Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


ORION Report Summary

Project ID: 282693
Funded under: FP7-SME
Country: Ireland

Final Report Summary - ORION (ORganic waste management by a small-scale Innovative automated system of anaerobic digestION)

Executive Summary:
SME agro-food industries have to manage large quantities of organic waste, the industry produces 240 million tonnes of organic waste annually. This project will provide these 17 million European SMEs (employing 49 million people) involved in this sector with a practical solution to dispose of relatively small amounts of organic waste and in turn create energy from that waste.

Currently, the main solutions available for these SMEs’ organic waste treatment are landfill and incineration which imply a grouping of the waste before treatment and so require intermediate storage and/or waste transport; as such, SMEs must face high costs of waste treatment: storage costs in cool areas, specific transportation costs and finally costs for incineration or recovery. The cost of disposing of this waste varied per country in Europe from €40 to €200 per tonne. Moreover, such methods are associated with:
• on-site bad hygiene (nauseous odours for employees and neighbours, microorganism proliferation), which also has a negative influence on SMEs’ public image.
• negative impact on the global environment quality: generation of greenhouse gases and uncontrolled emission of dioxins

Therefore the aim of the ORION project was to develop a small automatic user-friendly digestion machine that would enable the domestic on-site treatment of a wide range of organic waste from about 100 up to 5,000 tonnes per year at low cost and with low maintenance. To achieve this, the following scientific and technical objectives were carried out:

1. To move from existing large scale plants (> 20’000 t/y) distant from the waste production to stand alone smaller (3000L) modular machines.
2. Development of a new high performance reactor to increase the process efficiency by:
a. Increasing the conversion efficiency of the wastes from 40% to more than 90%
b. Decreasing the retention time from one month to two weeks.
c. Accelerating waste digestion by immobilisation of biomass in supported and efficient biofilms using specific coatings & surfaces
3. Development of sensors, data transmission and signal processing in order to:
a. Continuously optimise the operation of the machine
b. Anticipate possible problems in the biological activity
c. Reduce the operation costs
d. Maximize the reliability i.e. with a MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) > 5 years.
4. Reduction of problems of build-up and blockage and fouling of critical elements such as valves and sensors using specific coatings & surfaces.

Project Context and Objectives:
SME agro-food industries have to manage large quantities of organic waste, the industry produced 239,871,940 tonnes of organic waste in 2006. This project could provide these 17 million European SMEs involved in the sector with a practical solution to dispose of relatively small amounts of organic waste and in turn create energy from that waste. In doing so, it has developed new knowledge and strategies that address a common technological problem for SMEs throughout Europe.

According to the European Environment Agency between 10% and 50% of food processing waste is considered to be available for energy production (as the remainder is already utilised by the industry) ( in How much bioenergy can Europe produce without harming the Environment (EEA), 2006). For example, up to one third of all raw material entering a fish processing plant will end up as organic waste and all this waste could be digested and used for energy production. The SMEs involved in the project have to manage from 100 tons to 3000 tonnes a year. However, the only solutions currently available for these SMEs’ organic waste treatment are landfill and incineration which imply a grouping of the waste before treatment and so require intermediate storage and/or waste transport (as most fish processing plants are located in remote areas); as such, SMEs must face high costs of waste treatment: storage costs in cool areas, specific transportation costs and finally costs for incineration or recovery. The cost of disposing of this waste varies per country but the price varies in Europe from €40 to €200 per tonne. Therefore, rising costs have forced businesses to rethink their waste disposal management strategies. Moreover, such methods are associated with:
• on-site bad hygiene (nauseous odours for employees and neighbours, microorganism proliferation), which also has a negative influence on SMEs’ public image.
• negative impact on the global environment quality: generation of greenhouse gases and uncontrolled emission of dioxins

There are four commonly implemented alternative options for biowaste treatment: landfill disposal, incineration, anaerobic digestion and central composting systems. EUROSTAT has found a decrease of 49% in the amount of municipal waste disposed of by landfill between 1995 and 2013. This is mainly due to some countries namely; Austria, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Belgium, imposing bans on sending some bio-degradable wastes or recyclable materials to landfill. These bans have resulted in large investments being made in these countries for alternative treatments. Nevertheless, landfill still accounts for 40% of all bio-waste treatment in the EU.

While landfill has decreased, incineration rates have increased, from 1995 to 2013 treatment by incineration has nearly doubled. However, the incineration of organic waste is expensive, has high energy consumption and emits significant quantities of direct greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. In addition incineration is limited to certain waste materials. The main objective of the Directive 2000/76/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 December 2000 on the incineration of waste is to prevent or reduce, as far as possible, air, water and soil pollution caused by the incineration or co-incineration of waste, as well as the resulting risk to human health.

Large facilities for biomechanical treatment, biogas production and/or compost production, require large occupied areas, and, in the case of biogas production, require also to ensure maximum profitability of all generated energy. This is possible where district heating systems are already built, but require large investments where a new system must be built. Another solution is to inject biomethane to the natural gas grid but again, this is currently only profitable for large plants, processing more than 20,000 tonnes/year of waste (e.g. Kompogas plants). (N.B. The profitability threshold for such plants depends very much on the local conditions: the very low limit quoted is around 5,000 tonnes/year). In most cases, the only alternative for processing smaller quantities of wastes, where a large digestion plant is not available in the area, is to incinerate them. In such cases water can be first extracted by mechanical methods but the wastes still have a high moisture content and are of no energetic value to the incinerator.

