BioSA: Production of Bio-Succinic Acid from Apple Pomace Using an Environmental Approach

Sara González-García, Lucía Argiz, Patricia Míguez, Beatriz Gullón

Fermentation-derived bio-succinic acid (BioSA) is a valuable intermediate; it is used as a chemical building block, and has multiple industrial applications as an alternative to petroleum counterparts.

The aim of this study was to develop a full-scale plant to produce BioSA from apple pomace, a low-cost solid waste from the cider- and juice-making industry, based on a biorefinery concept, and to determine its environmental profile using a cradle- to-factory-gate, scaled-up LCA approach.

Foreground data used in this LCA were based on mass and energy flows, modelled in detail.

The production process was divided into three stages:

  1. reconditioning and storage;
  2. fermentation with Actinobacillus succinogenes;
  3. purification.

The results indicate that the use of enzymes is responsible for the highest environmental burdens, due to their highly energy-intensive background production processes. When these were excluded from the analysis (following other studies available in the literature), the purification stage played an environmentally significant role, due to the extraction and distillation units involved. The electricity use and the requirements for organic solvents in these operations make up the largest environmental burdens. Thus, approaches with the highest potential for improvement must involve both operations.

Alternatives for improvement are proposed that offer interesting potential reductions in the environmental profile, especially at the purification stage.

Click here to read the article.

Invitation to participate in STAR-ProBio’s Delphi survey

STAR-ProBio’s work package on market assessment includes the identification and overview of sustainability assessment factors from the point of view of consumers. The market assessment builds upon foresight methods, such as focus group activities and a three-round Delphi study to identify the demand for new sustainability criteria that are easily understood by the different consumer groups and relevant to their needs. The Delphi survey was implemented in May 2018. It addresses two main groups of stakeholders: professionals and end-consumers.

Your opinion, dear reader, is much appreciated. Therefore, we would like to invite you to participate in the survey.

Link to the survey for professionals: https://inno.limequery.com/999623

Link to the survey for end-consumers: https://inno.limequery.com/773451

We are looking forward to receiving your input.

Bioeconomy Village @Unitelma Sapienza, Rome 2018

What is bioeconomy? What are bio-based products? Is it possible to make more sustainable choices for the environment and for our health?

Visit the BIOECONOMY VILLAGE on May 24th from 11 am to 4 pm to discover it!

In the context of the Festival of Sustainable Development 2018, the main Italian contribution to the EUROPEAN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT WEEK, we’ll wait for you at Unitelma Sapienza (Viale Regina Elena, 295).

Promoted by the BIOWAYS, STAR-ProBio, BIOVOICES and EXCornsEED projects, funded by the European Commission, the BIOECONOMY VILLAGE aims to raise awareness among the public, improve knowledge about bio-based products and promote the applications and the benefits of bioeconomy, circular economy and sustainability, fostering dialogue, discussion and sharing between the general public, researchers and companies. Through research and products samples and practical demonstrations, will be showcased to the visitors, in a simple and engaging way, how bioeconomy is increasingly part of our daily lives and how consumers’ choices can have a positive impact on the environment, society and the economy. Innovative tools such as games (serious games, video games and quizzes) will be used.

CNR, APRE, UNITELMA Sapienza, La Sapienza,  FVA New Media Research, Ecozema, Minimo Impatto, BY-entO, Algaria (Spireat) will be present, together with the European projects BIOVoices, BIOWAYS, STAR-ProBio, EXCornsEED, Leguval Biobottle.

UWM Internal Seminar

The UWM Internal Seminar “Sustainability Transition Assessment and Research of Bio-based Products: Progression and Shortcomings of Current Sustainability Standards of Bio-based Products” took place on the 22nd of March at the campus of the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn.

The goal of the seminar, consisting of 9 presentations on the scientific disciplines of agriculture, environmental management, economics and law, was to discuss research and activities performed within the STAR-ProBio project.

The event attracted 17 participants.

STAR-ProBio on BIOWATCH!

BIOWAYS project launched BIOWATCH, an online, interactive platform that provides projects in the bioeconomy sector with a free service to position themselves alongside one another and communicate their results directly to industry, political stakeholders, the media and the general public in an engaging and accessible format.

The overall aim of BIOWATCH is to raise awareness of bio-based projects and bio-products, and also promote further collaboration between research bodies, organisations and universities.

In this online research library, projects are presented in the form of multi-media digital brochures, named SEEDs. Please click here to see STAR-ProBio SEED.

First STAR-ProBio Focus Group Webinar

STAR-ProBio’s first Focus Group Webinar on Sustainability Assessment Factors for Bio-Based Products took place on January 29, 2018.

The discussion was moderated by Luana Ladu (TU Berlin) and comprised experts with a EU perspective and representatives from various stakeholder groups from Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain and The Netherlands.

Five questions built the foundation for the discussions:

  • Which sustainability parameters/criteria should be considered by a sustainability assessment scheme for bio-based products?
  • Which factors should be mandatory in such a scheme and which ones should be voluntary?
  • Are particular parameters/criteria needed to assess specific bio-based products/product groups?
  • How should the compliance of these parameters be communicated to consumers?
  • Which particular needs regarding sustainability assessment parameters/criteria does your specific stakeholder group have?

The key conclusions of the event were summarized as follows:

1 Fossil-based products should be subject to the same sustainability criteria as bio-based products.

2 The only main difference for bio-based products is that the raw material is biomass. Therefore additional criteria regarding the production of biomass could/should be added.

3 Sustainability criteria for biomass for bio-based products should/could be similar to those applying to biomass for energy applications where binding criteria exist.

4 Regarding whether there should be a minimum percentage of bio-based content, different influencing factors have to be considered; in particular technology issues and consumers’ expectations.

5 Environmental criteria are more obvious than social and economic criteria.

6 The origin of biomass is also of importance (as shown by the bioenergy discussion).

7 Criteria that were explicitly referred to included: GHG emissions, bio-based content, and health-related aspects.

The results will enrich the current sources for the preparation of a Delphi survey and also support various other current project activities.

More Focus Group activities on specific stakeholder- and product-related topics will take place within the duration of the project.