The EXCornsEED project aims to exploit the convergence between science, chemistry, biology, engineering and biotechnology tools for the creation of new knowledge and innovative applications, with the main goal to develop and validate an integrated process of innovative and highly sustainable extraction/purification/concentration technologies to be applied to bio-refineries side streams (i.e. corn oil/thin stillage from bio-ethanol and rapeseed meal from biodiesel production) for the recovery of proteins and several other bio-active compounds (i.e. peptides, polyphenols, amino acids, fibres, lipid compounds, alkaloids and tannins, etc.) and characterization/preparation of these as ingredients for food, specialty chemicals, and cosmetics markets (Fig. 1). A three-step approach will upscale the EXCornsEED process from lab level (few grams, TRL3) up to industrial pilot (up to 1t/d capacity) in ENV premises (TRL5).
The project stems from a sound industrial vision set by ENV and other industrial partners to transform traditional bioethanol production in future biorefinery concept, fully in line with EU strategies for a bio-based economy. The concurrent presence of biotech producer ENV (project initiator) technology experts SAP, CEL and ICE, and product companies SIAL, NUT, BZN and DRL will guarantee the commitment towards a real market-driven project. A synergistic approach will be used, in order to define a self-sustainable system and have an outcome that is in accordance with the principles of the circular economy.