Cocoashell biorefinery

Cocoashells are a substantial sidestream of the cocoa and chocolate industry present in the Netherlands. Cocoashells are currently used in low added value applications like coverings for garden pathways, and as energy pellets. Objective of this project is to increase the added value by refining the cocoashell into a cellulose fibre and a lignin fraction.

For this a novel value chain will be built for the fractionation of underutilised cocoashells (Cargill) in a fibre fraction for added value innovative fibre application (Schut) and a lignin-natural oil fraction for the development of biobased carpet tile backings (Interface).

Focus on sustainability

For the cocoashells producer the main driver is to create sustainable and profitable outlets for the raw material by using an innovative fractionation technology and deliver intermediate streams to the targeted applications. The other partners complement the sustainability focus when developing innovative environmentally friendly fractionation technology and develop sustainable markets for the products. The pulp and paper market shows interest for alternative and sustainable fibre sources and can benefit from the unique properties of cocoashell fibres. Moreover within the current carpet industry there is a strong incentive to develop biobased flooring systems. In this respect backings based on a combination of lignin and natural oils offer interesting opportunities from a technical, economic and environmental point of view.

In this project the entire value chain is covered by the raw material producer, technology providers, and application developing industry. Additionally by this innovative project, the agri&food industry is coupled with the pulp and paper and household appliances industry.