Sustainable succinic acid production using an integrated electrochemical bioreactor and renewable feedstock  

LUCRA will exploit the EU’s underutilized and abundant, Municipal Solid Waste and Wood waste as feedstocks for the large scale production of platform building block chemicals at high yield with significant industrial end-user interest using a circular bioeconomy biorefinery approach.

It will provide optimized and scaleable ‘breakthrough first of a kind’ innovative technology to create a step change from pilot to large scale integrated fermentation with novel electrochemical extraction of succinic acid(SA) at TRL7 that will facilitate its industrial implementation, business models and market feasibility. This will be achieved by the circular utilization of the mentioned renewable resources as feedstocks which will reduce to a large extent the dependence on fossil resources and achieves at the same time a sustainable SA production route. To fit the needs of the industrial level, LUCRA will optimize the hydrolysis process of the different feedstocks to obtain efficient cellulose and hemicellulose conversion. Enzymatic cocktails will be demonstrated aiming to maximize hydrolysis of fermentable carbohydrate content with low inhibitors production. The crude sugar-rich hydrolysates will be used as fermentation feedstock in an electrochemical membrane bioreactor for efficient extraction and production of SA. In situ extraction of SA will be achieved through an anion exchange membrane resulting in simultaneous acidification, concentration, lower NaOH consumption for pH regulation and less unit operations for SA purification.

To demonstrated the produced SA that will be able to compete directly their fossil-based counterparts from petrochemical processes, different polyurethane dispersions and resins will be produced at semi-industrial scale. The process implemented in LUCRA targets to reduce the cost of bio-SA and will demonstrate an 50% GHG reduction against conventional SA.

ACTIVITIES of the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant

BBEPP is the project coordinator and will also take on the following technological challenges: 

  • WP Leader for LUCRA Biorefinery demonstration 
  • Scale-up and demonstration of wood and food waste pretreatment 
  • Scale up and demonstration of fermentation of food waste to building block from 5L to 150L to 1500l scale 
  • Downstream process development: Purification and product recovery of building block from the fermentation broth up to semi-industrial action 



The project is supported by the Circular Bio-based Europe Joint Undertaking and its members.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or CBE JU. Neither the European Union nor the CBE JU can be held responsible for them.

This work was also co-funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) under the UK government’s Horizon Europe funding guarantee grant number 10082169.

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