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Über dieses Buch

This book offers a comprehensive review on biomass resources, examples of biorefineries and corresponding products. The first part of this book covers topics such as different biorefinery resources from agriculture, wood processing residues and transport logistics of plant biomass. In the second part, expert contributors present biorefinery concepts of different biomass feedstocks, including vegetable-oils, sugarcane, starch, lignocellulose and microalgae. Readers will find here a summary of the syngas utilization and the bio-oil characterization and potential use as an alternative renewable fuel and source for chemical feedstocks. Particular attention is also given to the anaerobic digestion-based and Organosolv biorefineries. The last part of the book examines relevant products and components such as alcohols, hydrocarbons, bioplastics and lignin, and offers a sustainability evaluation of biorefineries.



Biorefineries: A Short Introduction

The terms bioeconomy and biorefineries are used for a variety of processes and developments. This short introduction is intended to provide a delimitation and clarification of the terminology as well as a classification of current biorefinery concepts. The basic process diagrams of the most important biorefinery types are shown.
Kurt Wagemann, Nils Tippkötter

Biomass Resources: Agriculture

Bioenergy is the single largest source of renewable energy in the European Union (EU-28); of this, 14% was produced from agricultural feedstocks in 2012. This chapter provides an overview of the current use (for bioenergy) and future potential of agricultural feedstocks for (amongst others) biorefinery purposes in the European Union. The main application of these feedstocks is currently the production of biofuels for road transport. Biodiesel makes up 80% of the European biofuel production, mainly from rapeseed oil, and the remaining part is bioethanol from wheat and sugar beet. Dedicated woody and grassy crops (mainly miscanthus and switchgrass) are currently only used in very small quantities for heat and electricity generation. There is great potential for primary agricultural residues (mainly straw) but currently only part of this is for heat and electricity generation. Agricultural land currently in use for energy crop cultivation in the EU-28 is 4.4 Mio ha, although the land area technically available in 2030 is estimated to be 16–43 Mio ha, or 15–40% of the current arable land in the EU-28. There is, however, great uncertainty on the location and quality of that land. It is expected that woody and grassy crops together with primary agricultural residues should become more important as agricultural feedstocks.
Ingeborg N. Kluts, Marnix L. J. Brinkman, Sierk A. de Jong, H. Martin Junginger

Wood Processing Residues

Rising demand for and scarcity of wood – together with cost savings and resource efficiency requirements – have led to a constant increase in the use of wood processing residues, where appropriate, in the production of wood-based products. This chapter presents/reviews the available information and existing knowledge of residues at various regional levels. It describes the segment of wood processing residues as an important wood resource and the availability of data on a national and on a global level for the quantification and the projection of the resource. The chapter points out the importance of empirical data (collection). Furthermore, it provides a terminology concept for a harmonised use of the diverse assortments and production stages of wood processing residues.
Ulrike Saal, Holger Weimar, Udo Mantau

Logistics of Lignocellulosic Feedstocks: Preprocessing as a Preferable Option

In comparison to crude oil, biorefinery raw materials are challenging in concerns of transport and storage. The plant raw materials are more voluminous, so that shredding and compacting usually are necessary before transport. These mechanical processes can have a negative influence on the subsequent biotechnological processing and shelf life of the raw materials. Various approaches and their effects on renewable raw materials are shown. In addition, aspects of decentralized pretreatment steps are discussed. Another important aspect of pretreatment is the varying composition of the raw materials depending on the growth conditions. This problem can be solved with advanced on-site spectrometric analysis of the material.
Nils Tippkötter, Sophie Möhring, Jasmine Roth, Helene Wulfhorst

Vegetable Oil-Biorefinery

Conventional vegetable oil mills are complex plants, processing oil, fruits, or seeds to vegetable fats and oils of high quality and predefined properties. Nearly all by-products are used. However, most of the high valuable plant substances occurring in oil fruits or seeds besides the oil are used only in low price applications (proteins as animal feeding material) or not at all (e.g., phenolics). This chapter describes the state-of-the-art of extraction and use of oilseed/oil fruit proteins and phyto-nutrients in order to move from a conventional vegetable oil processing plant to a proper vegetable oil-biorefinery producing a wide range of different high value bio-based products.
Frank Pudel, Sebastian Wiesen

