Over the past years Biorizon has developed three commercially promising technologies for the conversion of wood, sugars and lignin into aromatics. The cross-border project BIO-HArT, acronym in Dutch for “Biorizon Innovation and Upscaling of Renewable Aromatics Technology”, was set out in 2016 to scale up technology for the production of bio-aromatics from biomass. By the end of 2018 this must result in functioning bench-scale demonstrators and optimized processes with which samples can be provided to the industry on a kilogram scale. A consortium of 10 partners (among others Avantium) from industry and research organizations is working on the realization of these ambitious targets. More information on Biorizon: 

By demonstrating the technology within this project on a larger scale, the confidence in the applicability of the technology on an industrial scale increases and the risk to invest diminishes. Simultaneously bio-aromatics will be produced in sufficient quantities to be able to start application development routes.

By mid 2017 several key milestones have been achieved illustrating already some of the successes of BIO-HArT:

  1. Protocols are established for bio-refining of several raw materials like Miscanthus, corn straw, flaxstraw, into sugars and lignin.
  2. Protocols (reaction conditions, processes, etc.) have been established and optimized for the conversion of wood, lignin and sugar fractions into target aromatic compounds.
  3. Pilot installations have been established along the complete chain for the bio-refinery of biomass, conversion and fractionation of obtained lignin and sugar fractions to aromatic compounds, in specific the following installations:
    –   4 pilot installations for the bio-refining of lignocellulosic materials into sugars and lignin.
    –   A 2L reactor for the direct catalytic conversion of wood to a mixture of alkylfenols (the so-called “Lignin-first” technology). This reactor will be used to further optimize the reaction on kg scale and for the delivery of samples for evaluation in application.
    –   Two continuous process installations that perform several of the key reactions in the Diels-Alder approach from sugar based starting materials (Furans) towards aromatic compounds. BIO-HArT is now able to meet requests from companies for samples on multi-kg scale.
    –   A mini-pilot for a mobile nano-filtration unit for the 1) fractionation / purification of the alkylfenol mixture from the Lignin-first process and 2) the fractionation from the Crude Lignin Oil obtained from a catalytic depolymerization process.
  4. Samples of several aromatic compounds / fractions have been provided on 100g – 1kg scale for evaluation of their quality in a range of applications like coatings, resins, adhesives, lubricants, polyesters, and polyurethane applications.

Click here for the press release of 2016.

Click here for the press release of 2017.

Let the stars shine
Biorizon’s BIO-HArT project is recently being selected by the European ‘Let the stars shine’ initiative. With this initiative, nine members of the European Parliament want to highlight fine examples of European projects in order to gain enthousiasm and support for the European cooperation. More information at and

Progress 2018
Avantium has finalized the construction of a plug flow reactor unit in April 2017. When producing or working with significant amounts of specific furan derivatives safety aspects are an important consideration. Therefore, the unit building had several adaptations implemented. One of the outcomes of this safety study was that the unit needed to be placed in an area that is physically separate from the main laboratory. The overall safety release of the unit was performed in July 2017 and it is currently operating for furan-based Diels-Alder chemistry. The reaction conditions for the hydrogenation of the Diels-Alder adduct have been optimized and a production run with a target of 500 g product per week was successfully performed.

Avantium also constructed a second unit specifically dedicated to the production of (di)methylfurans. This unit is also located in a separated area next to the first unit. The final commissioning was approved in April 2018. The cabinet of the current unit is approx. 1.5 times larger than the previous one due to the potential danger associated with the formation of large quantities of 2-methylfuran. The first set of hydrogenation screening experiments in flow of furfural into 2-methyl furan started in October 2018. Reaction conditions will be further optimized based on previous results from screening studies performed in small batch reactors.

2019: Funding: The Future event” on 19 September in Turnhout
New round, new opportunities for initiatives that bring the future closer. On September 19, Interreg Vlaanderen Nederland organizes the event ‘Funding: The Future’. During the event Interreg Vlaanderen-Netherland will provide you more information about the new subsidy period 2021-2027. For more information:

More information
– More info on Biorizon: and
– Please join Biorizon’s Community:
– If you want to know more about (participating in) the BIO-HArT-project or Biorizon, please contact Nadine Wennersbusch via or +31 (0)88 866 63 71


This collaboration within the framework of OP-Zuid is focused on the development of an interregional campus eco-system and accompanying key-infrastructure for the conversion of renewable raw materials to biobased building blocks. Within the SCeLiO-4B project a testing-ground of affordable and broadly accessible infrastructure for biobased chemistry is created on the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Geleen and the Green Chemistry Campus in Bergen op Zoom. The available equipment facilitates and accelerates research, scaling up and development of bioaromatics, lignin depolymerization products for fuel applications and platform chemicals and compounds with new functionality based on furfural and HMF. The research activities are supported by an education and training program and business development activities which offer entrepreneurs the opportunity to further grow their potential and move from laboratory to pilot plant scale. The establishment of a joint testing-ground will give an impulse to businesses and employment in Limburg and Brabant. The project officially started in May 2015 and will run for 4 years. Link to press release.


ReTAPP is a Horizon2020 fast track to innovation (FTI) project with three partners: MetGen, SEKAB and Avantium. The main objectives of the ReTAPP project are to demonstrate the production of fructose from wood-based feedstock and to prepare the whole value chain for the market introduction of PEF resin using this fructose. The processes will be optimised and demonstrated by the three consortium partners: SEKAB, a technology provider for the wood-to-sugars technology; Avantium, world leader in renewable chemistries and founding father of the FDCA/PEF technolog; and MetGEn, which provides the enzymes to make the processes more economically and environmentally sustainable.

For more information please go to:

Contact details
Are you interested in working together on our Renewable Chemistries projects? Let us know by sending an email to:

Alan Smith
Director Business Development
Zekeringstraat 29
1014 BV Amsterdam
The Netherlands