Bio4Energy researchers with expertise in biochemical conversion technologies and wood pre-processing are at the helm of two new projects to develop prebiotics and commercial fish feed, and fungi and biofuels, respectively, from bio-based starting materials. Both are three-year projects granted in the 2017 round of funding for innovation projects by BioInnovation, a Swedish national platform for bio-based innovations, and have a substantial line-up of commercial companies as partners.
The first project, called ForceUpValue for short, aims at demonstrating the production of low-cost prebiotics—food or feed ingredients that, once in the gut, induce the growth of microorganisms and which activity can have a positive effects on human health—starting from two abundantly available sources of bio-based feedstock: Forestry residues and a sea-living organism called Ciona intestinalis. The latter is known to have an outer layer, a tunic, rich in cellulose, which the project partners expect to use in the production of prebiotics.
The rest of the Ciona intestinalis, sea squirt in English, which body is made up of protein and fat, one of the partners hope to put to use of in a related project. This is in line with a guiding principle for all of Bio4Energy's activities, that is to seek to recover as much of the feedstock as possible, ensuring adequate resource efficiency.
While the project partners do not expect to take the process all the way to commercialisation by project end, they do envisage moving from the stage of experimental proof of concept (technology readiness level two) to proof of system (TRL 9) and have at least two end products reach the market within four years of the project’s start.
“We are so very happy to have received this funding. We have a great consortium of partners that we look forward to working together with”, said Rova, who is a professor at the LTU and PI on the research and development platform Bio4Energy Biopolymers and Biochemical Conversion Technologies.