Avantium is a chemical research company that converts sugars from biomass into useful products using YXY technology. The process has already proved effective in producing furans from first-generation biomass streams such as sugar beet and sugar cane. In order to research the options offered by YXY technology for second-generation biomass streams, Wageningen Food & Bio-based Research is working with Avantium and organisations in the paper, fuels and chemicals industries to get the YXY-FUELS project under way.


Organosolv process

Two organisations in the paper industry are taking part in the project: Smurfit Kappa Roermond and Parenco. With their cooperation, work is under way to establish a complete bio-refinement process based on residual streams from the paper industry. This involves the familiar organosolv process, a process used to convert woody biomass into different high-grade fractions that can in turn be used in commercial products.  One of these fractions is cellulose, which can be converted into YXY elements for example, which can be used as car and aviation fuel. Another fraction is lignin, which has a range of potential uses, including as a fuel additive, for chemicals and bio-aromatics.

Lignin expertise

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research has developed and patented a technology for the production of aromatic bulk chemicals from one of the potential sidestreams from the YXY process. This technology is now undergoing further development. The expertise of Wageningen Food & Biobased Research in the field of lignin characterisation and valorisation is extremely valuable to the YXY-FUELS project. We develop proprietary technology for the catalytic depolymerisation of lignin and lignin fractions into phenolic intermediaries. On this basis, we work with partners to develop fuel additives, chemicals and materials. 

Commercial process development

The entire value added chain is involved in the project, from biomass producer to end product. Each party has its own objectives, but a shared focus is development of a commercial process that is capable of producing useful, high-grade components from residual streams from industries including the paper industry. Using these components, we can create heat, electricity, biofuels and plastics.