Purification and wet spinning of cellulose generated from sugarbeets

1 maart 2018
30 november 2018
VH 7: Duurzame landbouw, water- en voedselvoorziening

Aerogel fibers consist of up to 99.9% of air which leads to outstanding insulation proper-ties for e.g. house construction. The simple use of aerogel fibers as wallpaper could lead to 25% energy savings. According to calculations of Advanced Manufacturing Office, energy savings of 1% saves 7500 million gallons of gasoline every year in the USA which equals, depending on the oil price, more than 18 billon USD.
In this KIEM project, the cellulose purity needed to be able to spin cellulose into a fila-ment for aerogel production will be determined. Cellulose is the most abundant polymer on the planet. In principle, cellulose-based aerogels could replace petroleum-based and partly toxic polystyrene which is currently used for insulation purposes and which leads to toxic waste.
The cellulosic starting material is generated via the “Beta process” as developed by a company called DSD. The “Beta process” offers an efficient way of generating ethanol from sugar beets. The by-product of that process contains cellulose, pectines and hemi-cellulose. To be able to use this mixture for wet spinning, this mixture needs to be puri-fied.
Researchers and students from Zuyd University of Applied Sciences will, in collabora-tion with DSD, pursue the purification of the waste stream material in the labs of the Centre of Expertise CHILL. Next, the obtained cellulose grades will be processed as spinning dope in a wet spinning process on lab scale with up to 60 ml per batch at AMI-BM. The results will be used as feedback for the purification process.
Several possible partners such as DSD, ACRRES (Application Center for Renewable Resources), Technoforce (extraction), Greenfields (fermentation) and VAM (washing in-stallations) show high interest for the up-scaling of the process and for the validation and implementation in the built environment, showing the feasibility a follow-up project.


Zuyd Hogeschool

Cyriel Mentink
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