NF-2000 - AIR Programme Final Project Results disseminated under FAIR-CT96-1094

Edited by Jim Coombs and Katy Hall 
CPL Press 

ISBN ISBN 1872691226 EUR 19307      £15.00

Table of Contents


The NF-2000 project resulted in the preparation of 600 individual Items covering ECLAIR, AIR, FAIR, JOULE, THERMIE and FP5 as well as National and International activities and reports, etc. It was therefore not practical to bring all these together in a book, although they will all be available on Issue 3 of the Non-Food Uses CD-ROM. However, since all AIR projects have now finished (whilst some FAIR projects are still ongoing), the NF-2000 Items containing final results from those AIR projects related to Non-Food Uses have been brought together in a book. They have also been incorporated into the CD-ROM.


This book contains a selection of the final summary reports from Research and Development projects, supported under the AIR programme, relating to the production and use of renewable biomaterials derived from agricultural crops. The contents are based on information collected in the course of the Concerted Action (FAIR-CT96-1904) on Non-Food Agro-Industrial Research Information Dissemination (NF-2000).

The AIR Programme (Agriculture and Agro-Industry including Fisheries Programme of Research and Technological Development) ran from 1990 to 1996. However, some of the projects funded during the later calls continued until 1999, overlapping with the subsequent FAIR Programme (1994 to 1998). A significant proportion of the funds made available under both programmes was directed towards the production and utilisation of novel plants for non-food uses. Such uses ranged from production of fuels and other energy uses, through building materials and fibres (including wood and composites) to chemicals.

The reports presented here cover renewable bioproducts aimed at the higher value markets. The project reports are arranged, as was the programme, in a series of clusters covering Biomass Production, Thermochemical Conversion, Bioconversion, Oils and Fats and Bioplastics as well as Pulp and Paper. In addition to these areas of activity, the AIR programme also covered forestry management, wood products, food, fisheries and conventional agricultural research.

The renewable bioproducts activities have been selected from this overall programme since this is the area that is least developed commercially, and that offers particular opportunities to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to enter niche markets, while providing the farming community with novel crops and the possibility of diversifying their activities. In general the costs of growing, harvesting, processing and using crops exceeds that of using petroleum as an industrial raw material, while the actual or perceived quality of end products may not be as good. However, natural products have environmental benefits, including biodegradability and are less likely to cause allergenic reactions, finding favour with the consumer as natural or 'green' chemicals.

Hence, the purpose of the Air Programme was to investigate the extent to which the reliability of production of novel crops could be improved, raw material production costs reduced and the efficiency and quality of end products increased. Other activities, such as those in the area of pulp and paper aimed to apply novel, often biological, treatments that were more benign and again caused less pollution.

The AIR programme was the second to be funded covering the overall concept of agro-industrial activity. It followed on from the ECLAIR programme that has already resulted in quite a wide range of biological products, especially in the area of pest and disease control, reaching the market. Much of the work was fairly basic in nature, as illustrated here, forming the basis for some of the activities funded under the subsequent FAIR programme in which work was extended to cover complete production chains from the farm to the factory output. In many areas further developments are still needed and continue to be funded under the Fifth RTD Framework Programme (FP5), as part of the ongoing efforts of the European Commission to bring Renewable Bioproducts to the market place.

