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Langerbrugge pilot plant to drive commercialisation of our FDCA process FuraCore®

Pilot Plant to validate FuraCore® process and test the product

We've establised the FuraCore® FDCA pilot plant at our Langerbrugge recycled paper mill near Ghent, Belgium.

The process is led by highly skilled chemical engineers on site, and the knowledge and knowhow developed during the pilot phase can be used by Stora Enso and potential partners during commercialization operations.

A virtual visit to our FuraCore FDCA pilot plant

The pilot plant is built to validate the FuraCore ® process, FDCA quality and test it in various applications. The design is in a modular way that enables us to test, modify and run each process step individually. That gives us the possibility to optimize the process in preparation for the commercial plants in future. Still, the plant has been built to run in a fully integrated manner, mimicking the industrial process conditions, which is particularly relevant for lifetime studies, understanding solvent losses and analyzing any build up of impurities over time.   

What is FDCA made of?

FDCA is an organic chemical compound that occurs in nature, that can be made from sugars. 

Today, the chemistry begins with crops, and more specifically, with sugar derived from starch. There is plenty of industrial starch available globally that can be used as feedstock for chemistry without having any major impact on the availability of food for humans or feed for animals. 

Still, we work on alternative sources for sugar from agricultural residues, recycled carton boxes, and wood. Breaking down these non-food streams will make virtually endless amounts of sugars available to industry. These technologies are being developed and we plan to connect them to our FuraCore® process.

FuraCore – a uniquely elegant process

At Stora Enso, we have created a new and elegant process that overcomes the challenges associated with current FDCA processes.

One single solvent 

Stora Enso has invented a completely new method, using one single solvent throughout the entire process. At the end of its use, the solvent is separated, recycled, and then reused in a closed loop. This method is elegant, energy efficient and enables high yields of high purity FDCA. 

Removing humins in a smart way 

Stora Enso is taking advantage of the fact that the solvent keeps the humins in solution and combines this with recent advances in membrane technology. We are using ultramodern membrane nanofiltration to remove the humins from the process stream in a controlled way. The humins can then be converted to a free-flowing dry powder.

A clean and efficient fixed-bed process 

We have designed a new oxidation process with a fixed-bed reactor and a customized catalyst. This continuous process is a much gentler and more selective way to oxidize HMF.

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