Legislation on organic waste treatment and landfills tends to be harmonized at a European level. Therefore, there is a real need to adapt anaerobic digestion technology to SME scale and give them access to on site cost effective waste management solutions. As mentioned earlier storing industrial wastes in landfills is the most common elimination method used in the EU: in 2006, 41% of organic waste was evacuated in open fields, 19% were incinerated. However, since July 1, 2002, the storage of municipal wastes in landfills must be zero and only ultimate waste should be placed in landfills. The current targets from the Landfill Directive (1999/31/EC) are 35% of biodegradable wastes (by 2016) earmarked for landfill diversion and 50% recycling of municipal wastes by 2020. Recycling and recovery of organic wastes have to respect more and more stringent legislative regulations:
• Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on waste
• Council Directive 99/31/EEC on landfill of wastes;
• The environment impact assessment directive (85/337/EEC);
• The integrated pollution prevention and control directive (96/61/EEC);
• Eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS) directive 1836/93/EEC.

Claudia Olazabal of the European Commission's waste management unit at a recent Environmental seminar said that landfill would become "increasingly more difficult and increasingly more expensive." The landfill directive would be "a revolution in waste management in Europe" and "will cause a complete shake-up in waste management policy throughout Europe," she said. She added that the directive was already "forcing businesses all over Europe to consider and use alternative methods of waste disposal." In December 2008, the European Commission published the Green Paper on biowaste. Biowaste accounts for 30 % to 45 % of municipal solid waste across Europe. The discussion paper explored the impacts and options of bio-waste management within the EU. European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas stated “The EU needs to become a resource-efficient, recycling society and bio-waste offers great opportunities. Once our resources become waste we must find ways to recycle them. Energy recovery from bio-waste in the form of biogas or thermal energy will help in the fight against climate change. We need to work with stakeholders to ensure that the waste management options we choose bring the greatest benefit to our environment”. The first conference on “Biowaste – Need for EU legislation?” was held in Brussels in June 2009.

Anaerobic digestion systems, also called methanisation systems provide an economic and ecological solution for the treatment of large organic waste quantities (5000 to 50000 tons/year). Such systems are well known and currently used in some water treatment plants or agricultural companies for medium to large-scale disposal of organic waste. It enables the treatment of sewage sludge or manure, in a hygienic way and without any transportation cost since the treatment takes place at the production site. The main limitations of this type of equipment lie in the fact that it is mainly; only adapted to large quantities and to specific mixtures of organic waste in order to obtain high yields of biogas and energy production. Since economic suitability depends of electrical energy prices in each country, and also to scale economies, implantations of the anaerobic systems are restricted to places with large waste production densities. In this scenario, transport of wastes becomes also an issue of concern.

Also, existing systems require extensive on-site maintenance to run without major problems. For instance, for the small 5000 tonnes/yr plants used in farms for manure and other agro-wastes, it is usual that a skilled person spends about 2hours/day for the feeding of the digester and for its supervision.

To adapt anaerobic digestion to SME scale and give them access to on site cost effective waste management solutions, there was a real need for R&D on scaling and adaptability aspects. It was not sufficient to just reduce the digester volume of current AD systems in order to obtain the right size. Since the methanisation process is based on living organisms (anaerobic bacteria) and variable biomass (waste that can vary between users and on a day to day basis), it runs with a precise equilibrium of parameters that should be optimised for each user of the technology. The challenge to ensure the digester performance and acceptance by the user was to make the system run continually, without re-inoculating, draining or cleaning it. In particular, to increase the reliability of the system, innovations in terms of the control system for monitoring the digester performance and for breakdown prevention were needed.

Therefore the aim of the ORION project was to develop a small automatic user-friendly digestion machine that would enable the domestic on-site treatment of a wide range of organic waste from about 100 up to 5,000 tonnes per year at low cost (€50 per tonne, considering 125 t/y) and with low maintenance. To achieve this, the following scientific and technical objectives were carried out:

1. To move from existing large scale plants (> 20’000 t/y) distant from the waste production to stand alone smaller (3000L) modular machines.
2. Development of a new high performance reactor to increase the process efficiency by:
a. Increasing the conversion efficiency of the wastes from 40% to more than 90%
b. Decreasing the retention time from one month to two weeks.
c. Accelerating waste digestion by immobilisation of biomass in supported and efficient biofilms using specific coatings & surfaces
3. Development of sensors, data transmission and signal processing in order to:
a. Continuously optimise the operation of the machine
b. Anticipate possible problems in the biological activity
c. Reduce the operation costs
d. Maximize the reliability i.e. with a MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) > 5 years.
4. Reduction of problems of build-up and blockage and fouling of critical elements such as valves and sensors using specific coatings & surfaces.

