Lab & Consulting Services


CAFIPLA– Combining carboxylic acid production and fibre recovery as an innovative, cost effective and sustainable pre-treatment process for heterogeneous bio-waste


June 1st, 2020 – May 31st, 2023


In previous projects, significant progress was made in the development of a carboxylic acid platform (CAP) based on urban biowaste, culminating in the implementation of a pilot plant at the industrial waste treatment plant of Twence (the Netherlands). Nevertheless, many research questions remain to be tackled. In the 3-year CAFIPLA project, the CAP will be combined with a fibre recovery platform (FRP) to further increase the material recovery from heterogeneous biowaste streams. In the CAP, research will focus on process control strategies to obtain specific spectra of carboxylic acids to feed into bioproduction of microbial protein, PHA or caproic acid bio-oil. In the FRP, fractionation into different fibre ranges will result in intermediates that can be valorised as packaging material or insulation. A pilot plant will further demonstrate the CAFIPLA upscaling potential.


CAFIPLA represents a radically new approach for bio-economy applications by approaching biomass use more pragmatically. This approach, which centres on the integration of two platforms, allows tailor-made solutions. Those solutions will improve the sustainability and cost-effectiveness of pre-treatment (ambient pressure/temperature, low chemical use, bio-waste as input material). CAFIPLA will furthermore study the biomass supply chain and the business models for future implementation.


Tecnalia (Spain)


DBFZ (Germany), Idelux Environnement (Belgium), Biopract GmbH (Germany), Universität für Bodenkultur Wien (Germany), Fibres Recherche Développement, (France), DRANCO nv (Belgium), ATB Potsdam (Germany), Ghent University (Belgium), Biotrend (Portugal), Avecom (Belgium), Dechema e.V. (Germany), TECNALIA (Spain)

DRANCO’s tasks

  • Project technical manager
  • Development and optimization of the carboxylic acid platform to obtain tailor-made carboxylic acid spectra through a combination of process parameter optimization and co-fermentation strategies
  • Integrating CAP and FRP with state-of-the-art waste treatment technologies (anaerobic digestion/composting)
  • Design and operation of a pilot plant at the industrial waste treatment plant of Idelux Environnement (Belgium)

This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking (JU) under grant agreement No 887398. The JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the Bio Based Industries Consortium.

Take a look at the new CAFIPLA brochure!



Mr. Thomas Willems

Ing. Thomas Willems : Msc. Industrial engineering in Biochemistry. Started as a project engineer at DRANCO since 2021. Responsible for the supervision and research regarding the MEKKER project and assists with the RUSTICA project.


Phone: +32 9 269 11 73


Mr. Nathan Deman

Nathan Deman: Msc. Biochemistry and Biotechnology. Started as project engineer at DRANCO nv since 2021. Responsible for the supervision and research regarding the RUSTICA project.

Phone: +32 9 269 11 91