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The development of new bio-refining technologies based on agricultural waste is seen as key to reducing Europe's dependency on fossil-based products. According to a White Paper by the International Council on Clean Transportation, about 144 million tonnes of wheat residues accumulate each year in the EU. Supported by the EU-funded OPTISOCHEM project, researchers have made significant progress in transforming this excess material into something more useful: bio-isobutene, or bio-IBN, a key precursor for numerous chemicals.
The project involves several processes such as the conversion of wheat straw into hydrolysate and its fermentation into isobutene. This material is then converted into oligomers and polymers. A press release by project coordinator Global Bioenergies states that "currently underutilized residual wheat straw has been converted at demo scale into second generation renewable bio-isobutene, and will eventually be transformed into oligomers and polymers usable in lubricants, rubbers, cosmetics, solvents, plastics, or fuels applications."
Press - Release - Jean-François - Boideau - EMEA
Quoted in the same press release, Jean-François Boideau, EMEA Commercial General Manager at project partner INEOS Oligomers, says: "To date, we received several batches of bio-isobutene from Global Bioenergies for qualification purpose[s], and the quality is promising. During the next phase of the project, INEOS is ready to evaluate conversion of additional quantities of bio-isobutene into downstream products in order to assess the potential of this bio-based feedstock as a building block for end consumer applications." Frederic Pâques, COO of Global Bioenergies, adds: "We expect to produce...
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