Work Package 2 of the HEREWEAR project aims to develop biorefinery technologies for the production of cellulose-based fibers from seaweed and agricultural residues.
The Bio-based and Circular Technologies group of TNO has applied their biorefinery technology for lignocellulosic biomass for the production of cellulosic pulp for fiber spinning from wheat straw. First, extractives (minerals and organics) were removed from the feedstock by pre-extraction to upgrade the biomass, which results in more efficient processing of the pulp in the next steps. The cleaned straw was fractionated using the FABIOLA™ process into a cellulosic pulp, lignin, and hemicellulose. After removal of the remaining minerals from the pulp by alkaline treatment, the pulp had sufficient quality for fiber spinning trials at DITF using their environmentally friendly HighPerCell™ process. The initial fibers had viscose-like properties and were knitted into a fabric, for more information see DITF Straw filament URSULA – YouTube
In the next stage of the project, more straw-based FABIOLA™ pulp will be produced and converted to fibers for further textile development. The TNO team also works on the isolation of cellulose from seaweed residues after the extraction of hydrocolloids. Obtaining high cellulose yields from seaweeds is challenging due to the lower cellulose content and higher ash content of the seaweeds relative to lignocellulosic biomass.