From Current Algae Products to Future Biorefinery Practices: A Review

Microalgae are considered to be one of the most promising next generation bio-based/food feedstocks with a unique lipid composition, high protein content, and an almost unlimited amount of other bio-active molecules. High-value components such as the soluble proteins, (poly) unsaturated fatty acids, pigments, and carbohydrates can be used as an important ingredient for several markets, such as the food/feed/chemical/cosmetics and health industries. Although cultivation costs have decreased significantly in the last few decades, large microalgae production processes become economically viable if all complex compounds are optimally valorized in their functional state. To isolate these functional compounds from the biomass, cost-effective, mild, and energy-efficient biorefinery techniques need to be developed and applied. In this review we describe current microalgae biorefinery strategies and the derived products, followed by new technological developments and an outlook toward future products and the biorefinery philosophy.
Michel H. M. Eppink, Giuseppe Olivieri, Hans Reith, Corjan van den Berg, Maria J. Barbosa, Rene H. Wijffels


Concepts such as biorefinery and green chemistry focus on the usage of biomass, as with the oil value chain. However, it can cause less negative impact on the environment. A biorefinery based on sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) as feedstock is an example, because it can integrate into the same physical space, of processes for obtaining biofuels (ethanol), chemicals (from sugars or ethanol), electricity, and heat.
The use of sugarcane as feedstock for biorefineries is dictated by its potential to supply sugars, ethanol, natural polymers or macromolecules, organic matter, and other compounds and materials. By means of conversion processes (chemical, biochemical, and thermochemical), sugarcane biomass can be transformed into high-value bioproducts to replace petrochemicals, as a bioeconomy model.
Sílvio Vaz

Starch Biorefinery Enzymes

Nature uses enzymes to build and convert biomass; mankind uses the same enzymes and produces them on a large scale to make optimum use of biomass in biorefineries. Bacterial α-amylases and fungal glucoamylases have been the workhorses of starch biorefineries for many decades. Pullulanases were introduced in the 1980s. Proteases, cellulases, hemicellulases, and phytases have been on the market for a few years as process aids, improving yields, performance, and costs. Detailed studies of the complex chemical structures of biomass and of the physicochemical limitations of industrial biorefineries have led enzyme developers to produce novel tailor-made solutions for improving yield and profitability in the industry. This chapter reviews the development of enzyme applications in the major starch biorefining processes.
Albrecht Läufer

Organosolv Processes

Biofuels and chemicals can be produced from lignocellulosic feedstocks using biotechnological processes. The effective utilization of carbohydrates from biomass for the production of biofuels necessitates the development of pretreatment technologies to enhance their enzymatic digestibility. Among all the various pretreatment methods currently studied and developed, the organosolv processes, in which organic solvents or aqueous organic solvent mixtures are used as the pretreatment medium, appear to be specially promising in the context of the biorefinery because (1) they produce cellulosic pulp with a good enzymatic digestibility for monomeric glucose production and (2) they allow a clean fractionation of the major biomass components (cellulose, lignin, and hemicelluloses) into three process streams. In this chapter we give an updated overview of organosolv methods using conventional solvents and ionic liquids which have recently gained considerable interest as solvents for lignocellulosic biomass and pretreatment.
Nicolas Brosse, Mohd Hazwan Hussin, Afidah Abdul Rahim

Lignocellulose-Biorefinery: Ethanol-Focused

The development prospects of the world markets for petroleum and other liquid fuels are diverse and partly contradictory. However, comprehensive changes for the energy supply of the future are essential. Notwithstanding the fact that there are still very large deposits of energy resources from a geological point of view, the finite nature of conventional oil reserves is indisputable. To reduce our dependence on oil, the EU, the USA, and other major economic zones rely on energy diversification. For this purpose, alternative materials and technologies are being sought, and is most obvious in the transport sector. The objective is to progressively replace fossil fuels with renewable and more sustainable fuels. In this respect, biofuels have a pre-eminent position in terms of their capability of blending with fossil fuels and being usable in existing cars without substantial modification. Ethanol can be considered as the primary renewable liquid fuel. In this chapter enzymes, micro-organisms, and processes for ethanol production based on renewable resources are described.
A. Duwe, N. Tippkötter, R. Ulber

Synthesis Gas Biorefinery

Synthesis gas or syngas is an intermediate, which can be produced by gasification from a variety of carbonaceous feedstocks including biomass. Carbon monoxide and hydrogen, the main constituents of syngas, can be subjected to a broad range of chemical and microbial synthesis processes, leading to gaseous and liquid hydrocarbon fuels as well as to platform and fine chemicals. Gasification of solid biomass differs from coal gasification by chemical composition, heating value, ash behavior, and other technical and biomass related issues. By thermochemical pre-treatment of lignocellulose as the most abundant form of biomass, for example, by torrefaction or fast pyrolysis, energy dense fuels for gasification can be obtained, which can be used in the different types of gasifiers available today. A number of pilot and demonstration plants exist, giving evidence of the broad technology portfolio developed so far. Therefore, a syngas biorefinery is highly flexible in regard to feedstock and product options. However, the technology is complex and does not result in competitive production costs today. Added value can be generated by suitable integration of thermochemical, biochemical, and chemical processes.
N. Dahmen, E. Henrich, T. Henrich

