Products – Biopolymer Production
We are developing technology for the production of natural biopolymers using bioprocess technology. This allows bio-based polymers to be obtained from wastewater and treatment of industrial process streams. An example of wastewater treatment is the Nereda® process that uses granular sludge based methods, where the granules contain a high percentage of Alginate Like Exopolymer (ALE). This polymer is similar to the alginate that is normally harvested from brown algae (seaweed). The Nereda® process is currently available via Royal Haskoning DHV.
Enhanced settling rate of granular sludge (left) used in the Nereda® process.
The granules are further processed via advanced extraction methods to obtain the desired exopolymer. The primary current polymer of interest is ALE, which is similar to alginate harvested from brown algae, but has a considerably lower price due to the very cheap waste based source and where the bioprocesing allows control of the final polymer properties.
The same or similar production methods can be used to produce ALE and similar polymers from well defined industrial process streams, for instance from paper and food industry. Using of such sources allows additional control of the obtained polymer properties.
Recently it was announced by the Water Authority Rijn en IJssel that the world’s first industrial scale NEO (Nereda® Extracted Organic) alginate factory is to be built in Zutphen. The source material will be obtained from wastewater from FrieslandCampina in Lochem and Borculo and will be pumped to the new factory in Zutphen. Production is expected to start in 2017/2018. See here for more information, also a video in Dutch here.