Project Results:
Summary of results and exploitation
Research centres have transferred the results of their research work to SME-AGs, who are the owners of the results, on a joint ownership basis. SME-AGs will be the owners of any potential patentable applications for each of the commercial technologies developed during ORION. In other words, the four SME-AGs will own an equal share of any potential patents. Currently the exploitable results and their Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) are as follows:
• Jabot (Patent - TRL7) - Initiates the first steps of the digestion process, it also feeds the methanisation tank on a regular basis.
• Control systems and fault diagnosis system (Registered design - TRL7) - Sensors and instruments developed to detect and diagnose breakdowns of the AD system.
• Anti-bacterial treatments for use in the bioreactors (R&D project - TRL3) - Minimises the build-up of biofilms on crucial elements such as valves and sensors within the bio-reactor.
• Nanostructured surfaces for the promotion of methanising biofilms (R&D project - TRL3) - Optimise biofilm formation and structure on selected surfaces in order to promote rapid waste digestion and to minimise the retention time in the digester
• Combustion unit (Utility model - TRL7) - Small scale biogas combustion module for heat delivery. Fully automated with safety shut via PLC. Burns biogas with methane content >55%. Contains flare for coping with low quality biogas and reduced methane emissions. In-built capability for automatic recording of process parameters.
• Sensor array (Utility model - RTL7) - Array of multiple sensors arranged in a packaged system with calibrated operational range to suit digestion processes.
• Complete module design (Registered design - TRL7) - Integrates all the modules developed; combustion system, AD tank, control system and microbiology into a single system.

ORION Digester – Component parts
Digestion module
The digestion module consists of a methanation tank, fitted with a central jabot and topped by a rotating, floating gasholder linked to the agitation system. The head collects the biogas produced in a gasholder and contains operation and measurement equipment. The body is where the biological process of biomethanisation occurs.

The head of the digester contains one central compartment surrounded by four lateral compartments dedicated to four sub-systems: hydraulic, biomass, biogas, nose & tongue. The central compartment gives access to the: tank, mixing system of the tank, jabot and gasometer. The head has a protective isolated housing divided into five parts, which can be individually opened for control and maintenance operations.

The hydraulic compartment contains the hydraulic system and motors. The biomass compartment contains the circulation pump and the 4-way distributor. The biogas compartment contains the H2S removal system, the biogas pressurisation system for bubbling and gives access to two sampling pipes in the tank. The nose and tongue compartment is dedicated to the smart nose and tongue analysis system. It is accessible by the scale going to the roof of the container.

The grinding unit is the interface between the user and the processing stage, where the organic matter to be digested enters the digestion module through the feeding hopper. The type and quality of the waste is important for efficient digestion.

The jabot receives the matter to be digested from the grinder and releases it into the methanation tank at short, regular intervals (which may be regulated, e.g. 10 – 30 min). It may also initiate the first steps of the digestion process. The jabot is surrounded by a sheath intended to collect the outflow of the liquid fraction of the digestate through the sieving grid, prior to draining. The methanation tank, surrounds the jabot and is where the biological methanogenic process takes place leading to biogas production. It is an infinitely stirred process with suspended biomass. The sieving grid filters the overflow from the methanogenic tank and retains particles of insoluble matter which cannot pass through the grid, thus allowing them to fall back to the jabot and returning to the beginning of the digestion process. The liquid fraction of the over flow going through the sieving grid is the liquid effluent, which is eliminated. The digester is heated and continuously kept at a constant temperature to ensure an optimal biomethanation process. It can be programmed for mesophilic or thermophilic processes.

The sieving grid is an important part of the digester that separates liquids from solids. It is a bowl comprised of lamella with a carefully designed angle. The outer diameter is almost 500 mm, the diameter of the hole at the base of the bowl is 274 mm and the height of the bowl is 224 mm. The grid was constructed using a 3D printing machine. Selective laser sintering was used because it is very precise and can produce stable and durable pieces. It is made out of PA220, which is a polyamide-based material. PA2200 has interesting properties including good chemical resistance, minimum deformability, high degree of long-term stability, good selectivity resolution and accuracy and bio-compatibility in accordance with EN ISO 10993-1 and USP/level VI/121 °C. For antifouling purposes, the grid was coated with a Teflon spray.

The circulation and mixing system is entirely internal to the digestion module. It is operated by a 4-way distributor coupled with a bi-directional volumetric pump, controlled by the PLC. The hydraulic system is responsible for substrate and co-substrate (optional) distribution and mixing. Mixing of the methanisation tank content is achieved by: mechanical agitation (using adjustable rotary blades), biogas re-circulation (through bubbling plate) and substrate re-circulation. Mixing of the jabot content can be achieved by: substrate re-circulation and Biogas re-circulation (which is optional).

Cleaning has also been thoroughly considered, different parts of the digestion module need to be regularly cleaned to ensure optimal function. The self-cleaning device for the grinder uses hot water to clean the grinder after each grinding cycle. If necessary, soapy water can also be used, but in that case the effluent is sent to sewage. The self-cleaning device for the sieving grid ensures that the grid does not get blocked as its role is to filter the methanation tank overflow into the jabot. The sieving grid can also be easily changed when necessary. The self-cleaning device for the gasholder has easy access to ensure that the device can be easily cleaned if necessary.

When necessary, floating or sedimented materials that cannot be digested can be removed from the digestion module. Floating inert materials accumulated in the methanation tank can be removed to the jabot by overflow. If these materials are not degraded and accumulate in the biological system, they can be pumped out the jabot via the 4-way distributor in position. Inert and heavy materials (e.g. sand) sedimented in the bottom of the methanation tank are passed out through a drain (to sewage). The same path can be used to empty the whole methanation tank if necessary (e.g. if there was a process failure).

