SWEETWOODS Consortium brings together 9 European bio-innovation oriented stakeholders

The project receives major EU funding to establish a first-of-a-kind wood fractionation Flagship plant to create new industrial value-chains using sustainable hardwood as a resource

  • European grant amounting to €20.96 million
  • Industry consortium led by OÜ Graanul Biotech and bringing together MetGen Oy, Global Bioenergies, Tecnaro GmbH, Armacell via Ultima GmbH, Recticel N.V., 2B Srl, Vertech Group and Spinverse Oy
  • Aims at establishing a completely unique wood fractionation Flagship plant and demonstration of novel value-chains based on sustainable hardwood resource
  • Flagship plant modular design allows smaller economy of scale, minimized regional environmental impact and sustainable resource use while supporting regional development and employment

Tallinn 9th of May 2018 – The SWEETWOODS Consortium announces the signature of a grant agreement aiming at demonstrating several new-value chains to convert currently poorly valorized hardwood residues into high purity intermediate building blocks of cellulosic sugars and high-quality lignin. Establishment of innovative wood fractionation Flagship plant in Estonia opens an avenue to a diversity of new industrial intermediates and end-use applications. The intense 4-year cooperation starts on 01.06.2018.

Until recently non-timber hardwood biomass has been considered solely suitable for a limited number of end products, mostly cellulose pulp or ethanol. By-products like lignin and hemicellulose have been considered low-value side streams. The SWEETWOODS technology platform creates additional value for lignocellulosic biomass and all the fractions will be valorized. The carefully selected technologies are co-developed to complement each other: MetGen’s comprehensive enzymatic solutions are optimized for Graanul Biotech’s diverse feedstock and selected pretreatment technology allowing affordable breakdown and efficient bio-conversion of wood to valuable intermediates and products. Enzymatic lignin depolymerization and conversion of sugars provide a portfolio of high-purity wood- derived intermediate products with novel characteristics. These will be further processed into a variety of biofuels, biochemicals, and biomaterials to enhance new business models of the biobased economy. The consortium is proud to have the leading companies to participate in development and market demonstration on new bio-based products – completing a strong chain from forest to market.

The 9 participants of the SWEETWOODS project representing 6 EU-member States have signed an agreement with the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU). The objective is to demonstrate at the industrial level successful and profitable production of high purity lignin and sugars from hardwood as well as the demonstration of these materials in novel applications by combining the technologies and know-how of participants as follows:

  • Industrial wood processing competence by OÜ Graanul Biotech (Estonia)
  • Industrial enzymes for hydrolysis, lignin depolymerization, and sugar conversions by MetGen Oy (Finland),
  • Post-processing of lignin for bio-composites production by Tecnaro GmbH (Germany),
  • Production of bio-based elastomeric foams by Armacell, viaUltima GmbH (Germany),
  • Incorporation of lignin into polyurethane foams production by Recticel N.V. (Belgium),
  • Hydrolysate fermentation to bio-isobutene by Global Bioenergies (France)
  • Life Cycle Assessment of the project by 2B Srl (Italy)
  • Viability performance analysis by Vertech Group (France), and
  • Project management support by Spinverse Oy (Finland)

The project was selected under the name SWEETWOODS (N°792061), in the frame of the European HORIZON 2020 programme for research and innovation, following a very selective and competitive process led by independent experts.

The project covers a total budget of €43.2 million. Non-refundable grants totaling €20.96 million will be provided by the EU, with the remainder being contributed by the SWEETWOODS project participants.



Peep Pitk, PhD
R&D Manager
AS Graanul Invest
Mobile + 372 55 604 106
e-mail: peep.pitk@graanulinvest.com


About BBI JU

BBI JU’s mission is to implement, under Horizon 2020 rules, the Strategic Innovation Research Agenda (SIRA) developed by the industry and validated by the European Commission. The EU body aims at providing environmental and socio-economic benefits for European Citizens, increasing the competitiveness of Europe and contributing to establishing Europe as a key player in research, demonstration, and deployment of advanced bio-based products and biofuels. The BBI JU will also play an important role in achieving a bio-economy in Europe.

About project coordinator Graanul Biotech

OÜ Graanul Biotech (part of Graanul Invest Group, owned 100% by AS Graanul Invest) is a newly established bio-based economy dedicated private company headquartered in Tallinn, Estonia. The main fields of activities of Graanul Biotech are the innovative technologies based processing of woody biomass into high purity lignin, C5 sugars, C6 sugars or microcrystalline cellulose to be used for novel end-use applications. Within SWEETWOODS project Sweetwater Energy pre-treatment technology platform is established and operated by Graanul Biotech.


BBI JU, press release, 2018-05-09.


Bio-based Industries (BBI) Joint Undertaking
Global Bioenergies
Graanul Invest
Horizon 2020
Spinverse Ltd.
Vertech Group


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