Model of a molecule

Biobased chemicals and fuels

Climate change and depletion of fossil feedstocks are the primary driving forces for developing a more biobased society. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research helps industry to produce biobased chemicals and fuels, so that they can reduce their CO2 footprint. By using chemo catalysis and fermentation technology, we convert biomass into biobased building blocks, such as carbohydrate and lignin based aromatics but also alcohols and acids. Biopolymers are being modified using green chemistry to develop a variety of products.

CO2 footprint

Industry is increasingly looking for technologies to reduce their CO2 footprint. It is our ambition to contribute to this by developing biobased chemicals that can replace fossil-based feedstock in products like laundry and personal care products, water treatment, lubricants, solvents, paints and coatings. Furthermore, they are being used as precursors for biobased fuels and as building blocks for polymeric materials in the packaging, electronics or automotive sector. On top of that, biobased chemicals have the potential to replace hazardous petrochemicals. 

We are supporting industry in developing bio- and chemo-catalytic or fermentation technology for biobased chemicals production and assist in evaluating these chemicals in their intended application area.

Safe and higher value added products from biobased chemicals

For the agricultural and forestry industry and processors of (municipal) waste, biobased chemicals or liquid fuels offer new, higher value added, outlets for mainstreams, sidestreams and wastestreams. Biobased chemicals offer industry and end users products with an enhanced performance profile and a reduced ecological footprint:

  • Biobased chemicals can be used as building blocks for the synthesis of bioplastics or materials like coatings, paints and adhesives. Furthermore, they offer the potential to act as substitutes for chemicals of very high concern like phthlalate based plasticisers or toxic volatile organic solvents like N-methylpyrrolidone or toluene. All carbon-based basic chemicals can have a biobased alternative. These can be so-called drop-in products (with the same structure as current petrochemicals) or new chemicals with new characteristics. Drop-in chemicals are preferably only used for products with a long lifespan which do not end up in the environment.
  • Safe, carbohydrate and lignin based aromatics are of huge importance to the whole chemical industry and end users, since about a 40 % of all todays’ fossil oil based chemicals are aromatic in nature.
  • Biopolymer modification according to green chemistry principles results into a variety of products that can be used in home and personal care products, industrial cleaning products, water treatment, or even as food ingredients.