Ideas Generation Program (2020)
Integrants del projecte WABIRE 22.12.2020  - 

A group of four PhD and PhD students from the DEQBA bioprocess engineering and applied biocatalysis group wins the 11th edition of the Ideas Generation Program (2020).

The WABIRE project is made up of four members of the DEQBA bioprocess engineering and applied biocatalysis group: Miquel García Bofill, Javier Garrigós Martínez, Josu López Fernández and Jordi Solé Ferré, PhD. This project aims to solve a challenge of the Sant Cugat City Council for the recovery of existing biomass waste in the Collserola park, despite the fact that it is applicable in other territories. The solution proposed by WABIRE is to obtain sugars from forest biomass in order to produce, through a fermentation process, a compound with a medium-high added value, glycolic acid. This way, it is intended to make forest management cost-effective by extracting residual biomass from forests to avoid the risk of fire – an action that is not carried out in certain areas because there is currently no profitable process for its management. Glycolic acid is a product widely used in cosmetics for different skin treatments. Even so, most commercial glycolic acid is of chemical origin, where toxic and carcinogenic compounds such as formaldehyde are necessary for its production and traces might remain in the final product. For the production of biological glycolic acid these compounds are not necessary and therefore no traces remain in the cosmetic product. Thus, taking into account that the natural origin of products is increasingly valued, biological glycolic acid presents an added value claimed by the cosmetic industry.

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