To overcome difficulties linked to biomass fractionation, BIOCORE will use a variant of organosolv technology for the biomass cracking process. The patented organosolv technology developed by the French company CIMV allows the extraction from biomass of its three major components (cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignins). In this way, the CIMV process provides the means to use all of the biomass in an optimal and technologically smart way. A second advantage of organosolv technology is linked to the fact that this technology will tolerate a wide variety of biomass feedstocks. Therefore, BIOCORE will use several types of biomass resources, including cereal by-products (straws etc), forestry residues and short rotation woody crops.
The idea that biomass is a precious source of renewable carbon is central to the BIOCORE project, even though one aim will be to manufacture 2nd generation fuel. Unlike other biorefinery concepts, BIOCORE will better address future needs for chemicals, notably through the development of production pipelines for olefins and organic acids, which will be ultimately used for the production of polymers. Regarding olefins, BIOCORE aims to develop original processes that will use engineered microorganisms and produce ethylene and a propylene precursor. Moreover, through the use of pilot scale equipment and the smart integration of chemical and biotechnological processes, BIOCORE will demonstrate a cellulose to bio-PVC value chain.
Finally, BIOCORE is an outward looking, international project, which includes input from an Indian partner. The future bio-economy will be global, but its implementation is likely to be unequal in different world regions. Therefore, BIOCORE will attempt to account for this potential variability using scenario modeling to predict how a BIOCORE biorefinery could be supplied in Europe or Asia and to measure the impact of biorefining activities in terms of economic gains, social mutations and environmental changes.