Syngas Biorefinery and Syngas Utilization

Autotrophic acetogenic bacteria are able to capture carbon (CO or CO2) through gas fermentation, allowing them to grow on a spectrum of waste gases from industry (e.g., steel manufacture and oil refining, coal, and natural gas) and to produce ethanol. They can also consume syn(thesis) gas (CO and H2) made from the gasification of renewable/sustainable resources, such as biomass and domestic/agricultural waste. Acetogenic gas fermentation can, therefore, produce ethanol in any geographic region without competing for food or land. The commercialization of the process is now at an advanced stage. The real potential of acetogens, however, resides in their capacity to produce chemicals and fuels other than ethanol. This requires the redesign and implementation of more efficient metabolic pathways, adapting them to high performing manufacturing processes. Respective species, their bioenergetics, the genetic tools developed for their metabolic engineering, culture techniques and fermenter set-ups, as well as the commercialization, are comprehensively described and discussed in this chapter.
Sashini De Tissera, Michael Köpke, Sean D. Simpson, Christopher Humphreys, Nigel P. Minton, Peter Dürre

Anaerobic Digestion

The term anaerobic digestion usually refers to the microbial conversion of organic material to biogas, which mainly consists of methane and carbon dioxide. The technical application of the naturally-occurring process is used to provide a renewable energy carrier and – as the substrate is often waste material – to reduce the organic matter content of the substrate prior to disposal.
Applications can be found in sewage sludge treatment, the treatment of industrial and municipal solid wastes and wastewaters (including landfill gas utilization), and the conversion of agricultural residues and energy crops.
For biorefinery concepts, the anaerobic digestion (AD) process is, on the one hand, an option to treat organic residues from other production processes. Concomitant effects are the reduction of organic carbon within the treated substance, the conversion of nitrogen and sulfur components, and the production of an energy-rich gas – the biogas. On the other hand, the multistep conversion of complex organic material offers the possibility of interrupting the conversion chain and locking out intermediates for utilization as basic material within the chemical industry.
Jan Liebetrau, Heike Sträuber, Jörg Kretzschmar, Velina Denysenko, Michael Nelles

Pyrolysis Oil Biorefinery

In biorefineries several conversion processes for biomasses may be applied to obtain maximum value from the feed materials. One viable option is the liquefaction of lignocellulosic feedstocks or residues by fast pyrolysis. The conversion technology requires rapid heating of the biomass particles along with rapid cooling of the hot vapors and aerosols. The main product, bio-oil, is obtained in yields of up to 75 wt% on a dry feed basis, together with by-product char and gas which are used within the process to provide the process heat requirements; there are no waste streams other than flue gas and ash. Bio-oils from fast pyrolysis have a great potential to be used as renewable fuel and/or a source for chemical feedstocks. Existing technical reactor designs are presented together with actual examples. Bio-oil characterization and various options for bio-oil upgrading are discussed based on the potential end-use. Existing and potential utilization alternatives for bio-oils are presented with respect to their use for heat and power generation as well as chemical and material use.
Dietrich Meier

Products Components: Alcohols

Alcohols (CnHn+2OH) are classified into primary, secondary, and tertiary alcohols, which can be branched or unbranched. They can also feature more than one OH-group (two OH-groups = diol; three OH-groups = triol). Presently, except for ethanol and sugar alcohols, they are mainly produced from fossil-based resources, such as petroleum, gas, and coal. Methanol and ethanol have the highest annual production volume accounting for 53 and 91 million tons/year, respectively. Most alcohols are used as fuels (e.g., ethanol), solvents (e.g., butanol), and chemical intermediates.
This chapter gives an overview of recent research on the production of short-chain unbranched alcohols (C1–C5), focusing in particular on propanediols (1,2- and 1,3-propanediol), butanols, and butanediols (1,4- and 2,3-butanediol). It also provides a short summary on biobased higher alcohols (>C5) including branched alcohols.
Henning Kuhz, Anja Kuenz, Ulf Prüße, Thomas Willke, Klaus-Dieter Vorlop

