CENER is convinced of the need to move towards a circular bioeconomy, in which the society is capable of valorising the wastes produced in an integral and cascade mode. On that regard, CENER is developing different technologies for this purpose in its Biorefinery and Bioenergy Centre (BIO2C), semi-industrial pilot scale test facility able to develop production processes for bioproducts, solid biofuels, advanced liquid or gaseous biofuels, as well as biorefinery concepts integrating different valorization routes, as an intermediate step between laboratory and the industrial scale-up of these technologies.
One of the key challenges in the process of developing new bioproducts is to overcome the transition period in which a technology under development is envisaged as promising, but too novel to validate its commercial potential and, therefore, to attract the necessary capital to be invested in order to achieve its final development and application. Small biotech companies and startups, technology and R&D centers as well as companies demand support in order to ensure the project maturity degree required by the industry, given that their technology needs to be optimized, validated and scaled up in order to penetrate the market.
In order to cover this gap, and thus accompany and give support to the biotech industry, the Biochemical Processes Unit of the BIO2C offers process development services, scaling up and production of first pre-commercial batches. These facilities include pre-treatment, hydrolysis and fermentation units from laboratory scale to several cubic meters devoted to demonstrate the valorization of different biomasses. These type of alliances allow companies to demonstrate their technology in a faster and cheaper way, while at the same time they can count on state-of-the-art facilities, with experienced personnel, prepared and capable of solving the challenges raised by this phase of the R&D. All this complemented of course with ad-hoc advice along the entire project lifecycle, and a final economic and environmental assessment.
Indeed, we have been supporting biotech sector companies for more than a decade, at both national and international level, with the main objective of getting companies to validate their biotechnological product or process and thus reach the market and increase their market uptake success rate in different sectors, such as chemical, agricultural or food, among others, for companies such as start-ups, spin-offs, waste managers, large companies, technology centers or accelerators.
Very flexible in relation to the feedstock and the target bioproducts CENER holds experience in the valorisation of cereal straw or crop & forest residues, food industry by-products, organic fraction of MSW or sewage sludge, into advanced biofuels, or bio-based products such as bio-based polymers, bioestimulants, biopesticides or antioxidants among others.
As project examples, we have carried out pilot productions of agrobiologicals, enzymes, microorganisms or food products; scaled up hydrolysis for the recovery of biowaste into biostimulants or hydrolysis and fermentation of organic waste for the production of biocompostable and biodegradable polymers, among others.
With these and other coming initiatives, CENER is developing technology for new biowaste valorization routes both at research & demo scale, for a later industry and market uptake, fostering its commitment in contributing to the Circular Economy Roadmap proposed by the European Commission, and to the wellbeing of the future society.