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The main aim of PERCAL European project is to develop intermediate chemical products with huge industrial interest (bioethanol, lactic acid, succinic acid and biosurfactants) at high yield and purity, by using the organic fraction of municipal solid waste (MSW) as raw material. These products will be used as chemical building blocks to manufacture eco-friendly ethyl lactate, hot melt adhesives, biopolyester-polyols for the production of polyurethanes, as well as the biosurfactants from lipid’s and protein’s remaining fraction of biowaste.

In further detail, the specific objectives of the project are:

  • To improve enzymes cocktails to maximize organic hydrolysis for several MSW compositions.
  • To determine the suitability of a given MSW organic composition for different chemicals.
  • To study the production and purification of lactic acid from MSW using sequential and simultaneous saccharification and fermentation.
  • To study the production and in-line purification of succinic acid from MSW using membrane electrolysis technology.
  • To valorise the fermentation by-products in order to increase the recovery from the organic content of MSW by 25 %.
  • To extend esterification to a continuous process with a yield of 3-5L/h with a product purity higher than 90%.
  • To produce hot melts based on lactic acid for application in cardboard and labels by reactive extrusion with similar resistance to analog EVA HMA.
  • To produce polyether and polyether polyols for application in polyurethanes (PUR). The objective is 1,000 MW, compatible with petrol-based polyester/polyether polyols.
  • To study the integration of in-line control technologies to the PERSEO pilot plant to increase its process control parameters, its versatility & maximize homogeneity of the fermentable feedstock
  • To demonstrate safety and regulatory compliance, as well as the environment and economic sustainability of developed processes and products
  • To define sustainable value chains and cross-sectorial connections
  • To maximize the innovation impacts of the project for contributing to the uptake of the project results for companies’ business and employment growth

PERCAL consortium has a well-balanced composition. It brings together a wealth of expertise and resources within the areas, including partners that propose the best solutions to maximize the valorization of the different components of MSW. The presence of main actors in the whole value chain demonstrates the critical mass of complimentary resources that will enable the PERCAL project to achieve its targeted societal, industrial, and scientific breakthroughs and commercial success. This way, the international PERCAL consortium is composed of 12 organisations: IMECAL, AIMPLAS and CENER (Spain), Agricultural University of Athens (Greece), ATB Potsdam and Covestro (Germany), Ghent University (Belgium), TBW Research (Austria), VISUM (Ireland), SOFTER Group (Italy), Hayat Kimya (Turkey) and Exergy (United Kingdom).

CENER is leading the research line related to the production of biosurfactants by valorising the residual fraction remaining from bioethanol, lactic acid and succinic acid production. In further detail, in a first step CENER hydrolyzes and extracts the protein and lipid fraction from the residues of MSW hydrolization and fermentation. Afterwards, CENER synthesizes the biosurfactant, so that it can be finally validated in relevant industrial applications by industrial partners.

More information:

Chemical building blocks from versatile MSW biorefinery

Project website

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