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

Waste is only squander if you simply cannot place it to great use! EU-funded scientists have designed a round value chain deriving income sustainably from moist straw, biogas digestate and comparable residues, via items these kinds of as fertiliser, fuel pellets and mushroom substrate – and boosting strength technology in the procedure.


© gerasimov174 #262946677, 2020

The EU-funded round economy project MUBIC concentrated on the transformation of very low-value agricultural squander into high-value products – 1 of which is utilized to mature mushrooms, whose cultivation the companions set out to revolutionise.

More precisely, this merchandise is a new style of mushroom substrate, the material on which the mushrooms are grown. ‘Along with other outputs, these kinds of as fuel pellets, fertiliser, and pre-treated feedstock for more quickly biogas creation, the procedure shaped in MUBIC also provides sizeable sustainability gains,’ says project coordinator Peter Damgaard Nielsen of Danish SME Superior Substrate Technologies (AST).

It notably improves the biogas yield from agricultural wastes like straw or horse bedding by about 30 %, by the prior cutting and grinding of this biomass. The capacity to procedure moist straw, meadow grass and comparable material is a certain as well as position: the MUBIC procedure for these complicated sorts of feedstock also consists of pretreatment with nitrogen to crack down the lignin in the stalks, Nielsen points out.

Successful, round, green

‘Using this procedure, you get additional biogas and you get it more quickly, simply because the micro organism in the biogas plant can also use the lignin as feed,’ says Nielsen. The nitrogen utilized for this pre-treatment is recovered from the biogas plant, by the treatment of the digestate – the residues of the feedstock.

The nitrogen is extracted from the digestate in amenities built as annexes to the biogas plants on their own. As of July 2020, operations have started at the first these kinds of insert-on plant built as a business facility, in accordance to Nielsen.

In the MUBIC design, the digestate may possibly, in actuality, have commenced out as biomass equipped by the companions. ‘Our lorries choose feedstock to the biogas plant and digestate again to the insert-on plant, where we dry it,’ Nielsen carries on.

The treated digestate is then transformed into a selection of items. Alongside with the mushroom substrate, these outputs consist of fuel pellets that are significantly additional sustainable than competing items simply because they are derived from a style of squander and simply because this squander is a residue of regionally sourced biomass.

The MUBIC procedure provides a pelletised substrate whose dry subject material, at 85 %, is substantially better than that of regular substrates, which normally normal about 30 %. Thus, MUBIC substrate supplies much additional mushroom feed for every cubic metre than competing items, Nielsen points out. Owing to its high dry-subject material, it can be stored and does not require cooling for the duration of transport over for a longer period distances – as opposed to regular substrates, which may possibly start off to rot.

MUBIC’s substrate complements a further innovation designed in the project: a program by which mushrooms grown on trays move previous pickers on a conveyor belt, as opposed to pickers possessing to move by the shelves in mushroom farms. This certain innovation was perfected by Dutch SME Panbo Systems, the next spouse concerned in the project, as a way to cut down harvesting expenses.

Rooted in moist straw

MUBIC, which ended in January 2020, was funded via a Horizon 2020 programme precisely built to aid SMEs put together their innovations for commercialisation. With out this support, the straw-to-substrate strategy would have been shelved, says Nielsen, who emphasises that the funding enabled the companions to provide their idea to everyday living.

AST experienced at first regarded selling total insert-on plants, but finally decided to aim on the items produced during the procedure alternatively: income is produced at various measures, from raw material that is mainly readily available for totally free.

Invested substrate from mushroom creation is 1 these kinds of residue, and a great case in point of the proposed round solution. In MUBIC, it is recovered as feedstock for the creation of biogas, and the digestate still left over from this procedure is utilized to make contemporary substrate.

Both of those the new mushroom cultivation program and the many items from MUBIC’s round value chain have been achieved with fascination, with new partnerships enabling the project companions to choose these developments ahead, Nielsen concludes.