Combustion module
The most cost effective design was one which involved making acceptable modifications to an existing off-the-shelf boiler, which would also reduce the cost of certification/approval for safe use to an absolute minimum. Therefore the proposed design consisted of a combination of a natural gas boiler (for start-up, providing top up heat during winter etc.), a modified natural gas boiler to burn biogas of a specified quality and a small flare (for health and safety and environmental reasons to reduce methane emissions in cases where low quality transient or intermittent biogas is produced).

The possibility of combusting small quantities of low quality biogas (produced during start up and transient conditions of the digester) in a natural gas boiler was also considered, but the challenge associated with mixing such low quality biogas and flaring it in a boiler might be problematic when there is no or little call for heat and consequently may cause over heating of the water pipes. In terms of size, and reflecting on the requirements discussed in detail with the consortium, the design consisted of a 12 kW natural gas boiler (to cope with start-up) plus a 6 kW thermal output modified natural gas boiler which would run only on a steady state biogas stream (approximately 60/40 % vol. of CH4/ CO2) with a small natural gas assisted flare to deal with poor quality intermittent biogas. Testing of the unit using bottled gases simulating typical biogas mixtures has been performed with success at 55% CH4 and even as low as 52% if the boiler was warmed up.

The water circuit operation is controlled by a number of strategically placed temperature sensors. If the AD digester needs heat two circulating pumps are automatically switched on. Another sensor indicates temperature of the secondary circuit, and should this reading fall below 70oC then the biogas boiler is fired up. If the heat does not make required temperature (via another sensor) in a defined time period (e.g. 1 min.), then the natural gas boiler fires up in support and its output is modulated to deliver the required temperature. There is also an option is to use a mixing valve in the secondary circuit to limit AD feed-water temperature fluctuation and to prevent digestate from baking on to the pipes.

Biogas from the AD digester is expected at 5 mbar, but can be boosted using a fan to provide a high enough supply pressure to the modified biogas boiler (circa 20 mbar). If the biogas boiler fails to burn the gas (after 5 clicks), this poor quality biogas will be fed to the flare and combusted (which has a natural gas pilot light). If there is no biogas take off and the lower pressure limit reached in the AD digester, then the support fuel will be called upon to provide the required heat. If everything fails the Pressure Relieve Device (valve) releases the gas to atmosphere (safe location).

The standard operation of the biogas system as a whole is as follows. Biogas is piped from the biogas reactor via gas treatment to the biogas inlet on the boiler system. At this point the biogas feed splits, one way goes to the flare and the emergency blow off valve and the other to the biogas solenoid. When not running the solenoid is closed and the biogas (if produced) will, when over 25mb, be vented to the flare via the vent spill regulator. If the pressure rises above 35mb the emergency blow off valve will release the biogas pressure via the emergency biogas blow off outlet.

If heat is required and the system senses biogas pressure rising above 10mb the solenoid is opened and the biogas blower is started, raising biogas pressure to 19mb to feed the biogas boiler and then the boiler is started. The pressure here is controlled and maintained by a spill regulator. There are drain pots to collect possible condensate in the gas both before and after the biogas blower, these should be checked and emptied on a daily basis. When the pressure of the reactor and system drops below (a figure to be set on site) the biogas boiler turns off, the biogas blower stops and the solenoid closes.

The natural gas boiler is set to heat the primary water to a temperature below that of the biogas boiler so the natural gas boiler should only fully fire when biogas is not available. The temperature setting for the bioreactor is set on the PID controller on the front panel of the cabinet. The PID controller monitors the temperature in the bioreactor and controls a 3-way valve in the secondary circuit to supply sufficient heat from a heat exchanger with the primary circuit. Over time this should achieve accurate control of the temperature in the bioreactor.

The safety system monitors for methane, CO, LPG (if used), fire and heat. If methane, CO or LGP are detected, the system shuts down and leaves the extractor fan running. If fire or heat is detected the system, including the extractor fan, shuts down and an external fire alarm output is available.

The temperature sensor shows the temperature after biogas boiler in the primary, after natural gas boiler in the primary, and flow and return in the secondary. There is a heat meter in the secondary with an internal display and a pulsed output available. The temperature in the primary is set by the individual boiler temperature controls. Usually the biogas boiler should be set slightly higher than the natural gas boiler to allow it to use available biogas in preference to using natural gas. If the temperature setting for the biogas boiler is set lower than the natural gas boiler the biogas boiler will be inhibited from running as long as there is natural gas available.

Smart nose ad tongue
The electronic nose and tongue (N&T) is the ORION AD subsystem that is in charge of measuring a number of the physical-chemical features of the digestion effluent, and of the biogas produced. Based on its outputs, the low level control system of the digester acts to maintain an optimal feeding rate and to maximise the efficiency of the digestion process.

