On 10 December 2020, the French company AFYREN starts the construction of its first-of-its-kind, zero-waste and low-carbon biorefinery as part of the BBI JU-funded AFTERBIOCHEM project. The new plant, located in Carling-Saint-Avold, in the Grand Est region of France, will start working in 2022.
The new biorefinery is at the core of the AFTERBIOCHEM project, that has received €20 million of BBI JU funding to develop the first all-in-one chemical platform for transforming the sugar beet industry’s sidestreams into bio-based molecules and derivatives of industrial interest. The new plant will bring the process to an industrial scale with a production of 16,000 tonnes of bio-based organic acids. Additionally, it will allow the project to demonstrate an innovative, sustainable biorefinery model that could be replicated across Europe.
‘Today we are celebrating the launch of a very important project for the region, for Europe and for the environment,’ BBI JU Executive Director Philippe Mengal stated on the occasion. ‘With its circular and sustainable production process, AFTERBIOCHEM will substantially reduce CO2 emissions, while diversifying the income of primary producers and creating new jobs.’
The AFTERBIOCHEM project is indeed expected to have great environmental and socio-economic impacts. The new plant will significantly contribute to the economic development of the French Grand Est region, creating nearly 60 direct jobs and up to 200 indirect jobs in the construction and engineering sectors. Additionally, it will reduce pollution, cutting CO2 emissions by three times compared to traditional production methods for carboxylic acids of fossil origin. The production process will be fully circular and sustainable, thanks to the local supply of biomass, the valorisation of industrial by-products and an optimised production process.
The AFTERBIOCHEM project and its flagship biorefinery will give an important contribution to the bio-based industries sector, showing that it is possible to create new green jobs, develop competitive products and build a sustainable bioeconomy in Europe.