In Bionanopolys project, one of the objectives of is to upgrade the pilot lines concerning the extraction of raw materials from biomass and the production of nano-additives (Workpackage 3). These pilot plants are part of the Network 1 and once upgraded, they will propose their services in the Bionanopolys OITB.

This workpackage, led by CTP (Centre Technique du Papier), gathers all the following European partners in charge of pilot plants or providing technical support to the pilot plants: ACIB, BPF, BIOTREND, CEA, CENTI, CTP, IRIS, ITENE, PARTICULA, PWR and UGENT.

The Network 1 is composed of five pilot plants:

Pilot plant 1: Extraction of raw materials, monomers and oligomers from biomass

Partners have selected and characterized biomasses from different sources: wood chips or annual plants. Cooking and bleaching processes will be applied on these biomasses to separate the cellulose from the lignin. Heat fractionation followed by enzymatic pre-treatments will be performed on biomass and cellulose pulp to obtain solutions with high sugar contents. These sugars will be converted into lactic acid, succinic acid and butanediol using bioconversion processes. They will also be used to produce PHAs.

Pilot plant 2: Obtaining cellulose nanofibres and nanocrystals, nanolignins

Using the cellulose extracted from biomasses, three different processes will be used to produce cellulose nanofibres (CNF): supermasscoloider, homogenizer and twin-screw extruder. Efforts will be made to improve the production capacity of processes. The application of these processes enables to obtain CNF with different solid content (from 2-3 % to 20-30 %). The cellulose will also be used to produce cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) by acid hydrolysis. The lignin recovered after the cooking step will be used to produce the nanolignin.

Pilot plant 3: Block copolymers production

Starting from the raw material produced in pilot plant 1 (succinic acid, lactic acid, PHBV and 1,4-butanediol), block co-polymers will be synthetized and characterized. The polymerization reactor will be upgraded to increase the production capacity from 0.5 kg/day to a maximum of 10-12 kg/day. PBS-PLA-PBS and PHBV-PLA block copolymers were chosen to test the upgrading of the reactor.

Pilot plant 4: Metallic nanoparticles production

Silver nanoparticles will be produced by biotechnological or chemical processes. The adhesion of these particles with other nano-additives like CNF or nano-clays will be studied to be able to give advice on their combination in bionanoproducts developed in other workpackages.

Pilot plant 5: Functional nanocapsules production

Nanocapsules will be produced by the partners using different processes. The processes will be optimized to increase productivity. These nanocapsules will contain different active compounds to provide specific properties like antimicrobial or antioxidant. The active compounds and the raw materials come from different biomass sources.

All described processes will be optimized for new types of biomass, scaled-up or upgraded to propose good quality services through the OITB developed in the project. Moreover, the nano-additives developed in this workpackage will be then incorporated into the bionanocomposites developed in Network 2.