Pathways to new products using lignocellulosic feedstocks

Organizers: Peter Deuss, Adelina Voutchkova-Kostal, Vikram Yadama, Jason Locklin

Morning Concentration: Feedstock processing and catalytic pathways to new products

Afternoon Concentration: Renewable feedstocks to biopolymers and biocomposites

Lignocellulosic biomass in the form of agricultural and forest-based residues is poised to become a key carbon source to displace fossil carbon resources in the chemical industry. The economically viable implementation of biomass-based refineries (biorefineries) will rely on (i) access to high value products; (ii) maximum valorization of all products streams, including residues and (iii) efficient and robust component separation and conversion with adequate pre- & post-processing steps. The ability to maximize feedstock utilization and the value of the outputs will be critical to making lignocellulosic feedstocks a feasible carbon source. In order to design applied materials that incorporate the principles of green chemistry, synergistic partnerships between researchers and business communities are critical.

Example topics include: Technologies to breakdown biomass to access separately carbohydrates and lignin; Depolymerization of lignin and carbohydrate components to new platform chemicals; Catalytic conversion of platform chemicals to high value chemical products; Challenges in process integration, scaling up and conversion of residues to for example fuels and overall life cycle assessment. The afternoon will continue the conversation from the morning and add additional topics further down the supply chain including development of building blocks from renewable feedstocks for bio-based chemicals, biobased polymers, biocomposites, degradation and compostability of biobased products, and LCA and Techno-Economic Assessment of bioproducts.

The symposium will end with an interactive panel, which will discuss the business challenges and opportunities for the production of renewable products. Here current hurdles and knowledge gaps will be identified to allow a discussion on the way forward in this key field of technological development.