World population have grown exponentially since the efficient use of fossil raw materials. As known, primary resources are limited and becoming scarce or more difficult to obtain. To manage the increasing energy, material and food demand, world population will require new approaches to utilize renewable materials, such as biomass. However, there is a need for further research in bioeconomy and biotechnology, to make the transition easier and sustainable.

In comparison with the USA and China, Europe lacks scale projects demonstration. Javier Mena Sanz, scientific coordinator of the CLAMBER plant, presented that according to OECD’s international benchmark on the share of basic, applied and demonstration activities from 2010, there is a lot of applied research in the EU but only a small share of demonstrations.

The Castilla-La Macha region in central Spain is a region with a massive agricultural and food industry. The region produces 50% of the Spanish wine and 3% of the world’s olive oil.

These two reasons were the driving elements to set up the CLAMBER plant, a biorefinery plant at demonstration scale, located in Puertollano, Castilla-La Macha region.

Demonstration facility to serve companies

The plant was built in 2015, thanks to the CLAMBER project (2015), with a budget of 20 million €. The project was co-founded by the ERDF programme and the national economy ministry.

The CLAMBER plant provides services for companies to perform scaling tests, optimization of bioprocesses, development of new bioproducts, studies of technical and economic viability, training, etc. in terms of material recovery of biomass. The biorefinery plant is a public facility belonging to the Castilla-La Mancha Regional Institute for Research and Development in Agrifood and Forestry (IRIAF).

The facility has two main lines. A lignocellulosic biomass valorization unit, where a biodegradable carbon source is obtained and biotransformed in different bioproducts (biofuels, bioplastics, building blocks) and a wet biodegradable biomass valorization unit based of an anaerobic digestion system to obtain biogas, hydrogen, volatile fatty acids and biofertilizers.

The mid-stream unit with fermenters in different sizes.

“The size of our equipment, with fermenters from 3l to 20.000 l, which is almost industrial, make us obtain more reliable results, very important for scale-up experiments” says Javier Mena Sanz, the scientific coordinator of the CLAMBER plant.

The CLAMBER plant is one of the bio-based circular economy Good Practices of Castilla La-Manca, which the Interreg Europe BIOREGIO project team visited during their 2nd interregional event in Spain on 28.-29.11.2017.

This article was originally published on LAMK green blog.


CLAMBER project. 2015. EL PROYECTO CLAMBER. [Cited 29 Nov 2017]. Available at:

Mena Sanz, J. 2017. CLAMBER, Castilla-La Mancha bio-economy region plant - Invertment model in bioeconomy. Presentation at the BIOREGIO 2nd interregional event, 28.11.2017, Puertollano, Spain.