UPM’s ValChem project has received EUR 13.1 million funding from the European Union. The total budget of the project is around EUR 18.5 million.
ValChem (Value added chemical building blocks and lignin from wood) is combining the competences of forest, chemical and bio-technology industries.
“We intend to demonstrate that an integrated biochemicals process covering the whole value chain is technically and economically viable. The aim is to produce to wood-based chemicals that are competitive with fossil alternatives in terms of quality and production costs,” says Juuso Konttinen, Vice President, UPM Biochemicals.
UPM will be completing the project in cooperation with Sekab, METabolic EXplorer and Technische Universität Darmstadt. ValChem utilises the existing demonstration plants of the project partners.
The project is based on SEKAB’s CelluAPP® technology to converse wood to sugars and to crude lignin.
In this project the technology will be combined with METabolic EXplorer’s sugar to MPG process. The largest markets for MPG (mono propylene glycol) are unsaturated polyester resins, paints and coatings, industrial use and personal care.
UPM and Technische Universität Darmstadt will develop jointly high value added lignin applications. Their end-uses are for example in the field of lignin-based reactive resins and composites.
The ValChem project has a great potential to become another alternative value chain for utilising the European forest resources.
“Each part of the process – wood-to-sugars for chemical production, production of bio-MPG from sugars, and production of lignin based performance chemicals – show progress well beyond the state-of-art,” tells Dirk Carrez, Executive Director of Bio-based Industries Consortium.
The ValChem project is part of the BBI Joint Undertaking: a new EUR 3.7 billion partnership between the EU and the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) aiming at increasing investment in the development of a sustainable bio-based industry sector in Europe. UPM is one of the founding members of BIC.