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Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Catalytic Lignin Conversion to Bio-based Polymer Blocks with CO2 Utilisation (CaLiBration)

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
2.02.04  Engineering sciences and technologies  Chemical engineering  Catalysis and reaction engineering 

Code Science Field
T350  Technological sciences  Chemical technology and engineering 

Code Science Field
2.04  Engineering and Technology  Chemical engineering  
Keywords
catalysis; conversion; lignin; bio-based; CO2
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (20)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  52995  PhD Filipa A. Andre Vicente  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2020 - 2022  101 
2.  51268  PhD Kalpana Avasthi  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2019 - 2020  21 
3.  50850  PhD Marijan Bajić  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2019 - 2020  46 
4.  03124  PhD Gorazd Berčič  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2019 - 2021  135 
5.  52432  PhD Ana Bjelić  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2019 - 2020  60 
6.  39932  PhD Ashish Bohre  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2020  38 
7.  37381  PhD Miša Mojca Cajnko  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2019 - 2022  51 
8.  06259  PhD Ljudmila Fele Žilnik  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2019 - 2022  226 
9.  34342  PhD Matej Huš  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2019 - 2022  694 
10.  27687  PhD Edita Jasiukaityte  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2019 - 2022  133 
11.  53419  Dimitrij Ješić    Technical associate  2020 - 2022 
12.  38177  PhD Jaka Levanič  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Junior researcher  2019 - 2020  36 
13.  25446  PhD Blaž Likozar  Chemical engineering  Head  2019 - 2022  1,228 
14.  52410  Daša Medvešček  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2019 - 2022  19 
15.  50007  Urša Osolnik  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2019 - 2022  11 
16.  11223  PhD Primož Oven  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2019 - 2022  561 
17.  29399  PhD Andrej Pohar  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2019 - 2021  157 
18.  12041  PhD Ida Poljanšek  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2019 - 2022  347 
19.  30758  PhD Viljem Vek  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2019 - 2022  145 
20.  06345  PhD Janja Zule  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2019 - 2020  276 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0104  National Institute of Chemistry  Ljubljana  5051592000  21,316 
2.  0219  Pulp and Paper Institute  Ljubljana  5051681  1,688 
3.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  66,817 
Abstract
Proposal abstract – summary Biomass is beside CO2 the only sustainable carbon-based raw resource. Whereas the portion of the harvested renewable energy in the mix is increasing notably, this is not the case for various carbon-based materials/products, which constitute the foundations of our quotidian life, for example plastics, resins, elastomers, etc. The data show only an overall slight increase in the bio-based share of the chemical industry in the EU28 from about 6% in 2008 to 7% in 2015. The latter is the case, since biomass difficultly competes with various fossil resources (e.g. oil) for the production of ubiquitous petrochemical analogues. A reason is also that some of the most abundant bioplastics, e.g. bio-based poly-lactic acid (PLA), are not “drop-in”, meaning that their applicative properties will differ, markets are underdeveloped, while consumers are also not that much aware of them. Conversely, producing “drop-in” bio-based chemicals would capitalise on the whole value chain being already in place from the formulation (e.g. polymerisation) onwards to markets. Functional aromatic chemicals, such as phthalic acids, benzoic acid, etc., are globally produced in enormous throughput capacities in order to address the demands for polyesters, polyamides, etc., which are even rising steadily. While some of these are sourced from sugars, lignin, accounting for a substantial biomass fraction, is notoriously under-valorised as opposed to polysaccharides. While it is still predominantly burnt, lignin pyrolysis processes, as well as the applications following either lignin-first fractionation approaches or the delignification in the conventional pulp and paper industries are at relatively high technology readiness levels. Nonetheless, a crucial engineering challenge remains to valorise these fractions downstream beyond mere biofuel exploitation, which is mostly hindered by extreme aromatic diversity. The latter is reduced by e.g. hydro-processing, but still represents no match for relatively pure fossil refinery streams. Hydro-processing also in turn deteriorates economics. Lignin-derived aromatic monomers thus have various functional groups on up to 4 ring carbon atoms, introducing hydroxyl, metoxyl, alkyl, alkenyl and others, less common. CaLiBration aims at addressing this aromatic diversity, developing two chemical platforms, based on depolymerised lignin units, which will be converted further: 1. Di-carboxyl-aromatics (phthalic acid derivatives). 2. Mono-carboxylic-aromatics (functionalised carboxylic derivatives). CaLiBration will apply a multi-scale, multi-functional and multi-disciplinary engineering approach: 1. from robust heterogeneous catalyst materials- to reactor unit design. 