Joint development for a biorefinery in the port of Rotterdam

The Bio-Refinery Concept Credit: Port of Rotterdam
The Bio-Refinery Concept
Credit: Port of Rotterdam

What do a Gorinchem-based biobased ingredients company, two power companies and the port have in common? The joint development of a biorefinery in the port of Rotterdam. The partners Corbion, Uniper, RWE and the Port of Rotterdam Authority are going for a ‘quadruple win situation’. Corbion produces biobased food ingredients from lactic acid. The firm intends to start producing bioplastics. RWE and Uniper are looking for opportunities to make power generation more sustainable. And the Port Authority aims to stimulate biobased industry in the port area. The solution? The realisation of a biorefinery that converts biomass like wood into feedstock for the production of chemicals and plastics and into fuels for generating power. Through this initiative, the partners are giving concrete shape to the development of the circular economy.

Joint business case

Corbion, Uniper, RWE and the Port Authority have developed a joint business case that looks very promising. The port of Rotterdam enjoys a steady intake of biomass. The development of a biorefinery would allow local partners to take even more effective advantage of this influx. The biomass can be used instead of fossil base materials for the production of biochemicals and plastics, as well as generate electricity and heat. This prevents the consumption of fossil reserves, and consequently reduces CO2 emissions.

From wood to bioplastics

Chemically breaking down (refining) wood feedstock rather than burning it directly yields a number of interesting components: lignin and sugars. Project Director Marc Lankveld of Corbion: “That is why Corbion has joined this initiative. We can use the sugars created in this process for the production of bioplastics.” The lignin can be used to generate heat and energy and, in the longer term, chemicals and fuels. Lankveld: “This allows us to create even more value.”

The partners are currently determining which party they will engage for the refinery’s actual construction. To this end, Corbion is introducing the Port Authority and the power companies to various parties within Corbion’s network. “This is an interesting development, since it brings parties in contact with each other that have never spoken with each other before.” Lankveld: “We are jointly creating favourable conditions in the port, and our firm will be buying the end product. We see a lot of potential.”

Read more

Text by the Port of Rotterdam Authority

Share This Post