The core of the N&T is built around three different sets of sensors. A first set of ion selective electrodes monitors the concentration of different ions in the digester effluent (ammonium, sodium, potassium and calcium), as well as the pH and ORP. A second set of gas sensors detects the composition of the produced biogas and provides the concentration of carbon dioxide, methane, hydrogen and hydrogen sulphide at user defined intervals. Finally, an innovative set of conductive polymer sensors responds to the content of volatile fatty acids in the digester effluent. Instead of pursuing classical titrimetric and gas chromatographic methods to detect the levels of volatile fatty acids, the N&T utilises a completely different and original approach. It samples a small aliquot of effluent and the volatile fatty acids dissociated in the effluent are transformed into their unionised form. In this way, they became volatile and they are transferred in the vapour phase. The conductive polymer sensor array senses this vapour and a calculation is done giving the amount of fatty acids in solution.

The range of concentrations that the system can sense is as follows: CH4 (0-100%), CO2 (0-100%), H2 (0-2000ppm), H2S (0-2000ppm), pH (0-14), ORP (-2000 to +2000mV), Na+ (10-10,000 mg/L), Ca2+ (10-10,000 mg/L), K+ (10-10,000 mg/L), NH4+ (10-10,000 mg/L), CH3COOH (0 - >5,000 mg/L) and CH3CH2COOH (0 - >1,000 mg/L).

The low level control system is responsible for starting a measurement cycle from the N&T subsystem without any intervention by the end user. The low level control system can independently start a measurement of the liquid effluent or of the biogas produced. The frequency of the measurements can be increased or decreased to better follow the needs of the algorithms that monitor the development of any faulty conditions in the AD integrated machine. The measurements of the N&T can be as frequent as every 2 hours for biogas analysis, and 4 times per day for the VFA and ionic concentration analysis.

The N&T subsystem operates utilising a few consumable chemical solutions. These consumables are needed in particular to automatically recalibrate the ion selective electrodes from time to time, to maintain a standard degree of accuracy of the sensors during their expected lifetime. This recalibration is started by the low level control system, without any intervention by the end user. The expected frequency of the recalibration is once every one or two weeks. Also, some of the consumables are used during the measurement of the effluent to increase the volatility of the volatile fatty acids. In the first prototype of the ORION AD integrated machine the amount of the consumables held in the reservoirs was enough to carry out around 100 measurements and 50 recalibrations. Nonetheless, the ORION AD integrated machine is designed to be able to accommodate much larger quantities of these consumables. Also, the sets of sensor arrays used in the N&T are to be considered as consumables as well. Their expected lifetime is at least one year of standard operation of the ORION AD integrated machine.

Control and automation
Simple for the user and sophisticated for the supervision, configuration and maintenance, the software controlling the ORION digesters are divided into 2 parts:

The Client: This program controls each digester as a standalone system and runs on an industrial PLC. It is responsible for the regulation of the digester. It continuously acquires the data of all sensors (temperatures, positions, liquids, gases, etc.) and regulates the digester depending on the values of these sensors. At a defined interval, the client sends all data to the server.

The Server: This program monitors and centralises the data from all the clients. It is a web application and runs on a Linux PC server. The received data are stored in a database and a User Interface (UI) allows scientists and technicians to visualise the data from each digester. The server is also able to detect values out of limits and report warnings.

Chemical sensors are used to monitor and control the operation of the digester. Gas sensors measure the composition of gas emitted from the digester. Liquid sensors are used to measure the composition of the effluent from the digester. These chemical sensors are located in a sophisticated sub-system “smart nose + tongue”. This sub-system communicates its data with the client through Ethernet. In addition the temperature of the digester is provided by one of two systems: an electrical mantle or a combustion biogas sub-system. The client is also responsible for managing these systems.

The SW client controls the digester autonomously. It is a standalone system which is able to control the different cycles of the digester. It has a user friendly simple interface (buttons and LEDs). A connection with a terminal (notebook, notepad, etc or Internet remote control) allows technicians to perform maintenance and commissioning. The SW client controls the digester through many captors, actuators and parameters. The regulation algorithms are configurable through the parameters received from the server. The sampling rate of each captor is configurable with these parameters. The PLC program has been developed with the IDE "Twincat from Beckhoff "and the ST (Structured Text) language. The PLC program runs on a "Windows XP" operating system, which is integrated in the PLC. The communication with the server (with the protocol "http") has been delegated to a small application running in parallel with the PLC program (as a Windows task). This application sends periodically (at configurable intervals) the data acquired by the PLC.

The SW server is a WEB application with its infrastructure (PC with a database). It offers an Internet interface to perform the monitoring, the maintenance and the improvement of all the installed digesters. The SW server allows to:
• Acquire and save the data of all the digesters.
• Provide an interface to visualize all the acquired data of all the digesters
• Provide an interface to visualize the status and the heath of each digester
• Monitor critical data and prevent breakdowns of the machine by early detection and diagnostic of breakdown causes
• Store, upload and download the parameters of all the digesters
• Store, upload and download the PLC program of all the digesters

Once logged, the user has the possibility to download the selected data of a defined interval on his computer. The downloaded data is saved in csv formatted files. The user can import these files in Excel and perform many analysis.

For the 3000L digester, there are 31 digital inputs, 37 digital outputs, 24 analog inputs and 6 analog outputs. There is also an Ethernet connection on the PLC, which is itself connected to a network switch located in the electrical box. This network switch allows to plug different devices:
• The Electronic nose/tongue system communicates with the PLC through a protocol over MODBUS TCP/IP (Ethernet).
• The Internet connection allows to:
o Transfer the data to the server
o Receive the new parameters or a update
o Visualize the webcam of the digester
o Communicate with a technician for diagnostic and support.

