From value chain to value loop with… – Information Centre – Research & Innovation

Waste is only waste if you can not put it to excellent use! EU-funded researchers…

Waste is only waste if you can not put it to excellent use! EU-funded researchers have created a round price chain deriving money sustainably from soaked straw, biogas digestate and identical residues, via items these kinds of as fertiliser, gas pellets and mushroom substrate – and boosting power era in the process.


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The EU-funded round economic system challenge MUBIC centered on the transformation of low-price agricultural waste into higher-price products – one of which is employed to grow mushrooms, whose cultivation the associates established out to revolutionise.

Extra specially, this product is a new type of mushroom substrate, the content on which the mushrooms are developed. ‘Along with other outputs, these kinds of as gas pellets, fertiliser, and pre-treated feedstock for speedier biogas production, the process shaped in MUBIC also delivers sizeable sustainability gains,’ claims challenge coordinator Peter Damgaard Nielsen of Danish SME Advanced Substrate Technologies (AST).

It notably boosts the biogas produce from agricultural wastes like straw or horse bedding by about 30 %, by means of the prior chopping and grinding of this biomass. The potential to process soaked straw, meadow grass and identical content is a distinct furthermore position: the MUBIC process for these complicated kinds of feedstock also consists of pretreatment with nitrogen to crack down the lignin in the stalks, Nielsen describes.

Rewarding, round, inexperienced

‘Using this process, you get a lot more biogas and you get it speedier, due to the fact the microorganisms in the biogas plant can also use the lignin as feed,’ claims Nielsen. The nitrogen employed for this pre-procedure is recovered from the biogas plant, by means of the procedure of the digestate – the residues of the feedstock.

The nitrogen is extracted from the digestate in amenities designed as annexes to the biogas vegetation them selves. As of July 2020, functions have started at the 1st these kinds of incorporate-on plant designed as a industrial facility, according to Nielsen.

In the MUBIC design, the digestate may, in actuality, have commenced out as biomass provided by the associates. ‘Our lorries consider feedstock to the biogas plant and digestate back again to the incorporate-on plant, where we dry it,’ Nielsen continues.

The treated digestate is then transformed into a range of items. Along with the mushroom substrate, these outputs contain gas pellets that are significantly a lot more sustainable than competing items due to the fact they are derived from a type of waste and due to the fact this waste is a residue of locally sourced biomass.

The MUBIC process delivers a pelletised substrate whose dry matter written content, at 85 %, is a lot larger than that of common substrates, which generally normal about 30 %. As a result, MUBIC substrate delivers far a lot more mushroom feed for every cubic metre than competing items, Nielsen describes. Due to its higher dry-matter written content, it can be stored and does not involve cooling for the duration of transport over more time distances – unlike common substrates, which may start off to rot.

MUBIC’s substrate enhances yet another innovation created in the challenge: a program by which mushrooms developed on trays shift previous pickers on a conveyor belt, as opposed to pickers acquiring to shift by means of the shelves in mushroom farms. This distinct innovation was perfected by Dutch SME Panbo Methods, the next lover included in the challenge, as a way to lessen harvesting prices.

Rooted in soaked straw

MUBIC, which ended in January 2020, was funded via a Horizon 2020 programme specially designed to assist SMEs put together their improvements for commercialisation. With out this help, the straw-to-substrate idea would have been shelved, claims Nielsen, who emphasises that the funding enabled the associates to convey their thought to lifetime.

AST had at first regarded offering total incorporate-on vegetation, but ultimately made the decision to emphasis on the items produced through the process rather: money is produced at many steps, from raw content that is largely offered for absolutely free.

Used substrate from mushroom production is one these kinds of residue, and a great case in point of the proposed round method. In MUBIC, it is recovered as feedstock for the production of biogas, and the digestate left over from this process is employed to make refreshing substrate.

Each the new mushroom cultivation program and the various items from MUBIC’s round price chain have been fulfilled with interest, with new partnerships enabling the challenge associates to consider these developments forward, Nielsen concludes.