Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy

Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy
BOOST FUND 2.0 Project Eco-T-REX

Economically Guided Process Development for Biobased Production of Monomers for Polymerization using Terpenoid based Extraction for Purification

Figure: Boost  Fund 2.0 Project Eco-T-REX


Economic implementation of biomass-based processes for the production of value-added products requires three main issues to be addressed: the possible product range has to be extended, the separation processes for obtaining the products have to be improved, and catalytic steps have to be designed robustly and efficiently. To achieve this goal, all process steps need to be considered in an integrated way to exploit synergies. The scalability of the biomass-based process needs to be assessed and, if necessary, trimmed to become truly relevant on an industrial scale. In Eco-T-REX, a complete process for the production of bio-based mono- and polymers is developed in which three process steps are coupled with each other. In a first step, C4 components such as 2,3-butanediol (2,3-BDO) are produced from sugar by fermentation. The focus is on the most selective possible production of the target components as well as strain development in order to make further C4 derivatives such as butanal accessible by fermentation to intensify and broaden biobased synthesis for bioeconomy. In order to efficiently separate the biotechnologically produced products such as 2,3-BDO from the diluted aqueous media, novel green solvents are used for extraction, namely terpenoids. These offer particularly good extraction efficiencies in combination with advantages in downstream distillative processing, so that the target products can be obtained with low-energy input in the cell-free (“clean”) head fraction of the distillation. The further processing of the monomers obtained for polymerization is mainly dependent on the catalyst and the reaction conditions. In the case of biobased production of the monomers, these must now be specifically adapted to the new conditions (e.g. sidecomponents) in order to be able to produce polymers with suitable physiochemical properties. This holistic process development is guided by economic factors such as scalability of the process and techno-economic analysis of the process steps to finally arrive at an actually feasible process. This will also be demonstrated in scaled-up form as a proof-of-concept within the framework of Eco-T-REX.

BOOST FUND 2.0 Coordinator

Dr. Sascha Stark
IEK – Systems Analysis and Technology Evaluation
Forschungszentrum Jülich
email: sa.stark[at]



Prof. Lars M. Blank, iAMB – Institute of Applied Microbiology, RWTH Aachen
Prof. Sonja Herres-Pawlis, Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, RWTH Aachen
Prof. Andreas Jupke, AVT.FVT – Fluid Process Engineering, RWTH Aachen
Dr. Wilhelm Kuckshinrichs, IEK – Systems Analysis and Technology Evaluation, Forschungszentrum Jülich

Funding Period

01.01.2024 - 31.12.2026



Eco-T-REX is part of the NRW-Strategieprojekt BioSC and thus funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.