BIORAF: Competence centre for biorefining research

(2012-2019)

Logo_Bioraf

Project overview

BIORAF project (TE01020080), supported by the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic, fits in so called “green chemistry” projects. It is focused on conversion of biomass to high value products and alternative energy sources. Due to new refining procedures development of innovative nutritional supplements, feed additives, fertilizers, new generation biofuels as well as generation of energy from microbial, plant and animal biomass will be enabled. Biorefining offers unique and sustainable approach for fossil fuels’ replacement at minimal environmental impacts and utilization of the whole biomass potential.

Grass Miscanthus × giganteus Endophytic fungus Helminthosporium velutinum Algae: Trachydiscus minutus

 

BIORAF project initiated in 2012 creates an interdisciplinary platform with high innovation potential for sustainable employment of renewable sources. It aims at gaining leading position in the biorefining field in the Czech Republic within eight years. The project brings together private sector with experts from diverse research areas (botany, analytical chemistry, enzymology, chemical, biochemical and materials engineering etc.). Within the project scope, sustainable cultivation of biomass producing plants will be explored that will not compete with food crops production. New environmental-friendly biorefining processes will be developed to obtain high value products, creating thus new market opportunities for cooperating enterprises together with new job vacancies. New technologies will be verified in demonstration and pilot plant scale units and new products commercialized.

Processing of the three major biomass inputs, i.e. algal, higher plants’ and animal biomass will  be explored in specific yet mutually linked work packages. The overall flowchart of the Centre is depicted bellow (only in Czech).

 

 

Within the Institute of Botany ASCR two research teams coordinated by Dr. M. Vosátka participate in the project. The team in Třeboň is focused on selection and cultivation of freshwater algal strains for production of biomass with high omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids, carotenoids and other valuable bioactive compounds. This source of biomass will be further used for feed additives, nutritional supplements or serve as a raw material for production of biopolymers. The team in Průhonice targets at identification and cultivation of biomass efficient crops concomitantly providing valuable bioactive compounds. After refining, the biomass of higher plants will be used for hydrolytic-fermentation conversion to biofuels or eventually pelletized to standard and certified biofuel. This simultaneous utilization of biomass for low and high value products should improve profitability of growing the selected crops and introduce new valuable products within nutraceutical, cosmetics and plant protection products markets.

Project aims

Following project aims were defined:

  • to create an interdisciplinary centre with high innovation potential for sustainable use of renewable sources and to bring Czech Republic to a forefront of the next generation biorefining research within eight years
  • to interconnect experts from diverse research areas – botany, phycology, analytical chemistry, enzymology, microbiology, chemical and biochemical engineering, materials engineering (biocomposites) and life-cycle experts with private sector
  • to secure sustainable biomass sources not competing with food crops
  • to develop new advanced environmental-friendly biomass-refining  procedures oriented on the generation of  high value products
  • to strengthen competition abilities of  cooperating enterprises and to create new job vacancies
  • to verify new technologies at demonstration and pilot plant scale units and to commercialize new products
  • to create new intellectual property in the biorefining field within four years and to provide its transfer from research sphere to commercial sphere thus increasing export opportunities of the Czech Republic
  • to support Czech agriculture and industry and to create important investing opportunities to the new technologies with high social-economy impact
  • to educate university students and commencing researchers in new industrial fields and to create new job vacancies for their employment
  • to increase independence of the Czech Republic on fossil fuels and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

 

Organization scheme of the Centre

Joint organizations:
The Institute of Chemical Process Fundamentals (http://www.icpf.cas.cz/en)
The Institute of Chemical Technology, Prague (http://www.vscht.cz/)
The Institute of Botany of the ASCR, v.v.i. (http://www.ibot.cas.cz/en/)
Rabbit Trhový Štěpánov, a.s. (http://www.rabbit.cz/)
Agra Group, a.s. (http://www.agra.cz/en-firma/about-us.html)
Briklis, spol. s r.o. (http://legacy.briklis.cz/e_index.php)
EcoFuel Laboratories, spol. s r.o. (http://www.ecofuel.cz/)

The project management is realized by the established Centre bodies: director, scientific director, project manager, Centre board and scientific board of the Centre.

Director of the Centre and project manager: Ing. Petr Kaštánek, Ph.D.
Scientific director of the Centre: Ing. Olga Šolcová, DrSc.
Technological director of the Centre: Prof. Ing. Jiří Hanika, DrSc.

 

Scientific board
Prof. Ing. Jiří Drahoš, DrSc. – president of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
Prof. Ing. František Kaštánek, DrSc. – director emeritus ICPF AS CR
Ing. Ladislav Novák – director of the Association of the Chemical Industry of the Czech Republic
Ing. Miroslav Punčochář, DSc. – director ICPF AS CR
Prof. Ing. Tomáš Ruml, CSc. – Dean of  Faculty of Food and Biochemical Technology, ICT Prague
Prof. Ing. Karel Ulbrich, DrSc. – vice-chairman of the Scientific board ASCR, the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry of ASCR

 

Centre board
Director of the Centre and project manager: Ing. Petr Kaštánek, Ph.D.
Scientific director of the Centre: Ing. Olga Šolcová, DSc.

ICPF deputy: – Prof. Ing. Jiří Hanika, DrSc.
ICT deputy: – Prof. Ing. Karel Melzoch, CSc.
IBOT deputy: – RNDr. Miroslav Vosátka, CSc.
Rabbit deputy: – Ing. Zdeněk Jandejsek, CSc.
Agra group deputy: – Mgr. Jiří Kopenec
Briklis deputy: – Aleš Svátek
EcoFuel laboratories deputy: – Ing. Jiří Rott

Project web pages (http://bioraf.icpf.cas.cz/) will provide up-to-date information about projects results, milestones and events.