Project code: PN-II-PCCA-2011-3.2-1367      Contract number: 31/2012
BIOBUILD Synthesis of some C4, C5 carboxilic acid building block chemicals from renewable biomass resources
Contracting authority: UEFISCDI - Unitatea Executiva pentru Finantarea Invatamantului Superior, a Cercetarii, Dezvoltarii si Inovarii

It is well known that the reserves of oil, natural gas and coal are limited. In contrast, biomass is a reliable resource for fuels and chemicals in the long term.
Supplementing petroleum consumption with renewable biomass resources is of critical importance in sustaining the growth of the chemical industry. A key to the chemical industries gradual shift toward the use of renewable biomass resources is the implementation of the biorefinery concept.
Similar to a petroleum refinery, a biorefinery integrates a variety of processing technologies to produce multiple bioproducts from various biomasses. In 2004 the US Department of Energy published the report "Top Value Added Chemicals from Biomass Volume I - Results of Screening for Potential Candidates from Sugars and Synthesis Gas".
Levulinic and succinic acids are the two target molecules, selected from the twelve building block chemicals identified by this report, for which we intend to develop in the frame of this project sustainable industrial synthetic routes based on sugar containig renewable resources.
A set of interconected technologies will be devised including:

  1. conversion of alternative biomasses (wood, potatoes, corn) to levulinic acid using combined ultrasound assisted heterogeneous catalytic process;
  2. synthesis of succinic acid from levulinic acid or furfural, main by-product of levulinic acid production, by novel heterogeneous catalytic processes;
  3. conversion of levulinic acid to methyltetrahydrofurane;
  4. conversion of glucose and/or glycerol to succinic acid by a fermentative process using novel genetically engineered E. coli strains.
In agreement with this tasks apropriate research groups, with complementing expertise in organic synthesis, catalysts design and preparation, process development, bioengineering and biotehnology have organised a consortium together with industrial parteners interested biomass valorisation.