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

Squander is only squander if you simply cannot put it to fantastic use! EU-funded scientists have developed a circular price chain deriving earnings sustainably from moist straw, biogas digestate and related residues, by means of goods these kinds of as fertiliser, fuel pellets and mushroom substrate – and boosting vitality era in the course of action.


© gerasimov174 #262946677, 2020

The EU-funded circular economic climate job MUBIC centered on the transformation of reduced-price agricultural squander into superior-price products – just one of which is applied to improve mushrooms, whose cultivation the associates established out to revolutionise.

Far more precisely, this product or service is a new kind of mushroom substrate, the materials 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 course of action formed in MUBIC also provides sizeable sustainability gains,’ suggests job coordinator Peter Damgaard Nielsen of Danish SME Advanced Substrate Systems (AST).

It notably increases the biogas generate from agricultural wastes like straw or horse bedding by about 30 {d5f2c26e8a2617525656064194f8a7abd2a56a02c0e102ae4b29477986671105}, by means of the prior cutting and grinding of this biomass. The capacity to course of action moist straw, meadow grass and related materials is a particular moreover place: the MUBIC course of action for these demanding sorts of feedstock also includes pretreatment with nitrogen to split down the lignin in the stalks, Nielsen describes.

Worthwhile, circular, eco-friendly

‘Using this course of action, you get additional biogas and you get it more quickly, simply because the germs in the biogas plant can also use the lignin as feed,’ suggests Nielsen. The nitrogen applied 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 amenities intended as annexes to the biogas plants by themselves. As of July 2020, operations have begun at the to start with these kinds of insert-on plant intended as a industrial facility, in accordance to Nielsen.

In the MUBIC design, the digestate might, in actuality, have started out out as biomass equipped by the associates. ‘Our lorries get feedstock to the biogas plant and digestate back again to the insert-on plant, exactly where we dry it,’ Nielsen continues.

The treated digestate is then converted into a selection of goods. Alongside with the mushroom substrate, these outputs contain fuel pellets that are appreciably additional sustainable than competing goods simply because they are derived from a kind of squander and simply because this squander is a residue of domestically sourced biomass.

The MUBIC course of action provides a pelletised substrate whose dry matter written content, at 85 {d5f2c26e8a2617525656064194f8a7abd2a56a02c0e102ae4b29477986671105}, is much increased than that of common substrates, which ordinarily ordinary about 30 {d5f2c26e8a2617525656064194f8a7abd2a56a02c0e102ae4b29477986671105}. Thus, MUBIC substrate presents considerably additional mushroom feed for each cubic metre than competing goods, Nielsen describes. Because of to its superior dry-matter written content, it can be saved and does not call for cooling all through transportation in excess of longer distances – unlike common substrates, which might commence to rot.

MUBIC’s substrate enhances yet another innovation developed in the job: a technique by which mushrooms grown on trays go past pickers on a conveyor belt, as opposed to pickers having to go by means of the cabinets in mushroom farms. This particular innovation was perfected by Dutch SME Panbo Devices, the 2nd associate associated in the job, as a way to reduce harvesting prices.

Rooted in moist straw

MUBIC, which ended in January 2020, was funded by means of a Horizon 2020 programme precisely intended to enable SMEs prepare their innovations for commercialisation. Without the need of this support, the straw-to-substrate concept would have been shelved, suggests Nielsen, who emphasises that the funding enabled the associates to bring their concept to lifestyle.

AST experienced initially thought of marketing overall insert-on plants, but at some point resolved to aim on the goods generated through the course of action as a substitute: earnings is generated at various measures, from uncooked materials that is largely accessible for absolutely free.

Used substrate from mushroom creation is just one these kinds of residue, and a great instance of the proposed circular solution. In MUBIC, it is recovered as feedstock for the creation of biogas, and the digestate left in excess of from this course of action is applied to make new substrate.

Both of those the new mushroom cultivation technique and the various goods from MUBIC’s circular price chain have been achieved with fascination, with new partnerships enabling the job associates to get these developments ahead, Nielsen concludes.