The server has only one Internet connection allowing to exchange data with all the digesters and to provide an interface to the world (biologists, technician, etc).

MATLABTM with the dedicated ToolBox of Fuzzylogic has been used in order to build two controllers i.e. one controller for the prototype digester and the other controller for application to the ADM1 model for some tests of a more complex control strategy. The multiple inputs for the Fuzzylogic controller are: pH (liquid phase), H2 (ppm, gas phase), total VFA (mg/l, liquid phase) and CH4 (%, gas phase). For applications to the ADM1, the total VFA has been substituted by three functions: Acetic-VFA, Propionic-VFA and Butyric-VFA (mg/l, liquid phase).

In both Fuzzy Logic controllers only an output features currently i.e. the control action that is change in the feed-rate (%). All inputs and output variables above are assigned a series of states based on a range of numeric values identified as follows:
• pH: the acceptable range [6.8, 8.2] as outside the range, the fuzzy controller should be maintained in acceptable conditions by alkali or acid addition.
• VFA-a (Acetic-VFA) (same as total VFA, for the prototype controller): the happy range is [below 500], the acceptable range varied between [200, 1500] and the unhappy range starts at [above 1000] but is considered fully unhappy at [above 1800].
• VFA-p (Propionic-VFA) same as VFA-b Butyric-VFA: the happy range is [below 100], the acceptable range is [50, 500] and the unhappy range is [above 300]
• The H2 (partial pressure) in the happy range is [below 1000]; the acceptable range is [800, 2000] and the unhappy range is [above 1500]
• For the CH4 the happy range is [above 0.50] and the unhappy range is [below 0.54]. Unless characterisation of feedstock are done and fed to the controller for consideration, only these two conditions can be considered as it is also dependant on the feedstocks used for example carbohydrates provide a CH4 level which is close to 50%, whilst other substrates may provide a higher level of CH4, also relates to pH buffering species available as well.

The series of rules are pre-set to match all the possible input combinations to the appropriate outputs. The results from this Fuzzy logic controller are numbers in percentage that indicate how the feed rate should be set.

This Fuzzy Logic controller is designed to avoid OLR overloads, but always pushing for further feeding if possible. So from start up the FL controller will only start operating after 48 hrs (2 days). The setting of initial organic loading rate (OLR) could be set at around 1.5 kg COD/m3.d. Then the controller will start altering this feeding rate based on monitored data. Data monitoring should be done every 3 hrs (it is possible that less frequency is required but stability of sensors etc need to be evaluated first), so that the controller would take an average of the last 3 readings. The controller will only increase feed rate (A) once every 24 hrs, but can maintain (no change) (NC) or can reduce (R) feed every 3 hrs i.e. a new data point is available. If feed is reduced to 0 and once the monitoring data identifies the possibility of no change (NC) or increase (A), the minimum setting should be stepped up to 1 kg COD/m3.d. There could be a maximum OLR/minimum HRT set so that the controller will consider the max. feed rate.i.e. possibly an OLR of 8 kg/m3.d and a minimum of 10 days HRT, but these could be altered just in case sensors have failed or controller makes unreasonable decisions, an alarm could be sent to the operator to check if things are as well as they seem. Also it is important to define that there is always a minimum level set in the wastes storage container, to avoid over pumping and air being introduced in the feed. Frequency of feeding a day should be set as every 30 mins, to minimise over and under gas production conditions (especially for easy to degrade feedstocks), which would also affect boiler operation.

It is important that the feed rate change is not too frequent, since the dynamics tend to be slow in solid wastes digesters especially if feedstocks are difficult to hydrolyse and acidify. So for increments in feed, these can only be performed once a day.

Further development of the Fuzzy logic controller may be required to fine-tune the membership functions and the rules. Weighting of parameters i.e. indicating importance of monitoring parameters can be introduced. Further work is being conducted by USW using the ADM1 model with IRTA support.

In case of sensor failure: The low level controller should return a ‘null’ value to the FL controller. Example, values indicating 0 or a negative number may indicate a sensor fault, a no change in the reading for over 6 readings, whilst others have changed by over 10%, it may indicate a sensor fault. Any maximum readings would need to be taken into consideration as to not consider them as faulty. If a sensor changes in one measurement point (i.e. in 3 hrs) their reading by more than 40% an alarm could be sent to the operator for checking.

It would be useful to set a 2 weekly sensor check by the operator i.e. just drop the sensors for example in calibration solutions/gases and have a routine that takes out the sensors from the ability to influence controllers whilst sensor check routine is being done.

Some control actions are best built outside the Fuzzy logic controller; therefore we suggest using other control actions instead that can be written in the low level action programme i.e. pH: If the detected pH is out of the acceptable range, an additional control action of adding alkali or acid can be performed as stated above either on-off or PID.

