Advanced materialsCircular EconomyHorizon 2020Hydrogen



Lignin Biorefinery Approach using Electrochemical Flow

Liberate represents a powerhouse consortium, including three major multinational chemical companies, Evonik (ERE), Perstorp (PER), Oxiris (OXI), SMEs (Chimar, Megara, NX Filtration, Condias, Enso, Idener and gate to growth), four internationally regarded research and technology organisations (ECN, Fraunhofer, Leitat and Sintef), and European leading universities (University of Mainz and University of Alicante).

LIBERATE will overcome the technical developments, pilot line scale up and commercial exploitation barriers of the next generation of biorefineries. Highly efficient and selective anodic electrochemical oxidation will be applied to the depolymerisation of lignin and the synthesis of propyladipic acid from cyclohexanol to deliver a range of biosustainable feedstocks for drop in replacements or for superior product performance.

Liberate will deliver a pilot scale electrochemical plant to demonstrate the commercial opportunities of converting low cost lignin feedstocks in high value biosustainable chemicals. Liberate will model and physically integrate renewable energy sources to deliver a process that is capable of synthesising chemicals with zero CO2. The renewable energy integration will open up new business models for biorefinery operators to utilise peak renewable energy at discounted rates.

Liberate will deliver the following benefits:

  • An electrochemical depolymerisation of kraft lignin to synthesise vanillin with a 7% yield
  • An electrochemical depolymerisation of organoslv lignin to synthesise mixed phenolic derivate oligomers with a yield of > 35%
  • An electrochemical oxidation of biosustainable  cyclohexanol to synthesise proyl adipic acid with a yield of up to 80%
  • A biorefinery process capable of accommodating RES fluctuations without loss in efficiency
  • A biorefinery process that exhibits a 95% improvement in the energy efficiency of the process
  • A biorefinery process that is capable of producing 29xtimes less CO2

Project Budget: 10’047’735 €

LEITAT Budget: 1’000’801 €

Financial Framework: Horizon 2020

Contract number: 820735

Start Date: 01/10/2018

End Date: 30/09/2022


Contact Manager: P. Rasera

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 820735. This publication reflects only the author’s views and the European Union is not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.