AIR Programme Secretariat

Table of Contents - Projects listed by Cluster

AIR1-CT92-0041 Sweet sorghum: a sustainable crop for energy in Europe
AIR1-CT92-0294 Miscanthus productivity network
AIR2-CT93-1089 Cyanara cardunculus network
AIR3-CT93-1236 Hibiscus esculentus: development of an integrated exploitation system with high added value
AIR2-CT93-1353 European Aesculus cultivation system
AIR2-CT93-1817 Vegetable oils with specific fatty acids (VOSFA) agricultural and industrial development of novel oilseed crops
AIR3-CT94-1979 Selection, cultivation and harvesting of yew: silviculture and biotechnological production as alternatives in the development of taxanes with anticancer activity
AIR2-CT93-1426 Quinoa: A multi-purpose crop for the EC's agricultural diversification
AIR2-CT94-1617 Genetic improvement of willow (Salix) as a source of bioenergy for the EC
AIR3-CT94-2465 Reed canary grass project (Phalaris arundinacea): development of a new crop production system based on delayed harvesting and a system for its combined processing to chemical pulp and biofuel powder
AIR3-CT94-2178 Alternative oilseed crop Camelina sativa
AIR3-CT94-2324 Coordinated improvement of the oil productivity and quality of the castor crop in order to allow new European outlets
Thermochemical Conversion
AIR1-CT92-0216 Improvement of the flash pyrolysis process and pilot plant for bio-oils upgrading
AIR2-CT93-0889 Integrated chemicals and fuels recovery from pyrolysis liquids
AIR2-CT93-1086 Production, treatment and utilisation of bio-oils from pyrolysis for energy and alternative fuels and chemicals
AIR3-CT94-2368 Influence of forest biomass grown in fertilised soils on combustion and gasification processes as well as on the environment with integrated bioenergy production
Biological Conversion
AIR1-CT92-0001 Valorisation of sugar beet pulp by solid state fermentation
AIR1-CT92-0026 New processes for the biological transformation of agricultural residues for the production of high added value flavours
AIR1-CT92-0321 Cellulose degradation by Clostridum thermocellum
AIR2-CT93-0911 The development, investigation and assessment of a novel continuous affinity separation techniques
AIR2-CT93-1023 Fermentative utilisation of fruit and vegetable pomace and biowaste for production of novel types of products
AIR2-CT93-1219 Biological delignification in paper manufacture: optimisation of enzyme mixtures for treating cereal straw and other non-woody materials
AIR2-CT93-1272 Cellulases and hemicellulases from the thermophilic fungus Thermoascus aurantiacus
AIR2-CT94-1283 Biomass production systems for the biosynthesis of carotenoids
AIR2-CT94-1345 Exploitation of microbial enzyme specificity in pectin modification and degradation to improve and to develop enzymatic processes in the agro-industry
AIR2-CT93-1661 Structure, function and industrial applications of plant laccases and peroxidases
AIR3-CT94-1987 BIOWARE: Development of a biological integrated process for purifying olive oil water recovering energy and producing alcohol
AIR3-CT94-2060 New strategies for the development of integrated processes for the generation of compounds with flavouring and/or other functional properties from natural materials
AIR3-CT94-2065 Use of a new technical enzyme and its biomimetic system to improve the properties of polar high-yield pulps
AIR3-CT94-2193 Hydrolytic flavour release from glycosidically bound precursors in fruits and some other plant-derived foods
AIR3-CT94-2199 The use of enzymes in the processing of new oilseeds (UEPNO) to industrial raw material
Oils and Fats
AIR1-CT92-0513 ASHLI - Advanced selective hydrogenation of lipids
AIR2-CT94-0967 Manipulation of lipid metabolism aimed at production of fatty acids and polyketides for industrial use and application in functional foods
AIR3-CT94-2003 Sunflower oil for industrial applications - SOFIA
AIR3-CT94-2063 Vegetable oils and their fatty acid esters as substitutes for organic solvents in industrial processes - VOFAPro
AIR3-CT94-2218 Reactivity of fatty esters and glycerol: new methods
AIR3-CT94-2291 Production of sugar fatty acid esters from renewable agricultural resources: an integrated optimisation of enzymatic-purification processes and of surfactive properties
Speciality Chemicals
AIR2-CT92-0818 Extraction of useful food and cosmetic ingredients of vegetable origin
AIR2-CT94-0981 Cultivation and extraction of natural dyes for industrial use in natural textile production
AIR2-CT93-1416 Developing analytical methods from fluorescence spectra and video images with relevance to food and non-food agro-industrial engineering using new computer based evaluation techniques (AFFLUENCE)
AIR2-CT94-1560 Health and quality enhancing components from milk proteins for food and pharmaceutical applications
AIR2-CT93-0825 Production of 1,3-propanediol from glycerol surpluses: yield optimisation by technological development and by genetic strain improvement
AIR2-CT93-1099 Biodegradability of bioplastics: prenormative research, biorecycling and ecological impacts
AIR2-CT94-1187 Thermoplastic starches for industrial non-food uses
AIR3-CT94-2285 Development of innovative biodegradable polylactic acids-polymers, based on agricultural raw materials for new industrial applications
Pulp and Paper
AIR2-CT92-1796 Renewpack: Improved packaging products from renewable materials
AIR3-CT94-2272 Assessment and improvement of the recycling characteristics of vegetable oil based inks for use with newsprint and sheet fed printed papers
AIR3-CT94-2485 New paper industry uses of advanced chemically modified and biologically improved starch grades
Concerted Actions: Information, Meetings and Networks
AIR1-CT92-0187 Image analysis for the advancement of pulp and paper research
AIR2-CT93-1233 Economical lab sheet forming
AIR2-CT92-1499 Wood chemistry applied to the manufacture of paper pulp
AIR2-CT93-1671 Development of standard methodology for integrating non-food crop production in rural areas with niche energy markets
AIR3-CT94-1990 Novel fermentation feedstocks
AIR3-CT94-2299 NF-AIRID Non-food agro-industrial research information dissemination including development of an information network and CD-ROM based distribution
AIR3-CT94-2480 Crambe abyssinica - production and utilisation, a comprehensive programme
AIR3-CT94-2507 New demands on laboratory-refining in quality assessment of paper pulps
AIR3-CT94-1857 TAIRA: Thermal AIR applications: a pyrolysis network for Europe (PyNE) to review pyrolysis and related processes for production of fuels and chemicals from agricultural materials
AIR3-CT94-2455 Environmental aspects of biomass production and routes for European energy supply
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