2. from ab initio atomistic reaction modelling to connecting computational fluid dynamics. 3. from functionalising benzene/phenols to converting realistic pyrolysis oils. 4. from producing chemicals to the application in end-users’ commercial formulations. 5. from biomass-derived intermediates’ functionalisation to finding fossil-based aromatics conversion pathways. 6. from chemical reactions kinetics to thermodynamic equilibrium/transport phenomena consideration. 7. from simplified model predictions to high-performance computational screening of catalysts. 8. from minute powdered catalysts to pelletized granulated materials, withstanding attrition. CaLiBration thus primarily targets to develop the catalysts, reactions and processes for bio-based aromatic chemicals, capitalising on captured CO2. Heterogeneous catalyst materials are to be developed targeting broader stable bond (e.g. CO2) activation challenges. Ab initio modelling will be applied to high-throughput material screening, reaction pathway analysis, and finally, multi-scale process optimisation. Catalysts will be based on the functionalised carbonaceous supports (e.g. graphene) with Lewis acids/noble metal (for example palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, etc.) clusters deposited.
Significance for science
Relevance to the development of science or a scientific field   The CaLiBration project addresses the preparation, improvement and incorporation of bio-based compounds that are identified as one of the foundations of tomorrow’s chemical industry. As such, it is also completely aligned with the Slovenian Smart Specialisation Strategy, namely the Networks for the transition into circular economy, which includes bio-economy. The mentioned greening of the economy is also directly addressed, since CaLiBration aims to use the renewable raw materials for the preparation of end-user market products. The department of the NIC, which proposes CaLiBration, was the first to develop a multi-scale process modelling for more complex compounds, while it also submitted two patent applications, as well as prepared a number of scientific articles. The content of CaLiBration is important because, on one hand, it develops a new engineering tool, and on the other, also discovers the routes for the use of CO2, in which we get the carboxylated aromatic substances from lignin. This also paves the way for green chemistry and bio-refining/processing. Despite the fact that CaLiBration, in the field of processes and technologies, best suits the technologies for bio-based green chemicals and materials, which is also reflected in the distribution of the tasks themselves, it is also quite fitting with other emerging ones. Polymer production and processing thus relates to activity that will be carried out towards the end of proposed project. Biotechnologically-produced compounds refer to certain input materials, in particular selected bio-based aromatic compounds. The improved production equipment with control is mainly related to the preparation of bio-based compounds, where the process (equipment/control) of preparation will be improved as well. This is certainly reflected in the current trends in chemical reaction engineering. The CaLiBration deliverables will be addressing the traditional markets of the paper and paper-processing industry, the textile industry, the automotive industry, the polymer industry, the adhesives and coatings industry, respectively.
Significance for the country
Relevance to the development of science or a scientific field   The CaLiBration project addresses the preparation, improvement and incorporation of bio-based compounds that are identified as one of the foundations of tomorrow’s chemical industry. As such, it is also completely aligned with the Slovenian Smart Specialisation Strategy, namely the Networks for the transition into circular economy, which includes bio-economy. The mentioned greening of the economy is also directly addressed, since CaLiBration aims to use the renewable raw materials for the preparation of end-user market products. The department of the NIC, which proposes CaLiBration, was the first to develop a multi-scale process modelling for more complex compounds, while it also submitted two patent applications, as well as prepared a number of scientific articles. The content of CaLiBration is important because, on one hand, it develops a new engineering tool, and on the other, also discovers the routes for the use of CO2, in which we get the carboxylated aromatic substances from lignin. This also paves the way for green chemistry and bio-refining/processing. Despite the fact that CaLiBration, in the field of processes and technologies, best suits the technologies for bio-based green chemicals and materials, which is also reflected in the distribution of the tasks themselves, it is also quite fitting with other emerging ones. Polymer production and processing thus relates to activity that will be carried out towards the end of proposed project. Biotechnologically-produced compounds refer to certain input materials, in particular selected bio-based aromatic compounds. The improved production equipment with control is mainly related to the preparation of bio-based compounds, where the process (equipment/control) of preparation will be improved as well. This is certainly reflected in the current trends in chemical reaction engineering. The CaLiBration deliverables will be addressing the traditional markets of the paper and paper-processing industry, the textile industry, the automotive industry, the polymer industry, the adhesives and coatings industry, respectively.
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