Biorefining allows us to process sustainable biomass into marketable products. Various intermediates (such as carbohydrates, sugars, proteins, oils and fibre) can be extracted depending on the type of biomass and conversion methods we apply. We can subsequently make end products for clients based on these intermediates.
Converting biomass into intermediates
Biomass (plants and waste streams from agriculture and the food industry) can be converted into intermediates through various conversion methods, including mechanical, chemical, biochemical and thermochemical methods. Components from biomass that we can subsequently isolate include fibre, sugars, carbohydrates, oils, proteins and lignin. These components or intermediate products are then converted into high-value end products in our laboratories or with industrial partners via chemical and biochemical conversion. Examples of these end products are energy, materials, chemicals, food and animal feed. Intermediates are of considerable importance for the realisation of end products.
Lignin, proteins, oils and other components
Biomass can be divided into several types: Fresh biomass (grass and leaves), lignocellulosic biomass (wood, straw and grasses) and aquatic biomass (seaweeds, microalgae and aquatic plants). These different types of biomass each have different amounts and types of ingredients, which are interesting for processing into intermediate and end products. Lignocellulosic biomass, for instance, is rich in lignin, a substance with which we can develop materials and biochemicals. Aquatic biomass is rich in oils and proteins, which are interesting components for food, feed and biofuels. Fresh biomass often contains fibre and sugars that can be deployed in the production of chemical building blocks and amino acids. In addition to components from which we isolate intermediates, biomass also contains small but valuable amounts of components with bioactive properties, such as antioxidants and antimicrobials.
Knowledge of the entire chain
Wageningen Food & Biobased Research combines its expertise in the field of conversion techniques with knowledge of biomass composition and potential biobased end products. We oversee the entire chain from biomass to end product and work with the parties involved in the different phases of the chain. This allows us to assist clients in the optimal utilisation of biomass and in the realisation of biobased end products.