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

Squander is only waste if you can not put it to very good use! EU-funded scientists have created a round value chain deriving income sustainably from wet straw, biogas digestate and identical residues, by using solutions these types of as fertiliser, gasoline pellets and mushroom substrate – and boosting energy era in the process.


© gerasimov174 #262946677, 2020

The EU-funded round economy venture MUBIC targeted on the transformation of reduced-value agricultural waste into significant-value products – one of which is used to develop mushrooms, whose cultivation the associates established out to revolutionise.

Far more particularly, this solution is a new type of mushroom substrate, the material on which the mushrooms are developed. ‘Along with other outputs, these types of as gasoline pellets, fertiliser, and pre-taken care of feedstock for faster biogas production, the process formed in MUBIC also provides substantial sustainability gains,’ claims venture coordinator Peter Damgaard Nielsen of Danish SME State-of-the-art Substrate Systems (AST).

It notably raises the biogas yield from agricultural wastes like straw or horse bedding by about thirty %, through the prior reducing and grinding of this biomass. The potential to process wet straw, meadow grass and identical material is a distinct furthermore position: the MUBIC process for these challenging kinds of feedstock also entails pretreatment with nitrogen to crack down the lignin in the stalks, Nielsen describes.

Lucrative, round, green

‘Using this process, you get additional biogas and you get it faster, since the microorganisms in the biogas plant can also use the lignin as feed,’ claims Nielsen. The nitrogen used for this pre-therapy is recovered from the biogas plant, through the therapy of the digestate – the residues of the feedstock.

The nitrogen is extracted from the digestate in facilities built as annexes to the biogas vegetation them selves. As of July 2020, functions have begun at the initially these types of increase-on plant built as a business facility, according to Nielsen.

In the MUBIC design, the digestate may, in reality, have started out as biomass equipped by the associates. ‘Our lorries take feedstock to the biogas plant and digestate back again to the increase-on plant, in which we dry it,’ Nielsen carries on.

The taken care of digestate is then converted into a assortment of solutions. Alongside with the mushroom substrate, these outputs include gasoline pellets that are substantially additional sustainable than competing solutions since they are derived from a type of waste and since this waste is a residue of domestically sourced biomass.

The MUBIC process provides a pelletised substrate whose dry issue written content, at 85 %, is a great deal bigger than that of typical substrates, which normally ordinary about 30 %. Consequently, MUBIC substrate offers far additional mushroom feed per cubic metre than competing solutions, Nielsen describes. Because of to its significant dry-issue written content, it can be saved and does not call for cooling for the duration of transport in excess of for a longer time distances – in contrast to typical substrates, which may start out to rot.

MUBIC’s substrate enhances an additional innovation created in the venture: a method by which mushrooms developed on trays shift earlier pickers on a conveyor belt, as opposed to pickers getting to shift through the shelves in mushroom farms. This distinct innovation was perfected by Dutch SME Panbo Devices, the second lover involved in the venture, as a way to reduce harvesting prices.

Rooted in wet straw

MUBIC, which finished in January 2020, was funded by using a Horizon 2020 programme particularly built to assist SMEs prepare their improvements for commercialisation. Devoid of this help, the straw-to-substrate notion would have been shelved, claims Nielsen, who emphasises that the funding enabled the associates to deliver their idea to everyday living.

AST had in the beginning regarded promoting overall increase-on vegetation, but inevitably decided to concentration on the solutions generated during the process instead: income is generated at numerous actions, from raw material that is mostly readily available for totally free.

Used substrate from mushroom production is one these types of residue, and a great instance of the proposed round solution. In MUBIC, it is recovered as feedstock for the production of biogas, and the digestate left in excess of from this process is used to make fresh substrate.

Both the new mushroom cultivation method and the different solutions from MUBIC’s round value chain have been satisfied with interest, with new partnerships enabling the venture associates to take these developments forward, Nielsen concludes.