LIGNOBIOLIFE - Development of high value-added bioproducts from forest waste through microwave technology

LIFE17 CCM/ES/000051

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Contact details:

Contact person: Juan Luis Aguirre
Tel: 34609204712
Email: mteresa.val@uah.es

Project description:


Forests account for almost 40% of the Europe’s territory, with the figure being higher in Spain at almost 55% in Spain and around the same in Portugal. Mediterranean countries are especially prone to forest fires, a problem that is worsening as a result of climate change. Globally, forest fires are responsible for around 12.95 Gt of CO2 emissions every year. As a preventive measure, Mediterranean countries invest millions of euros cleaning the forests in order to diminish the amount of easily combustible biomass. Most of this forest waste, around 1.98 t/ha, is burned in the field as part of the cleaning process, releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, mainly CO2 and NO2.


The main objective of LIGNOBIOLIFE is to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of developing an industrial plant to generate high added value bioproducts, such as biochar and wood vinegar, from forest waste. In this way, the project will make a valuable contribution to rural economic development. The project approach is to apply sustainable forest management practices for biomass recollection, thus ensuring the conservation of biodiversity.

Specifically, the project will demonstrate, on an industrial scale, the efficient production of biochar and bio-asphalt from lignocellulose residues using microwave pyrolysis. The aim is to show the valuable qualities of biochar and the potential of wood vinegar for use as a green alternative to chemical herbicides. The project also plans to demonstrate the environmental, structural and economic viability of the use of bio-asphalt. Finally, the viability of installing three bio-refineries (one in Spain and two in Portugal) will be assessed and possible business plans drawn up.

The project will make a contribution to the EU Forest Strategy, the Biomass Action Plan, 2030 European climate and energy framework, 2050 Low carbon economy roadmap, the directives on sustainable use of pesticides, the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources and the quality of fuels, as well as the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry Regulation for 2021-2030 and the Circular Economy European Strategy.

Expected results:

  • Optimisation and operation of an industrial-scale demonstration plant to obtain bioproducts from forest biomass through microwave pyrolysis;
  • Transformation of 52 tonnes of forest wastes into bioproducts;
  • Management of 30 ha of pine and eucalyptus forests, decreasing the fire risk of these areas;
  • 0.15% reduction of CO2 emissions in this area;
  • Production of 13 tonnes of biochar and improvement of the soil on one hectare of land by fixing carbon in soil and increasing water and nutrient retention;
  • Production of 5.2 tonnes of high-value bio-asphalt;
  • Production of 10.8 tonnes of wood vinegar and demonstration of its efficiency as a herbicide on 1 ha of agricultural land and on 3 000m2 of roads and urban green areas.



Environmental issues addressed:


Climate change Mitigation - GHG reduction in non EU ETS sectors
Climate change Mitigation - Renewable energies


forest fire‚  biodiversity‚  forest management‚  preventive measure‚  carbon sequestration

Target EU Legislation

  • Climate Change & Energy efficicency
  • COM(2014)15 - Policy framework for climate and energy in the period from 2020 to 2030 (22.01.2014 ...
  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 ...
  • Climate Change & Energy efficicency
  • Decision 529/2013 - Accounting rules on greenhouse gas emissions and removals resulting from acti ...
  • Waste
  • COM(2014)398 - "Towards a circular economy: a zero waste programme for Europe" (02.07.2014)
  • Land & Soil
  • COM(2013)659 - A new EU Forest Strategy: for forests and the forest-based sector (20.09.2013)
  • Climate Change & Energy efficicency
  • Directive 2009/28 - Promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (23.04.2009)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Fundacion General Universidad de Alcala
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description Fundación General Universidad de Alcalais a public foundation that aims to fulfil the objectives of Alcala University by promoting education, science and culture.
Partners Eco al cuadrado, Spain EUROVIA MANAGEMENT ESPAÑA S.L, Spain ASOCIACIÓN DESARROLLO RURAL ALCARRIA SUR, Spain NEOLIQUID ADVANCED BIOFUELS AND BIOCHEMICALS SL, Spain ASSOCIACIO DOURO HISTORICO, Portugal Dueceira- Associação de Desenvolvimento do Ceira e Dueça, Portugal Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria, Spain


Project reference LIFE17 CCM/ES/000051
Duration 03-SEP-2018 to 02-SEP -2022
Total budget 1,319,955.00 €
EU contribution 786,655.00 €
Project location Galicia(España) Asturias(España) Cantabria(España) País Vasco(España) Navarra(España) Rioja(España) Aragón(España) Madrid(España) Castilla-León(España) Castilla-La Mancha(España) Extremadura(España) Cataluña(España) Comunidad Valenciana(España) Baleares(España) Andalucía(España) Murcia(España) Ceuta y Melilla(España) Canarias(España) Norte(Portugal) Centro(Portugal) Lisboa e vale do Tejo(Portugal) Alentejo(Portugal) Algarve(Portugal) Açores(Portugal) Madeira(Portugal)


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Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version