Active surfaces
In the Orion system, some critical parts could suffer from biofilm formation. The critical parts are the sieving grid, some parts of the inside of the digester chamber and the sensors. These surfaces must be kept without the formation of biofilm. On the other side, it is interesting to have in the digester itself surfaces that will favor the growth of biofilms and methanogen archaea. Therefore active surfaces either to avoid or to promote the growth of biofilm can affect the behavior and the yield of the system.

The surfaces are made active either using a coating, (nano)structuration or both. Several commercial coatings were tested and gave interesting results to prevent biofilm formation. Hydrophilic brushless from SuSos, hydrophobic surface (Teflon based coating) and topographic surface (Sharklet from TactivexTM) have been tested. For the digester operation, the sieving grid was treated with Teflon like coating (Spray coating: Dry Lube-F from CRC).

For the improvement of the biofilm growth, studies showed that nanostructures affected the attachment of cells on the surfaces. Different types of structured surfaces were tested in situ and the effect on the attachment of methanogenic archaea was observed. Current study on monophasic and biphasic small reactors does not show an improvement of the attachment of methanogenic archaea on the nanostructured surfaces. Therefore no recommendation can be given before a new experimental study shows evidence of the effect of nanostructured surfaces either on the attachment of the archaea, or on the digester methane production yield.

Most innovative aspects of the ORION system
The most innovative part of the ORION system consists in its jabot and its sieving grid. The two main advantages of this system are:

1) The jabot accepts the substrate from the grinder at any time, but will distribute it at short intervals (e.g. every 10 – 20 minutes) to the methanation tank. Such an almost continuous feeding avoids to provoke “metabolic shocks” to the microbial community through brutal variations in chemical parameters. By this way, the gas composition will not show important variations during the process, whereas the chemical intermediates, like volatile fatty acids, will be kept at a minimum concentration.

2) Through the sieving grid, the particular fraction consisting of not yet liquefied materials will by recycled to the jabot, whereas the liquid suspension will be send through the grid to the outflow of the digester. By this means, the particles, which may include microbial biomass conglomerates, will be kept for longer time in the digester as the hydraulic retention time, allowing altogether a more complete hydrolysis and a higher biomass concentration.

Formally, the jabot can be considered also as a “first phase” of the digestion process, and may harbor an initiation of hydrolytic and fermentation processes. However, the retention time in the jabot will be short (half-a-day as a mean), allowing only fast processes such as starch hydrolysis to occur. As a whole, the hydrolytic phase must be the rate-limiting phase of anaerobic digestion, to avoid an accumulation of intermediates such as volatile organic acids and molecular hydrogen, which would in turn inhibit acetogenesis and methanogenesis. The progressive introduction of the jabot content into the methanation tank wiil warrant this, together with the common gas phase of both tanks, which allows molecular hydrogen possibly produced in the jabot to be taken up immediately by hydrogenotrophic methanogens, and therefore maintained at very low concentrations ( < 10-4 bar).

Other innovations include:
• Intelligent selection of surface materials to promote or to inhibit biofilm formation.
• Liquid and gas phase sensors of conventional parameters including Volatile Fatty Acids, ammonia. CH4, CO2, H2 and H2S.

Potential Impact:
Many SMEs lack information about waste treatment, available techniques, renewable energy sources benefits and environmental risks. The project generated knowledge and diffused to a large community of SMEs via the SME-AGs and beyond. Effective dissemination targeted the 17 million SMEs involved in agro-food industry who manage 239,871,940 tonnes of organic waste annually. Dissemination of the project results diffused information about treatment methods, costs, environmental effects and legislative constraints in the food processing sector and agro-food sector. By acquiring their own waste treatment plant that will combine waste treatment and energy production, SMEs will increase their know-how in terms of waste recovery and gain in autonomy.

Food processing plants and food service companies face high costs of waste treatment: storage, transport for incineration or recovery. The ORION system will allow small companies to reduce their treatment costs and thus improve their profitability. For example Murphys Irish Seafood Ltd. a salmon processing plant based in a remote peninsula in Ireland produces 500 tonnes of waste per year at a cost of €75 per tonne (total cost €37,500 per year). In Switzerland, average, restaurants produce about 250 g/meal with a large variation in quantities depending on the type of restaurant. Hospital restaurants and school canteens tend to generate greater quantities. For a large canteen serving 1200 meals/day, every day, the amount of food wastes is about 110 tons/y. This represents a cost of: 25 €/ton for handling, grinding and storage on-site and 100 – 150 €/ton for transport management, biological treatment, landfilling or incineration fees (depending on the region). The ORION system aims at a treatment cost to €50 per tonne (including waste valorisation as energy source). The cost of the digester should cost €80 000 for the SME (not including the boiler part of the system). The use of the digester can be shared by a number of SMEs. This makes this solution profitable in 3 years. Moreover, it will involve an energy saving thanks to the biogas production: it is estimated that 10 % of the current energy costs could be recovered by the biogas utilization (electricity or hot water production). Similar benefits can be foreseen in other agro-food sectors.

