HIGFLY´s Cross-Industry Benefits
Although the current innovations proposed in HIGFLY are most relevant to the aviation fuel sector, the technologies and materials being developed can also contribute to other sectors and be adapted to produce an array of products supplying precursors and ingredients for the bio-chemical, pharmaceutical and bio-plastic industries to name but a few.
Furfural, the main jet fuel precursor and building block of the HIGFLY process, has been produced from agricultural residues for almost a century and has a well-established market presence that supports the European and global production of materials and chemicals such as resins, foams, pharmaceuticals and solvents. However, production processes have remained relatively unchanged and inefficient with less than a 50% of the potential total of furfural being extracted.
HIGFLY aims to address these challenges through a combination of the bi-phasic synthesis of furfural, packed bed reactor technology, novel solvents and solid acid catalysis. Initial lab scale testing demonstrated the possibility of a 70-80% yield using C5 biorefinery streams with dilute sulfuric acids in a microreactor, and it is predicted that yields could be as high as 90% once testing begins using the HiGee reactor.
In addition, the advanced catalytic materials, novel membrane separation technologies and bio-based solvents all have potential uses within a variety of chemical and energy intensive industries; and the valorisation of light oxygenates in the aqueous side streams, generated after the purification of jet fuel precursors, can be used for hydrogen production as well as for obtaining more hydrocarbons and aromatics that will further increase the jet fuel yield.
HIGFLY will enable technologies that target both the efficient conversion of C5 biorefinery streams and a range of applications outside of the transport fuel industry, supporting the biomass supply chain and promoting innovation across a variety of sectors. With this in mind, communication and dissemination work package leaders Kneia aim to ensure the fulfilment of a comprehensive stakeholder analysis to engage relevant actors across all sectors that could benefit from the novel technologies, materials and processes being developed by the HIGFLY researchers.