MetGen’s hydrolysis and novel lignin valorisation technologies utilised in UNRAVEL biorefinery demonstrator– Driving on bark, building with nutshells

By August 1, 2018 News

Over the next four years the European UNRAVEL project will demonstrate a sustainable and economically feasible biorefinery for the conversion of second generation biomass into fuels, chemicals and building materials. In their efforts the partnership that comprises research organisations, SMEs and large industry from six European countries are supported by the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) which funds the UNRAVEL project with 3.6 million Euros.

The Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) and the European Union’s ‘Horizon 2020’ Research and Innovation Framework Programme, both co-funding bodies of the BBI JU, have developed strategic agendas to realise the European transition towards a post-petroleum society while decoupling economic growth from resource depletion and negative environmental impacts. A key task is the creation of novel bio-based value chains by developing new biorefinery technologies and optimising the use of sustainable feedstock for innovative added-value products that respond to market needs. The project will also contribute to the development of new building blocks for different bio-based products from biomass of European origin.

One of the major challenges in creating long-term benefits is to find sustainable and industrially viable biomass that does not compete with land-use for food production or that could pose the risk of natural habitat loss. One promising solution lies in using biomass residues that originate from forestry and/or agriculture such as bark, wheat straw or nutshells. The potential availability of these residues is substantial with estimates of around 180 Mton per year within the EU. Agricultural residues and wheat straw represent approximately half of the total available amount. Components within these residues that are of major economic interest are sugars and lignin, a substance with which bio-based materials and biochemicals can be developed. The UNRAVEL project will target sugar as compound for advanced liquid biofuels for transport and lignin for building blocks for bio-based materials, such as bio-polymers, insulation foams (polyurethane) and bitumen.

Project key facts:

UNRAVEL  started on the 1st June 2018 and will run for four years. The project is coordinated by Fraunhofer Gesellschaft and ECN (part of TNO). The consortium comprises ten partners from seven European countries.

For further details

UNRAVEL Project Coordination Contacts:

Moritz Leschinsky      
Fraunhofer CBP
Am Haupttor
06237 Leuna
Tel: +49 (0)3461 43 9102

Jaap van Hal
ECN part of TNO
P.O. Box 1
1755 ZG Petten
The Netherlands
Tel: +31-(0)88-866 2652

UNRAVEL can also be found on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook:   


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020/BBI-JU research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 792004