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The Technical University of Hamburg and INRAE engage in a European project on biorefineries

The Technical University Of Hamburg And INRAE Engage In A European Project On Biorefineries

Two DECISIVE partners are involved in a project FLEXIBI which studies the potential of residues from agri– and horticulture, gardening and landscaping, as well as from post-consumer wood from peri-urban and urban areas as feedstocks for Small-Scale Flexi-Feed Biorefineries (SFB).

Together with the University of Hamburg, University of Helsinki, Catholic University of Leuven and the Forests Sciences and Research Institute, the consortium is using an integrated experimental and modelling approaches which evaluate the potential of biogenic residues and their mixtures for production of bio-based materials and local energy generation via different biorefinery processes.

The use of biomass from different feedstocks would allow the use of local and all-year available feedstocks to limit transportation and logistics issues while promoting local production of high value compounds, soil improvers and energy. FLEXIBI aims at designing a decision support tool assessing the different pathway for the establishment of SFBs by evaluating all parameters accounting to find sustainable solutions. Quantitative process modelling and knowledge engineering approaches are used to set-up the tool and value-creation oriented schemes for under-valorised residue-based bioresources. These will be used to support the SFB design on regional/local level .

The Challenge which was put in front of the FLEXIBI consotium was twofold: as a technical challenge, FLEXIBI would build a model able to evaluate pathways for processing of locally available bioresources with variable composition in time during the year to provide suggestions for a sustainable and efficient bioresource use. On the other side, as an organisational challenge, FLEXIBI aims at providing a decision support tool describing interactions between biorefinery stakeholders, e.g. biomass producers, bioproduct end-users, local policy makers, user association, etc.

In terms of approach, FLEXIBI will follow an integrated and multidisciplinary approach including experimental and modelling works as well as actions to connect with stakeholders from production, transformation and policy sector. On one side, knowledge engineering which would represent and model the relation between players relevant for implementation of SFBs based on knowledge from a multitude of stakeholder groups (i.e. commercial stakeholders, public authorities , organisations, scientists). On the other side, experimental assessment would help investigate three representative “model feedstocks” from the three different urban and peri-urban waste categories and their mixtures using selected biorefinery pathways for the transformation into different product categories variable in value and demand in order to gain systematic data sets for modelling. Furthermore, a quantitative process modelling would look at material and energy balances of different types of residues using various biorefinery pathways. The combination of the three approaches will result in a global decision support tool.

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