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Green chemistry: six projects that could boost industrial R&D

Each year, the 3BCAR Carnot Institute selects from its network of research units those scientific projects which show promise as to their economic outcomes and offers them financial support. We present here the six projects retained for 2018.

. © INRA
Updated on 07/26/2018
Published on 05/24/2018

These research projects, positioned at TRL1 2 to 4, are carried out within an 18 to 36-month timeframe. The aim is to provide industrial actors with innovative alternatives that can be tested in their development or maturation phase and thus enable their transfer within a short period.   

The six projects


Using fungal enzymes to develop polymers with novel properties (24 months)
At present, 5-HMF (5-hydroxymethylfurfural), a biosourced synthon, is mainly transformed by a chemical process into FDCA (2,5-furandicarboxylic acid), which is used to produce PEF, a biosbased plastic. The FundiCarP project proposes a biotechnological alternative to this chemical pathway by introducing a selective production process for oxide intermediates of 5-HMF, thanks to the use of fungal enzymes. The polymerisation potential of the different stable intermediates produced will then be analysed in order to develop new polymers with novel properties.


Developing an optimum partial hydrogenation technology for the production of cis-monounsaturated fatty acids (24 months)
Oils containing large quantities of monounsaturated fatty acids in a cis configuration are of considerable interest because of their beneficial health properties and oxidative stability. Vegetable oil hydrogenation operations have been developed, but they are not selective and may give rise to a trans configuration that is harmful to health.
The Topacis project is developing a partial and selective technology for the partial hydrogenation of vegetable oil, and comparing the performances of processes using heterogeneous catalysis and a monolith reactor.


Recycling effluents from the torrefaction of wood to produce compounds of interest (18 months)
Research teams working on the Torgenol project previously produced a thermodynamic model of the mixture of compounds that make up the gaseous effluent of a wood torrefaction process. This model revealed that it was possible to obtain a mixture of two compounds of interest in a single operation. The present project aims to validate the results of modelling experimentally, and to work on purifying these two compounds of interest using green chemistry processes.  


Extracting sorbitol from unsaleable fruits using an original process (24 months)
Sorbitol is currently considered to be a promising platform molecule. It is currently synthesised in two stages from cereal starch, but there are other sources of bioavailable sorbitol, such as discarded fruits. The Extrinduc project thus aims to recycle discarded plums and extract and purify sorbitol using an original process in a hydrothermal reactor. The fruit drying stage will also be controlled in order to optimise their sugar content.


Integrating biomolecule extraction in the production of green energies (18 months)
One of the current obstacles to the deployment of biorefineries – notably in the bioenergy sector – is a lack of economic viability. It is therefore essential to develop schemes for biomass valorisation that will optimise the use of this resource and its different fractions and increase the value of the final products. In this context, the Valéoris project aims to develop an innovative concept for the "material + energy" recycling of by-products from the food industry such as brans and straws that combines the extraction of molecules with high added value with the production of green energy. This concept is notably based on coupling microwave deconstruction pre-treatment with a high-performance enzymatic process to extract the molecules, while increasing the biogas potential of the wastes.


Determining the optimal valorisation trajectories for non-food biomass (36 months)
Developing the bioeconomy and using renewable resources as a response to the growing food and non-food needs of the population require efficient and sustainable production methods from the field to finished products. The aim of the Calorabina project is to determine optimal trajectories for biomass valorisation that take account of: i- the region, ii- the finished products and iii- the technical processes involved. Managing compromises and trade-offs within the global system may be essential to this study. The project will be carried out in a medium-altitude mountainous region (case study).

1 Technology Readiness Level: scale to evaluate the level of maturity achieved by a technology

Carnot Institute 3BCAR:
Alexandre Brosse (+331 42 75 93 28)

More information on the 3BCAR Carnot Institute

3BCAR, accredited as a Carnot Institute and managed by INRA, is a network of research structures that offer R&D skills on the valorisation of biomass in the fields of bioenergies and biosbased molecules and materials.

3BCAR aims to drive industrial innovation through the development of public-private partnerships to support companies and research projects so that they can anticipate their future needs.  

3BCAR uses two levers that are essential to development of the bioeconomy: biotechnologies and green chemistry.  The circular economy involves the recycling of waste and by-products under an eco-design cascade.

For more information on the funding of research projects by the 3BCAR Carnot Institute

3BCAR receives annual funding from the French National Research Agency that is calculated proportionally with its industrial collaborations. As well as paying for the operation and professional training activities of 3BCAR, this grant also funds research projects by members of the network.

Thus several revitalisation projects are launched each year following an internal call for projects that target the strategic skills of 3BCAR. These upstream research projects enable them to keep ahead of a company’s competitors and to anticipate its future needs. The results of these projects frequently offer new opportunities for innovation and may feed the R&D of companies through transfer of the technology.