New membrane filters bio-aromatics from sawdust

Research platform Biorizon wants to make the chemistry sector more sustainable by using biomass as a resource. Biorizon's first project was OP-South, for which VITO and TNO studied the conversion of sugar and lignin into bio-aromatics.
Aromatic compounds, or aromatics for short, are amongst the most frequently used substances in the chemical industry.

However, the majority of these aromatics are still made from crude oil. Within Biorizon, a research platform founded in 2013, VITO and its Dutch partners TNO and Green Chemistry Campus develop new, sustainable technologies to produce bio-based aromatics.
The expertise of the Dutch and Belgian partners was bundled in 2013 in the OP-South project. In this project, TNO concentrated on the valorisation of sugars and VITO focused on the potential of lignin (sawdust) as biomass.

VITO's role in the project

Through innovative membrane filtration, the VITO research team succeeded in isolating the chemical component furfural (a resource for chemical substances and medicines). The fractioning of complex lignin derivates was also executed successfully.

Biorizon – OP-SOUTH: facts & figures
  • Partner project of TNO, Green Chemistry Campus and VITO
  • Duration: Jan 2013 - Jan 2014
  • Budget: €2,500,000
Aromatic compounds, or aromatics for short, are amongst the most frequently used substances in the chemical industry.