BioSFerA’s Consortium gathers in Helsinki and visits the project’s pilot plant at VTT

Last May the BioSFerA international partnership met for its 6th General Assembly in Helsinki to discuss the activities of this final year of the project. It was an important opportunity to visit the project’s pilot plant, starting to appreciate concretely the BioSFerA concept scaling-up to TRL5. The General Assembly was the opportunity for the entire Consortium to see tangible results with the visit to the BioSFerA’s pilot plant located in Bioruukki: the Bio Based Mobile Plant (BBMPP), the fermentation unit, arrived at VTT end of March 2023 and the piloting activities were due to start one month later.

As a first topic of discussion, some updates on the biological research and tests on bacterial strains: during the visit of the researcher Elodie Vlaeminck from BBEPP to CSIC premises, further steps were achieved in the Y. lipolytica analysis with the production of 6 new strains, showing good performance at lab scale and giving, therefore, promising performance in bioreactors. BBEPP with ENVIPARK, based on the insights gained in relevant experimental trials, presented a scalable protocol for TAG isolation. The main challenges of the downstream process appear to be the robustness of the cells. The choice between high-pressure homogenization and steam explosion for the cell-breaking stage will have to be made following some economic considerations. For a more accurate data, ENVIPARK will also send the samples to a university to evaluate the cell disruption efficiency.

At the same time, BBEPP already sent an oil sample to CERTH for the lipids upgrading and quality analysis. For this latter, the activity has been undertaken by CERTH since last March with a first test on BioSFerA’s microbial oil simulation using blends of vegetable oils, useful to carry on a comparison with future lipids produced by the pilot plant.

The gasification process modelling is well proceeding thanks to SFW and CERTH efforts on the EMMS model, while the scaling up of the BioSFerA concept is based on the latest pilot and laboratory results. The updated Heat & Mass balances of the commercial BioSFerA concept will be the basis for the election of the most suitable industrial layout and subsequently for the techno-economic assessment of the technology. The beneficial environmental impact of the BioSFerA concept was validated by the LCA analysis reporting significant GHG emission savings ranging from 48% to 86% compared to conventional fossil fuels. On the market side assessment, KPRT and GF continue to study the prices evolution, as well as regulations and possible future projections on shipping and aviation fuels selling trends.

From the dissemination side, BioSFerA was well promoted by using a new official project video presented last December, available on the website page and on the YouTube channel as well. New opportunities of results dissemination and exploitation were also discussed. Several events, projects synergies came out in order to be ready for the final year of project, starting from the participation to POLLUTEC, the ecological and energetic transition fair in October (France) and to ECOMONDO, the green technology fair to be held in November in Italy. BioSFerA will actively attend the conferences thanks to the partner’s booths and presentations.

Several tests and experiments are planned for the next months in order to be discussed at the next General Assembly, this time at the CERTH’s premises in Thessaloniki next October.


The BioSFerA Consortium at VTT’s premises, 6th GA meeting

BioSFerA integrated pilot plant at Bioruukki site (VTT)