The IAR Cluster benefits from its strategic location in the heart of historically agricultural regions. The IAR Cluster is thus well placed to support initiatives using plant components and their co-products for industrial uses.
Each agro-resource has its industrial applications
Agro-resources are renewable raw materials whose transformation using industrial processes can create high-performance products with reduced environmental impact. A solution for the future, replacing petrol-based products.
Numerous raw plant materials are used in biorefining:
- Starch-producing resources: maize, wheat, potatoes, etc.
An example in wheat refining: by splitting straw, we obtain cellulose, lignin and pentose, used in making wood pulp, glues, detergents and emulsifying products.
Wheat grains are transformed into flour, starch, glucose and proteins which are mainly found in syrup form or as fibres in food and feed. Starch is also used in the paper industry. Glucose syrups play an important part in biotechnology as fermentation substrates.
- Oil-producing resources: sunflower, oilseed rape, etc.
Trituration and the refining of oil-producing grains produces oils for biodiesel or biolubricants, and high-protein flour used in food and feed.
After the oil is extracted, the residual elements, known as meal, are mainly integrated into animal feed.
- Sugar-producing resources: beet, etc.
Sugar comes from sugar cane or sugar beet, grown mainly in temperate climates.
The subsequent production of saccharose (sugar) has numerous industrial applications including bioethanol (biofuel), food and feed, fermentation substrates and glue additives. The co-product of beet, called pulp, is used in animal feed. The co-product of sugar, bagasse, is used in energy production.
- Protein-producing resources: peas, beans, lupins, etc.
The use of protein-producing plants in biorefining is marginal.
Their grains are rich in protein and so are mainly used in animal feed.
- Lignocellulosic resources.
Lignocellulosic ressources include silviculture (forest) resources, herbaceous plants (miscanthus) and fibrous plants (hemp, flax), as well as several residual resources (agricultural, forestry or paper industry waste). Xylochemistry (wood chemistry) processes produce cellulose and hemicellulose, valuable to sugar chemistry, as well as lignin. Currently, lignin is used in paper, cardboard, softwood lumber and energy. New chemical applications with higher added value need to be developed.
- Algal Resources
Macroalgae and microalgae are valuable materials which are currently under-exploited. Today, microalgae are used in cosmetics, nutriceutics and fish-farming feed. In the medium term, microalgae will also be used in biofuel and synthons in the realm of chemistry.
Agro-resources in the IAR Cluster’s areas
The Champagne-Ardenne and Picardie regions offer considerable capacity in terms of biomass resources: over 950,000 hectares of forest and nearly 3 million hectares of productive agricultural land.