|Programme||Horizon Europe, FNR-16-2020|
|Category||Research and Innovation Action (RIA)|
|Period||2021 - 2025|
|Links||Cordis, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook|
Valorisation of Challenging FeedstocksThe challenges in processing lignocellulosic materials are large and complex, but significant advances have been made in recent decades. In many cases the most significant advances have been made for the less-challenging lignocellulosic feedstocks, for example certain types of woods and agricultural residues which are primarily composed of the main components of interest for valorisation (e.g. cellulose and hemicellulose).
Production of Novel Biobased ProductsHistorically, research projects focused on the development of bioprocesses for lignocellulosic feedstocks have focused on a relatively narrow range of target products. These typically include biofuels (e.g. ethanol, butanol etc.) and a number of conventional biobased platform chemicals (e.g. lactic acid, succinic acid etc.).
Consolidation of Process NodesBioprocesses can often involve multiple stages across the entire value chain, starting from the initial handling of the feedstock to the final separation and purification stages for the targeted product(s). Each additional stage of a bioprocess can lead to an increased cost (CAPEX and OPEX) and complexity of the process. An ideal bioprocess would minimise the number of stages without compromising on the yield and quality of the outputs.
Improved Process EfficienciesInnovations in reactor design and the engineering of biological systems can lead to signficant improvements in the efficiency of a process in many different ways. For example, reactor systems capable of handling higher solid-loadings would potentially allow for the final products to be obtained in higher titres, reducing the energy, consumable, and capital costs associated with product recovery.
Viable Small-Scale ProcessesMany bioprocesses require economies-of-scale to be economically viable. For example, several of the commercial-scale lignocellulose to bioethanol biorefineries that were built in the USA, using both the biological and thermochemical platforms, required the processing of hundreds of thousands of tonnes of feedstock in order to produce biofuels at a price that would allow the facilities to provide a return on their capital investments.
Improved Biobased ContentsDespite the huge advances that have been made in recent years regarding the production of biobased chemicals and biomaterials, there are still many products that are primarily reliant on fossil-fuels for their production. For example, to date it has been extremely challenging to produce paints and coatings that are primarily biobased.
Compositional AnalysisThe Celignis team are highly experienced in a wide array of methods for the compositional analysis of biomass and process intermediates and outputs/residues for lignocellulosic and thermal properties. Our expertise also extends to seaweed, algae, and a large variety of functional molecules many of which have large future potential in substituting for the use of fossil fuels in the production of consumer and industrial products.
Fermentation OptimisationMicrobial conversion of sugars to chemicals and fuels is considered advantageous over chemical processes, but is a challenging area due to the high number of variables involved in the process. Fermentation process development involves: selection of microbes to produce the desired product, screening of microbes, media engineering, process optimisation, scale-up, downstream designing, etc. Screening and optimisation involve hundreds of runs which is labour and time intensive. Know-how in the area of microbiology, bioprocess engineering and design of experiments (DOE) can significantly reduce the number of experimental runs and time involved in the preliminary screening and optimisation process.
Modification of PolysaccharidesAn efficient extraction process is only one component in developing value-added products from polysaccharides. In many cases further treatment of the polymer is required in order to confer the physical and chemical properties that are required for the desired application/market. Such properties that can be influences with these modifications include the the rheology and water-resistance of the polymers.
Biomass Pretreatment and FractionationBased on our bioprocessing and compositional expertise, we have a very good understanding of how to optimise biomass pretreatment processes. We also have a very strong understanding of the chemistry of biomass and how to evaluate the conversion and valorisation of the main constituents of lignocellulosic biomass (cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin). We target mass-closure in our analysis so that the full mechanisms of conversion can be understood and we have a suite of analytical methods to characterise process liquids for monomers, oligomers, sugar degradation products, and fermentability. Our CBE project UNRAVEL concerns the development of a pretreatment process and Celignis plays a key role in the project regarding the analysis of the products of pre-treatment and by investigating the influence of extractives in biomass pretreatment. In our completed BBI project BIOrescue we also analysed the solid and liquid outputs of biomass pretreatment and developed rapid analysis models for them using near infrared spectroscopy.
Anaerobic Digestion and FermentationWe have years of experience in various types of anaerobic fermentation and anaerobic digestion for the production of chemicals and fuels. The team has knowledge and experience in isolation and handling of Clostridial strains and clostridial fermentations for the production of hydrogen, organic acids and solvents. Celignis's CIO Lalitha Gottumukkala has published several articles in the area of Clostridial fermentation, especially for biobutanol. Celignis’s AD expert Kwame has optimised the process for sequential production of bioethanol and biogas from paper sludge as part of his Process Engineering Research Masters in Stellenbosch University, South Africa and has published articles on the same.
Discovery and Use of Enzymes
Identification, Extraction, and Purification of High Value Chemicals in Biomass
Real-Time Analysis of Feedstocks and Process Outputs
Current Research Projects Involving Celignis and Bioprocess Development
Previous Research Projects Involving Celignis and Bioprocess Development
|Period||2019 - 2022|
Has a deep understanding of all biological and chemical aspects of bioproceses. Has developed Celignis into a renowned provider of bioprocess development services to a global network of clients.
A dynamic, purpose-driven chemical engineer with expertise in bioprocess development, process design, simulation and techno-economic analysis over several years in the bioeconomy sector.
PhD (Analytical Chemistry)
Dreamer and achiever. Took Celignis from a concept in a research project to being the bioeconomy's premier provider of analytical and bioprocessing expertise.