VERTORO – the robber barons

Meet our “robber baron” members Michael Boot and Panos Kouris.

Summary from the agro-chemistry article: Michael Boot already went to the Chamber of Commerce before the summer vacation. With his company Vertoro he plans to scale up a process which produces a crude lignin oil (CLO) based on lignin. ‘Our secret? Mainly that we don’t make our process any fancier than it has to be.’

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Vertoro evolved from the InSciTe project Lignin Riches, where Boot was project leader. ‘The aim of the project was to produce this CLO via a thermocatalytic process. The feedstock in the first instance is lignin which is released as a by-product of second generation bio ethanol production. It is used mainly as an energy source for the above production process but, converted into CLO, it can increase this yield fourfold.’ Boot believes that there is also a market for CLO based on biomass. After all, the fossil fuel oil contains sulphur (3 to 5 percent) and is very polluting. What is more, for the time being electrification is not something the shipping world is looking at.

Scaling up at Chemelot
It has not come to that stage yet. Boot will first scale up the process at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Geleen. Boot, formerly employed at the Eindhoven University of Technology: ‘This site is the best choice as far as facilities (permits and suchlike) and image are concerned. In mid-2018 we will open a multipurpose pilot plant in which we will scale up the process. We need to roll out a barrel (160 litres) of oil a day. The technology of our process is relatively simple and solid

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