Efficient conversion and utilization of biomass are the major challenge for process engineering. The Biomass Engineering Research Center (BERC) serves for our national needs of basic research and key technologies on bioenergy, biomaterials and biochemicals, conducts innovation by integrating fundamental researches with technical advantages to improve the maturity, cooperation and engineering level of the innovation achievements. The target of BERC is to develop technology platform for biomass clean utilization with the Chinese characteristics, and consequently improve the overall level of biomass engineering research of our institute and provide technical support, theoretical basis and development proposals for large-scale utilization of biomass.
In January 2007, the Institute of Process Engineering, according to the views of the expert group, approved to establish the "Biomass Engineering Research Center". The administration of BERC relies on the State Key Laboratory of Biochemical Engineering, collected the talent of biomass research of our institute and runs as the form of Commonwealth.
BERC is composed of relative research groups which carry out regular academic exchanges on biomass research, as well as engineering and technology research cooperation. On the one hand, BERC will timely grasp the near, medium and long-term developments of biomass, advance the biomass technology development projects or action plans for our institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, even for the whole world, and promote the implementation of the guidelines of relative project and guide the mainstream development. On the other hand, it will organize and guide the relevant research groups to apply projects and enhance the competitiveness for related tasks. Moreover, it will organize joint research and make breakthroughs for biomass research problems.
2. The objective of BERC
The overall objectives: according to the requirements of the biomass research chain, organically integrate the research forces and conditions of our institute to form a strong research group of the production biomass, biomass conversion mechanism, biomass technology development and demonstration of integrated systems, enhance the biomass technological research to reach the world-class level.
Short-term objectives: build an open platform for biomass engineering technology research, enhance technology research and engineering integration of biomass, achieve breakthroughs on key technologies and equipments for fuel ethanol, bio-gas, biomaterials focusing on bioenergy, biomaterials and biochemicals three aspects.
Long-term objectives: achieve the international advanced level on the transformation of bioenergy and bio-based manufacturing, enhance the international competitiveness of Chinese biomass industry; establish the ecological industry chain of agricultural waste utilization, promote eco-environmental protection and socio-economic sustainable development.
3. Research areas
(1) Researches on the structural features of biomass component and new process and new methods for biomass components separation;
(2) Key technologies for bio-based liquid fuels refining (fuel ethanol, butanol, biodiesel, bio-oil)
(3) Key technologies for Bio-gas refining (methane, hydrogen, gasification);
(4) Key technologies for biomaterials and biochemicals refining (Succinic acid, 1,3 - propanediol, PHB, high-purity lignin, furfural, xylose, xylitol)
(5) Systems integration and eco-industrial technology of bio-refining industry chain
4. Representations of achievement
(1) Successfully completed the Chinese Academy of Sciences Innovation Program project "Key technologies for high-value of biomass and its industrialization demonstration".
(2) Presided over the National Basic Research Program （973）of China " Basic research on the key process of ecological high-value of straw resources "
(3) Established the largest cellulose-ethanol demonstration project with annual production capacity of 3,000 tons.
(4) Established a bio-gas fermentation miniplant integrated system.
(5) Established a new technology of biodiesel by coupling ultrasound cycle with solvent extraction. (6) New technology for producing pulp and paper ecologically.