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BIO-HArT

Scaling up technology for the production of bio-aromatics

BIO-HArT, which stands for ‘Biorizon Innovation and Upscaling of Renewable Aromatics Technology’ in Dutch, is a project focused on the scaling up of technology for the production of aromatics from biomass. Specifically, the aim of the project is to deliver functioning bench scale demonstrators that can produce samples from wood, sugars and lignin for the industry on a kilogram scale. By demonstrating the technology on this scale, the confidence in the applicability of the technology on an industrial scale enhances and the risk to invest diminishes.
European Interreg Flanders-The Netherlands

Sustainable prospect for industry

Aromatics are one of the main raw materials used by the chemical industry: 40% of all chemicals are aromatic by nature. Traditionally, aromatics have been extracted from oil, which leads to the emission of CO2. BIO-HArT helps reduce dependency on oil by extracting aromatics from plant residues, leading to lower CO2 emissions. In this way, the BIO-HArT project provides profitable and sustainable prospects for the chemical and supply industry, which is fully in line with DSM’s mission to enable a low-carbon economy.

Cross-border open innovation

Developing, optimizing and scaling up technology for producing bio-aromatics is a challenge that demands a lot in terms of knowledge, experience, and facilities. That’s why, since 2016, DSM has worked closely with nine partners - Biorizon TNO, VITO, Avantium, Chemelot InSciTe, University of Antwerp, KU Leuven, Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant, Technical University Eindhoven, and Maastricht University. Together, the BIO-HArT partners have bundled their strengths following the principle of open innovation, resulting in the bench scale demonstrators at five different locations.

Interreg

This project is established by a contribution of the European Interreg Flanders-The Netherlands program that stimulates innovation, sustainable energy, a healthy environment, and the labour market by means of cross-border projects. Interreg contributes 50% of the budget. The provinces of North-Brabant, Antwerp, East-Flanders, and Flemish-Brabant offer additional funding.

Driving regional employment

The BIO-HArT project has made an important contribution to the further development of the Flemish-Dutch border region as a top location for the transition to a more sustainable, biobased economy and an efficient use of natural resources. In particular, the accelerated establishment of the project’s value chains - in which multiple feedstock suppliers, chemical companies and end users have been incorporated - has driven business and employment in the region.

Mid-term successes

By mid-2017 several key milestones had been achieved illustrating BIO-Hart’s progress:

  1. Protocols are established for bio-refining of several raw materials into sugars and lignin.
  2. Protocols and pilot installations are established for the conversion of wood, lignin, and sugar fractions into aromatic compounds.