A joint industrial project to develop renewable and bio-sourced alternatives

Bio-Sep is an English start-up specializing in the conversion of non-food lignocellulosic biomass from agriculture and forestry into high-value biochemicals. It has just launched a joint industrial project with iCAST aimed at developing large-scale manufacturing of sustainable biochemical substitutes for the composites and construction industries.

Lignocellulosic biomass is a treasure that has yet to be explored and which makes it possible to obtain fuels, sugars, polymers, cosmetics, but also proteins for food and many raw materials used in the field of construction or energy engineering.

Bio-Sep’s ultrasonic biorefining process converts forest by-products into chemicals (Credit: Bio-Sep Ltd)

The English start-up Bio-Sep, founded in 2010, has developed a unique biorefining process. Through this process, it is thus possible to transform all types of lignocellulosic biomass (hard and soft wood, straw, sugarcane bagasse, herbaceous or woody plants) into cellulose, lignin and sugars, in a more economical way.

Bio-Sep specializes in ultrasonic biorefining

The Bio-Sep process stands out from other biorefining processes due to its reduced energy consumption, use of recoverable organic solvents and the generation of a small amount of waste.

Indeed, the biorefining process developed and patented by Bio-Sep has the particularity of using ultrasound to break chemical bonds. As it operates at low temperature and low pressure and cycle times are reduced, it has the particular advantage of consuming little energy.

Furthermore, as the treatment conditions (mainly temperature and pressure) are mild, this means that the products obtained do not decompose and do not alter their quality.

  • Hemicellulose sugars are recovered without hydrolysis and are of high quality.
  • Lignin is recovered without significant depolymerization or sulfonation.
  • The cellulose obtained is not damaged.

A joint industrial project with iCAST and NCC

This process opens up new and exciting possibilities for non-sulfonated lignin, a product that has attracted interest due to its potential for conversion into high value-added products, but which is currently not widely available.

In order to fully exploit the potential represented by this process, Bio-Sep has just launched a joint industrial project with the Innovation Center for Applied Sustainable Technologies (iCAST), a British R&D center whose mission is to support innovation strategies for companies that operate in the green growing field.

In a press release, Dr. Andrew West, chief chemist, is excited: “This interdisciplinary R&D project will allow us to develop and demonstrate the potential applications of our non-sulfonated lignin and our biorefining process. We look forward to working with valued partners within iCAST and benefiting from their global experience and in-depth knowledge of biobased material chemistry and composite fabrication. 🇧🇷

Furthermore, the University of Bath and the National Composites Center (NCC) are also part of this project, whose aim is to exhaustively test the properties and performance of the products, both as components of biobased composites and as cement additives.

Tim Young, sustainability manager at the National Composites Centre, said: “Our participation in the Bio-Sep project will allow us to assess the suitability of a highly innovative, low-carbon composite material. The NCC team looks forward to assessing the feasibility of using the material in industrial applications using our experience in design, manufacturing and quality assessment, as well as our customer network, in order to facilitate the commercialization of the material.

We are pleased to support Bio-Sep in its exciting sustainability offering for the composites market and to be part of a consortium of partners who are pooling their experience and expertise in this growing specialist area. 🇧🇷

Leave a Comment