Late last month, the Chancellor of the University of Hohenheim officially opened the on-farm biorefinery technology center at the research station Unterer Lindenhof. This facility is destined to demonstrate a small-scale biorefinery concept for the conversion of all components of lignocellulosic biomass into platform chemicals.
The technology center has a modular design and is fed with miscanthus coming from the nearby farm. The core of the plant is the hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) module that includes a reactor for the conversion of biomass into HMF and the unit for separating HMF from water. In order to create an integrated biorefinery concept, new modules for the valorization of hemicellulose and lignin will be added in the future. The nutrient-rich solution, which is obtained as residue in the biorefinery, is returned to the fields after be treated in a biogas plant that also supplies heat and electricity.
The costs of transforming the former slaughterhouse into a technical center amounts to approximately 630,000 €. The project is receiving funding from several sources:
– GRACE project (Growing Advanced Industrial Crops on Marginal Lands for Biorefineries). BBI JU project.
– B4B project (Biorefinery for the bioeconomy in Baden-Württemberg). Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of the State of Baden-Württemberg.
– IBÖM03 project (Backkreislauf-Basischemikalien und Kohle aus Altbackwaren). Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
The center will serve as a platform for further process and product optimisations in new projects and collaborations.