Biotechnological Production of Organic Acids from Renewable Resources

Biotechnological processes are promising alternatives to petrochemical routes for overcoming the challenges of resource depletion in the future in a sustainable way. The strategies of white biotechnology allow the utilization of inexpensive and renewable resources for the production of a broad range of bio-based compounds. Renewable resources, such as agricultural residues or residues from food production, are produced in large amounts have been shown to be promising carbon and/or nitrogen sources. This chapter focuses on the biotechnological production of lactic acid, acrylic acid, succinic acid, muconic acid, and lactobionic acid from renewable residues, these products being used as monomers for bio-based material and/or as food supplements. These five acids have high economic values and the potential to overcome the “valley of death” between laboratory/pilot scale and commercial/industrial scale. This chapter also provides an overview of the production strategies, including microbial strain development, used to convert renewable resources into value-added products.
Daniel Pleissner, Donna Dietz, Jozef Bernhard Johann Henri van Duuren, Christoph Wittmann, Xiaofeng Yang, Carol Sze Ki Lin, Joachim Venus

Microbial Hydrocarbon Formation from Biomass

Fossil carbon sources mainly contain hydrocarbons, and these are used on a huge scale as fuel and chemicals. Producing hydrocarbons from biomass instead is receiving increased attention. Achievable yields are modest because oxygen atoms need to be removed from biomass, keeping only the lighter carbon and hydrogen atoms. Microorganisms can perform the required conversions, potentially with high selectivity, using metabolic pathways that often end with decarboxylation. Metabolic and protein engineering are used successfully to achieve hydrocarbon production levels that are relevant in a biorefinery context. This has led to pilot or demo processes for hydrocarbons such as isobutene, isoprene, and farnesene. In addition, some non-hydrocarbon fermentation products are being further converted into hydrocarbons using a final chemical step, for example, ethanol into ethene. The main advantage of direct microbial production of hydrocarbons, however, is their potentially easy recovery because they do not dissolve in fermentation broth.
Adrie J. J. Straathof, Maria C. Cuellar


The number of newly developed bioplastics has increased sharply in recent years and innovative polymer materials are increasingly present on the plastics market. Bioplastics are not, however, a completely new kind of material, but rather a rediscovered class of materials within the familiar group of materials known as plastics. Therefore, existing knowledge from the plastics sector can and should be transferred to bioplastics in order to further increase their performance, material diversity and market penetration.
Hans-Josef Endres

Biotechnological and Biochemical Utilization of Lignin

This chapter provides an overview of the biosynthesis and structure of lignin. Moreover, examples of the commercial use of lignin and its promising future implementation are briefly described. Many applications are still hampered by the properties of technical lignins. Thus, the major challenge is the conversion of lignins into suitable building blocks or aromatics in order to open up new avenues for the usage of this renewable raw material. This chapter focuses on details about natural lignin degradation by fungi and bacteria, which harbor potential tools for lignin degradation and modification, which might help to develop eco-efficient processes for lignin utilization.
Dominik Rais, Susanne Zibek

Sustainability Evaluation

The long-term substitution of fossil resources can only be achieved through a bio-based economy, with biorefineries and bio-based products playing a major role. However, it is important to assess the implications of the transition to a bio-based economy. Life cycle-based sustainability assessment is probably the most suitable approach to quantify impacts and to identify trade-offs at multiple levels. The extended utilisation of biomass can cause land use change and affect food security of the most vulnerable people throughout the world. Although this is mainly a political issue and governments should be responsible, the responsibility is shifted to companies producing biofuels and other bio-based products. Organic wastes and lignocellulosic biomass are considered to be the preferred feedstock for the production of bio-based products. However, it is unlikely that a bio-based economy can rely only on organic wastes and lignocellulosic biomass.
It is crucial to identify potential problems related to socio-economic and environmental issues. Currently there are many approaches to the sustainability of bio-based products, both quantitative and qualitative. However, results of different calculation methods are not necessarily comparable and can cause confusion among decision-makers, stakeholders and the public.
Hence, a harmonised, globally agreed approach would be the best solution to secure sustainable biomass/biofuels/bio-based chemicals production and trade, and to avoid indirect effects (e.g. indirect land use change). However, there is still a long way to go.
Generally, the selection of suitable indicators that serve the purpose of sustainability assessment is very context-specific. Therefore, it is recommended to use a flexible and modular approach that can be adapted to various purposes. A conceptual model for the selection of sustainability indicators is provided that facilitates identifying suitable sustainability indicators based on relevance and significance in a given context.
Heinz Stichnothe


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