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Lignocellulosic Biomass Valorization: Bioenergy and Bioproducts

Lignocellulosic Biomass Valorization: Bioenergy and Bioproducts

Our group's lines of research focus on the integral use of lignocellulosic biomass to obtain biofuels and high added value products from its main components, thus contributing to a more sustainable socio-economic model that helps to mitigate climate change.

Grupo de investigación dependiente del

​​Forest Products Department of the Institute of Forestry Sciences (ICIFOR)

The transition towards a more sustainable society that helps mitigate global climate change is currently being led by the development of a bioeconomy based on the use of biomass as a basic and renewable raw material. In this context, our group's main line of research is to develop processes to obtain biofuels and value-added products from the main components of lignocellulosic biomass using not only wood and non-wood raw materials, but also forest and agricultural residues. This approach covers the chemical and structural characterisation of the main components of lignocellulose, the optimisation of biomass fractionation technologies, and the conversion of the different components of biomass into biofuels and bioproducts. From a socio-economic point of view, the valorisation of lignocellulosic biomass is an opportunity for the development of the rural sector, promoting the creation and maintenance of employment as well as the use of the resources present around it. This development will involve key sectors of the economy, both primary sectors (agriculture and forestry) and secondary sectors (energy, chemical and materials industries), which seek to increase their competitiveness through better use of raw materials, products and waste.

In recent years our group has obtained experience in the field of the cellulose and paper industry, improving the use of natural resources and reducing the use of chemical reagents and the energy consumed in them by means of biotechnological tools. This experience has allowed us to transfer our knowledge to initiate research lines within the development of the bioeconomy, such as the valorisation of lignocellulosic biomass in biofuels and high added-value products.

Thus, our group has focused its activities on the following lines of research:

  1. The evaluation of different wood raw materials (eucalyptus, poplar, robinia, elm, pine, etc.) and non-wood raw materials (hesperaloe, leucaena, sorghum, flax, etc.), as well as forest and agricultural waste (wheat straw, olive pruning, orange pruning, etc.), by means of a chemical and structural characterisation of their main components (cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin).
  2. the development and optimisation of different fractionation technologies for the main components of biomass based on physical (milling), chemical (Kraft pulping, organosolv process, and acid hydrolysis), physico-chemical (steam explosion and autohydrolysis) and biological (saprophytic and endophytic fungi and their enzymes) processes.
  3. the production of biofuels from the carbohydrates (cellulose and hemicelluloses) generated in the fractionation and subsequent enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation processes, studying different lignocellulolytic enzymes (cellulases, hemicellulases and laccases) and fermenting microorganisms.
  4. obtaining new products, in addition to paper, generated from cellulose, such as the production and characterisation of nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC) for different purposes (packaging, oleogels production, etc.). NFC is considered today one of the most interesting biomaterials due to its special characteristics (high surface area, optical properties, high crystallinity and resistance, biodegradability and sustainability).
  5. the recovery of residual lignin-rich stream (liquors generated in the fractionation processes and waste generated in the enzymatic hydrolysis processes) for the production of biolubricants, adhesives, asphalts, active carbon for energy (supercapacitors) and environmental purposes (water remediation).


  • Antonio D. Moreno
    Estudio de Enzimas Oxidoreductasas en la Transformación de Biomasa Lignocelulósica en Biocombustibles: Deslignificación y Destoxificación
    Dirección: Universidad Complutense de Madrid
  • Sara M. Santos
    Aplicación de la celulosa bacteriana a la restauración del patrimonio bibliográfico y documental en papel
    Dirección: Universidad Politécnica de Madrid-INIA. Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros de Montes

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