Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

AgroPellet Report Summary

Project ID: 672615

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AgroPellet (Development of a pelletising machine to process multiple-source agricultural mixes)

Reporting period: 2015-05-01 to 2015-10-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The German SME Pusch GmbH & Co. KG has developed a prototype for a pelletising machine which is able to process all kinds of agricultural residues occurring in Europe as well as mixtures of these residues and further organic residues not directly deriving from agriculture, e.g. from food processing.
All these residues can be processed with just one machine and without any modifications in the hardware of the machine, which makes it unique compared to competing products. None of the available pelletising machines is able to process such a large variety of residues as they are often adapted to one kind of residues and complicated modifications are necessary to process other kinds of residues. Pusch’s machine provides advantages not only for European farmers, who can utilise and thus valorise their residues completely without much effort and generate an additional income, but also contribute to reaching Europe’s goals of climate protection as fossil fuels can be substituted by renewable fuels.
However, several technological developments are necessary, the market potential has to be confirmed and a commercialisation concept has to be developed to obtain a marketable machine. A feasibility study was conducted to assess the technological and economic feasibility of the pelletising machine and an initial business plan was developed as a basis for its commercialisation. The following works were conducted and their results are presented:

- Calculation of the market potential: A sufficient sales potential is the main requirement for a newly developed product. For pelletising machines the sales potential mainly depends on the availability of pelletisable organic residues and on the specific advantages over competing products:

- Estimation of availability of pelletisable organic residues: The European statistics department EUROSTAT provides detailed information on the amounts and types of waste generated. This information from EUROSTAT was combined with information from NACE to obtain further information on the origins and the properties of the waste generated. A comprehensive literature study was conducted to close the remaining data gaps.

- Competing products: A variety of competing products (pelletising machines) and technologies (other ways of valorisation of organic residues) exist and are available on the European market. Relevant features such as the productivity, the price, etc. were compared.

- Identification of technological improvement potentials: The existing pelletising machine is just a first prototype which has improvement potentials, e.g. the reduction of size and costs. A list of necessary and useful potential improvements was compiled.

- Assessment of feasibility of technological developments: An initial assessment of the technological feasibility of the improvement potentials including the development of first ideas for their implementation was conducted.

- Development of a commercialisation concept: Basics for a successful commercialisation of the pelletising machine were assessed. This mainly comprised the planning of the production facilities, transportation and service structures and distribution partners.

- Various small tasks: Investigation of legal framework, internal cost and staff calculations, IPR management, risk assessment, etc.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Of the work stated above the most important tasks comprised the calculation of the market potential of the pelletising machine by estimating the availability of pelletisable organic residues in Europe and assessing competing solutions for the utilisation of pelletisable organic residues, the identification of technological improvement potentials and the assessment of their feasibility, the development of a commercialisation concept and various small tasks. The main results are stated below:

- Calculation of the market potential: The pelletising machine has a great market potential. Based on the current availability of pelletisable organic residues almost 400 machines can be sold if just 1 % of the residues are processed with Pusch’s machine, several thousand machines can be sold in the best case. The pelletising machine is superior to all existing pelletising machines in terms of processable residues and can therefore exploit a large share of the market potential.

- Estimation of availability of pelletisable organic residues: There are more than 232 million tons of pelletisable organic residues available in Europe every year. These 232 million tons comprise 100 million tons of sustainably available agricultural residues as well as 132 million tons of organic residues coming from other sectors, e.g. from food processing. At a processing capacity of 6,000 tons per year and pelletising machine almost 39,000 pelletising machines would be required if the full amount shall be pelletised.

- Competing products: A variety of competing products exists and is available on the European market. However, the pelletising machine offers unique advantages (the ability to process all kinds of organic residues without any modifications in the hardware of the machine) at a comparable price and processing speed. It is therefore superior to competing solutions.

- Identification of technological improvement potentials: The existing pelletising machine is just a first prototype. Several improvement potentials have been identified. The control system (PLC) needs to be exchanged, for instance, and size and costs could be further reduced. Various small improvement potentials have been identified.

- Assessment of feasibility of technological developments: First ideas for the solution of the identified problems or improvement potentials have already been developed. Technically feasible solutions for all important problems have been found.

- Development of a commercialisation concept: A successful commercialisation of the pelletising machine can be expected. The necessary technological developments are feasible, the final product will be competitive. Moreover a marketing concept has been developed, production facilities have been planned and distribution partners have been found.

- Various small tasks: The legal framework, i.e. requirements for the market introduction of pelletising machines, were investigated and a concept for the IPR management was developed. Plans for the internal calculation of staff and costs were elaborated and risks were assessed.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The work performed in the first stage of the innovation project can be divided into 3 categories: the assessment of the market potential for the pelletising machine based on the availability of pelletisable organic residues and competing solutions, the identification of technological improvement potentials including the assessment of their feasibility and the development of a commercialisation concept for the finalised machine.
The first results obtained in stage 1 of the project look very positive: The market potential based on the demand for pelletising machines in general is more than sufficient for a market introduction and the pelletising machine offers unique advantages compared to competing solutions and is therefore superior to them. Technological improvement potentials have been identified and first solutions have already been developed, all problems can be solved.
It is expected that these results will be confirmed in stage 2 of the project and that a marketable product will be developed. Pusch’s new pelletising machine will enable European farmers to utilise all their currently often unutilised residues and thus generate an additional income while at the same time help Europe to reach its goals of climate control and save limited fossil resources. Billions of Euros will be generated annually and Billions of tons of CO2 can be saved. With the pelletising machine Pusch has the potential to obtain market leadership in the processing of organic residues.

However, the business idea is abandoned for the moment because Pusch GmbH & Co. KG has financial problems and is therefore currently not able to invest any further funds in the development of the pelletising machine. However, Pusch is still convinced of the machine and its potentials and will revive the business idea as soon as the economic situation has improved.

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