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

Waste is only squander if you are unable to place it to superior use! EU-funded scientists have formulated a round worth chain deriving earnings sustainably from wet straw, biogas digestate and equivalent residues, by means of products and solutions this kind of as fertiliser, fuel pellets and mushroom substrate – and boosting vitality generation in the course of action.


© gerasimov174 #262946677, resource:stock.adobe.com 2020

The EU-funded round overall economy venture MUBIC targeted on the transformation of minimal-worth agricultural squander into large-worth products – just one of which is utilized to develop mushrooms, whose cultivation the associates set out to revolutionise.

Additional particularly, this products is a new sort of mushroom substrate, the substance on which the mushrooms are developed. ‘Along with other outputs, this kind of as fuel pellets, fertiliser, and pre-treated feedstock for a lot quicker biogas production, the course of action formed in MUBIC also provides substantial sustainability gains,’ suggests venture coordinator Peter Damgaard Nielsen of Danish SME State-of-the-art Substrate Technologies (AST).

It notably raises the biogas generate from agricultural wastes like straw or horse bedding by about thirty %, by means of the prior chopping and grinding of this biomass. The skill to course of action wet straw, meadow grass and equivalent substance is a specific furthermore issue: the MUBIC course of action for these complicated varieties of feedstock also includes pretreatment with nitrogen to crack down the lignin in the stalks, Nielsen points out.

Lucrative, round, green

‘Using this course of action, you get a lot more biogas and you get it a lot quicker, since the micro organism in the biogas plant can also use the lignin as feed,’ suggests Nielsen. The nitrogen utilized for this pre-treatment is recovered from the biogas plant, by means of the treatment of the digestate – the residues of the feedstock.

The nitrogen is extracted from the digestate in services made as annexes to the biogas plants by themselves. As of July 2020, operations have begun at the very first this kind of increase-on plant made as a commercial facility, in accordance to Nielsen.

In the MUBIC product, the digestate may possibly, in point, have started off out as biomass equipped by the associates. ‘Our lorries acquire feedstock to the biogas plant and digestate back to the increase-on plant, wherever we dry it,’ Nielsen continues.

The treated digestate is then transformed into a selection of products and solutions. Together with the mushroom substrate, these outputs incorporate fuel pellets that are considerably a lot more sustainable than competing products and solutions since they are derived from a sort of squander and since this squander is a residue of regionally sourced biomass.

The MUBIC course of action provides a pelletised substrate whose dry make any difference content, at 85 %, is substantially larger than that of common substrates, which normally regular about 30 %. Consequently, MUBIC substrate supplies considerably a lot more mushroom feed for each cubic metre than competing products and solutions, Nielsen points out. Owing to its large dry-make any difference content, it can be stored and does not involve cooling through transportation above for a longer time distances – compared with common substrates, which may possibly commence to rot.

MUBIC’s substrate enhances another innovation formulated in the venture: a process by which mushrooms developed on trays shift earlier pickers on a conveyor belt, as opposed to pickers acquiring to shift by means of the cabinets in mushroom farms. This specific innovation was perfected by Dutch SME Panbo Techniques, the second companion included in the venture, as a way to reduce harvesting costs.

Rooted in wet straw

MUBIC, which ended in January 2020, was funded by means of a Horizon 2020 programme particularly made to assistance SMEs put together their improvements for commercialisation. Without having this assist, the straw-to-substrate principle would have been shelved, suggests Nielsen, who emphasises that the funding enabled the associates to bring their notion to daily life.

AST experienced initially deemed selling overall increase-on plants, but eventually resolved to concentrate on the products and solutions created in the course of the course of action instead: earnings is created at many steps, from uncooked substance that is mostly obtainable for cost-free.

Put in substrate from mushroom production is just one this kind of residue, and a excellent instance of the proposed round strategy. In MUBIC, it is recovered as feedstock for the production of biogas, and the digestate left above from this course of action is utilized to make clean substrate.

Both the new mushroom cultivation process and the different products and solutions from MUBIC’s round worth chain have been achieved with fascination, with new partnerships enabling the venture associates to acquire these developments ahead, Nielsen concludes.