Technical feasibility

SECTION I: Testing



Has the R & D result been tested?




1a In what mode has the result been tested?

•                Prototype

•                Pilot Application

•                Alpha/BETA testing


The aim of the BioREF project is to expand the IBUS biofuel concept to a bio-refinery concept by including whole oilseed crop such as rapeseed as feedstock for full utilisation of all parts of the plant. The whole crop based bio-refinery concept employs different technologies for production and bioconversion of all parts of rapeseed plant to various energy carriers and high value chemicals in a closed cycle approach. This new concept will be investigated by a competent and dedicated consortium in order to explore possibilities that have never been previously tested and to find the most profitable combination of the end-products.

New methods and technologies will be tested and evaluated and a viable bio-refinery will be demonstrated, through system analysis evaluation based on economical and environmental performance of the different possibilities.


b. Please describe and discuss the testing results
The testing process is aiming at:

  • Development of a continuous industrial enzymatic oil extraction process, with the capacity to work at high dry matter content (18-36 % d.m.) in order to reduce the amount of process water passing the evaporator
  • Improvement of the biodiesel process from the oil extraction to the final energy product
  • Optimisation of the enzymatic liquefaction and saccharification of pretreated rapeseed straw at high dry matter concentration (>33 %), providing a broth at >10% ethanol (v/v), using the latest progress within enzyme technology
  • Development of innovative processes for efficient bioconversion of hemicellulose-derived pentoses (C5 sugars) to biohydrogen followed by a cleaning-up production of biogas.
  • Optimization of co-digestion of the processed waste waters for biogas production


SECTION 2: Current Stage of Development



To what extent does the development team have technical resources for supporting the production of a new product? (Researchers, human resources, hardware, etc. )

The Laboratory of Alternative Energy Sources in Agriculture was established to operate as an academic unit at the year 2000 and belongs in the dept. of Agricultural engineering of the Faculty of Agriculture. Among the laboratory’s activities are the development of autonomous new courses in the following objects: Production and Exploitation of Alternative Energy Sources, Saving of Energy in Agriculture, Management and Treatment of Animal and Agricultural Wastes, Livestock Mechanization. Other activities of the Laboratory include the elaboration of research work and development projects in the field of its objects.

Main research areas:

Exploitation of Alternative Energy in Agriculture (Solar, Geothermal, Waste Energy, Biomass)

Energy production from Biomass – Biorefinery

Energy Saving System

Farm Waste Management


Relevant publications


1] Kotsopoulos T.A., Karamanlis X., Dotas D., Martzopoulos G.G. (2008). The impact of different natural concentrations on the methane production in thermophilic anaerobic digestion of pig waste. Biosystems Engineering 99(1): 105-111.

[2] Kotsopoulos Τ.Α., Zeng R.J., Angelidaki Ι. (2006). Biohydrogen production in granular Up –Flow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket (UASB) Reactors with Mixed Cultures under hyper – thermophilic temperature (70oC). Biotechnol Bioeng 94(2): 296-302.

[3]Bochtis D., Vougioukas S., Tsatsarelis C. and Y. Ampatzidis (2007). Optimal Dynamic Motion Sequence Generation for Multiple Harvesters. Agricultural Engineering International: the CIGR Ejournal. Manuscript ATOE 07 001.

[4]Bochtis D., Vougioukas S., Tsatsarelis C. and Y. Ampatzidis (2007). Field Operation Planning for Agricultural Vehicles: A Hierarchical Modeling Framework. Agricultural Engineering International: the CIGR Ejournal. Manuscript PM 06 021.

[5]Vougioukas S., Blackmore B.S., Nielsen J., Fountas S. (2006). A two-stage optimal motion planner for autonomous agricultural vehicles. Precision Agriculture 7:361 -377.




What are the technical issues that need to be tackled for full deployment, if needed?
Technical issues to tackled:

  • Development of a novel whole crop forage harvester, chopping the whole crop and loading it into air tight big bags, in order to reduce the harvest and transportation cost
  • Development of an innovative enzymatic transesterification process for cost effective biodiesel production and reduction of the environmental burden associated with the conventional chemical transesterification process.
  • Reduction of biodiesel production costs, by using internally produced methanol or ethanol. Methanol can be produced by reduction of methane with hydrogen by Fischer Tropsh method (both methane and hydrogen are products in the BioREF process) or by ethanol produced from the straw for REE (rapeseed ethyl ester) production.
  • Integration of the biorefinery processes according to the results of the LCA analysis and development of a virtual biorefinery to be used as a platform for the feasibility studies to identify the most economical end-product programme for development for economical sustainable process.
  • Development of a working biorefinery, which can be used for demonstration of the scientific and technological achievements of the project.



What additional technical resources are needed for the production of this new product?


The following additional resources are required:

-       R&D personnel costs (PhDstudents, post doc, senior scientists, professors, farmers, technicians)

-       travel costs to the meetings (2-3 persons to 8 scheduled meetings abroad and travel cost inside Greece to experimental sites)

-       Equipment (GC FID/TCD plus its accessories ~ 45000 euro)+ reactors

-       Consumables (for the cultivation: fuel, fertilizers, seeds, pesticides etc.), chemicals

-       Other activities costs : 3 workshops will take place at the experimental sites with the farmers and the related indusrties, a web – site is going to developed to be used by the farmers, related industries, sceintific institutions etc.



Overall assessment of the current stage of technical development.
The external factors potentially affecting the achievement of the project impacts can be divided into technical and non-technical issues. The level of innovation brings also some risks when considering the time schedule. The scope of the project is, however, based on some solid recent key achievements and observations in the field. Although the targets of this proposed project are ambiguous, they are based on realistic goals and long term expertise in the area. The basic technologies; i.e. the pre-treatment technology has already been optimized for the wheat straw. The rapeseed straw can be expected to have fairly similar properties with respect to the pretreatment conditions.

SECTION 3: Deployment


Define the demands for large scale production in terms of
  • Materials
There are no plans for mass production.
  • technologies, tools, machineries
  • Staff effort

SECTION 4: Overall Assessment


What is you overall assessment of the technical feasibility of the research result?
The generic technologies to be developed; targeting at a major reduction of costs, are today the bottle-necks in the route for successful commercialization of the biorefinery system based on the rapeseed crop. These technologies will emerge and be applicable commercially in short and medium term. The overall process concept will ultimately lead to decreased energy demands and increased energy integration. These basic improvements will lead to both decreased capital and operating costs. Thus, for the technical issues the question is only about the time frame. The non-technical issues will expectedly not affect the impacts. The national and EU energy policies are based on decisions driven by the Kyoto agreement and climate change. The increased demand for economical working biorefinery to produce biofuels and other high-value products are committed to this target.




Please put X as appropriate. 1 2 3 4 5
Adequacy of testing activity undertaken so far         x
Adequacy and availability of technical resources of the development team         x
Current development stage         x
Overall technical feasibility         x




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