The processing of biomass for food and non-food applications in the bioeconomy results in large amounts of lignocellulose based residues that are up to now nearly used. the slow degrading lignin component is up to now not used at all and offers a strong potential for the production of fossil-fuel like aromatic moleucles. These bio-based molecules can replace toxic components (e.g. bisphenolA) or dangerous processes (e.g. fosgene) in existing (or new) polymer applications. On top of it it can lead to more innovative and performant polymers with new characteristics.
Therefore the Flemish partneers University Ghent (UGent) and University Antwerp (UA) will combine efforts woioth the Vietnamese partners INPC-VAST and HCM-CPEE to valorize the lignin fraction of rice straw by extracting it from the biomass and frament it into pehneolic or other aromatic compounds for fine chemistry and polymer chemistry. the strenght of the project results from a tandem hydrolysis via selective enzymes and chemical catalysts and the integration with a membrane based separation process. The enzymatic and chemical fragmentation will lead to new monomers, oligomers and small polymers mixtures (cross linkers, anti-oxidants, fillers, monomer building blocks etc.) that can be applied in several applications (wood panels, textile, tyres, inks, coatings, emulsifiers, polymers etc.).