Wageningen Food & Biobased Research is partnering in the BRISK2 EU project with fellow knowledge institutes to develop a single European infrastructure for research into biofuels. The goal is to further increase the application options of these sustainable fuels based on non-food crops.
In addition to biofuels, the BRISK2 project focuses on biorefinery technologies for the coproduction of ‘building blocks’ for biobased food and feed ingredients, chemicals and materials. External parties can use the research facilities of Wageningen University & Research and the other project partners.
Boosting European research into biofuels and biorefinery
BRISK2 is building on the successful BRISK project, which ran from 2011 to 2015. It is intended to preserve existing knowledge and expertise, and offer European scientists opportunities for successful partnerships. According to René van Ree from Wageningen Food & Biobased Research, BRISK2 is aimed to boost European research into biofuels and biorefinery: “We interlink the available research infrastructure in order to establish new research activities and better share and connect research data.”
Wageningen Food & Biobased Research’s work is focused on two pillars. The first – the R&D part of BRISK2 – involves the valorisation of valuable components from biomass, as Van Ree explains: “For example, we look at how we can use brewers’ spend grains, a residual stream from beer production, to produce proteins. We can then use these proteins to make biobased materials, while the residue can be used to generate bioenergy. This makes the most out of the residual stream. We want to do the same with algae and residues released in the production of palm kernel oil. By the time the project ends in 2022 we hope to have established a number of strong business cases.”
Providing access to research facilities
The goal of the second pillar of BRISK2 is making the existing research facilities available to partners from the industry. Van Ree: “We have given third parties access to facilities for pre-treatment, fractioning and fermentation for research. We publish calls to realise this, enabling external parties to submit concise research proposals. If accepted, they can use our facilities at low costs, subsidised by the European Commission, and perform experiments under the supervision of Wageningen scientists. The main benefit is that the experiments can be started quickly, and that the lead and throughput time is limited. This means the parties involved can quickly decide whether they would like to carry out follow-up research. It is also in line with the wishes of the EU to better utilise the available research facilities in Europe. It reduces their downtime and ensures that the invested euros are better spent.”
In addition to Wageningen Food & Biobased Research, the other Dutch partners in BRISK2 are ECN and TU Delft. The next deadline for concise research proposals is 1 April 2018. Companies wishing to apply can find all the required information on the BRISK2 website.