It is difficult to discuss in detail the economics of developing an AD system, because of the many factors that affect the costs and the variation in circumstances and costs between different countries. Examples of these factors include: energy prices, energy taxes & renewable energy policy, land prices, labour costs, construction and material costs. In general, when looking at the treatment cost per tonne of MSW for the large facilities built in Europe, it is clear that over the last few years the trend is for a reduction in overall treatment costs making anaerobic treatment systems more competitive. However, economies of scale mean that the complex industrial systems need to process many thousands of tonnes of MSW per year to have a reasonable treatment cost per tonne. For example, a plant with a capacity of 100,000 tonnes/yr has a treatment cost of less than €25 Euros per tonne, whereas a plant with a capacity of only 20,000 tonnes/yr has a treatment cost of up to €90 Euros per tonne. These costs can be covered by selling electrical production, but this depends on the energy price for each country.

Capital costs are a key issue if AD plants are to become commercially competitive without financial support. Attempts to reduce capital costs have led to plant failures in the past. There is a need to value engineer designs and to make use of standard components where appropriate. The target selling price for a system with a 3m3 tank will be €80,000 Euros excluding boiler to produce energy from biogas. Installation and commissioning will cost a further €8,000. The objective is to reduce payback to 3 years thanks to the money saved to transport and treatment of organic wastes. A cost reduction is expected of at least 20% (from previous experience of partners in the sector), due to:
• Reduction of engineering costs per tonne of product treated by optimization of the distribution of costs between raw material, engineering, manufacturing and commissioning;
• Reduction of the safety margin taken for the design & manufacturing (always a large factor for first units with little experience);
• Change of material: here a cheaper steel (304) and/or plastic may be used for some parts;
• Outsourcing the production of some elements.

Operating costs will be reduced due to tele-maintenance of ORION system. (It will allow early detection of system failures. Overall operating costs are estimated to be approximately €5,087. Operation and maintenance cost (O&M) is estimated as the 3.5% of device cost (€2,800) and is composed of:
• 1.5% preventive maintenance, monitoring and control
• 2% corrective maintenance
Among the annual costs also take account of: the annual cost of energy consumption, the annual cost of water consumption, and, if it is the case, the water discharge in the sewage and the solid digestate disposal costs (Remaining cost €2,287).

Income Streams: In order to calculate the incomes coming from the heating sale, some assumptions were established: first of all, the total heat used should be 50% of total production (part of the heat is used for the system itself). Secondly, the number of hours of operation is 3500h/y. The savings come from the total amount of fresh waste to be treated multiplied by the cost of treatment. Potentially, other incomes come from the sale of the digestate (liquid fraction and/or solid fraction).

We will continue to work on gas yield optimization to ensure consistently high gas yields. This will involve: microbiological investigations and trials of various organic wastes feedstocks. The objective is to produce at least 10% of the energy consumed by the SME. In addition, to overcome the main economical limitations of classical anaerobic digestion systems, the consortium will also focused its technical efforts on:
• The design of ORION system (there is a need to value engineer designs and to make use of standard components where appropriate)
• Reducing installation and operating costs

Overall potential savings to customers would be a 10% reduction in energy costs and reduction of waste disposal cost which will amount to a cost saving of approximately €25 per tonne depending on the type of waste, amount and location. Apart from the obvious economic benefits to the agro-food industry as a whole the benefit will be seen by the promoters whose new potentially patentable system and its individual components may be produced and sold to the industry on a global scale. Therefore it is envisaged that the use of the new systems developed will be implemented within two years by the SME partners. This will be achieved through development of the production process of the systems and marketing, the estimated time to market for the new system for sale in the open market will be two years following the end of the project. A preliminary market analysis has been carried out which has identified appropriate distribution channels.

Contribution to the implementation of EU policies
In addition ORION has complemented several EU policies and regulations related to:
• Treatment of organic wastes
• Valorisation as renewable energy sources
• Improvement of environmental performance of European SMEs from traditional European industries

Legislation on organic waste treatment, landfills, utilization of waste for spreading or pet food tends to be harmonized at a European level. Storing industrial wastes in landfills is the most current elimination method used in the EU: since 1st July 2002, the storage of municipal wastes in landfills is forbidden and only ultimate waste will be placed in landfills. Even though large strides have been made in this regard, there is still waste that is placed in landfill instead of being valorised or treated. Alternative solutions were necessary for good waste management and an effective implementation of environmental policies. The European dimension of the ORION project made it possible to take into account the variability between countries concerning food habits, composition of waste and disposal regulation. One of the main goals of the project was to reach an optimum adaptability in the system: relying on the different profiles of end-users, the project aimed at addressing a large community of SMEs.

In summary, ORION is in accordance with EU and National regulations related to waste management:
Landfills: Council Directive 99/31/EC of 26 April 1999 on the landfill of waste which includes the objective that all waste be treated before landfilling. The target for 2016 has been set that only 35% of biodegradable wastes (by 2016) earmarked for landfill diversion and 50% recycling of municipal wastes by 2020.

Incineration: The main objective of the Directive 2000/76/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 December 2000 on the incineration of waste is to prevent or reduce, as far as possible, air, water and soil pollution caused by the incineration or co-incineration of waste, as well as the resulting risk to human health.

ORION participates to the implementation of these directives through reduction of amount of waste to be treated by incinerators or in landfills that will be replaced by in situ valorization in SME facilities.

Valorisation of organic wastes as renewable energy sources: The development of renewable energy - particularly energy from biomass - is a central aim of the EC's energy policy. There are several reasons for this: Renewable energy has an important role to play in reducing CO2 emissions (a major Community objective). ORION objectives are fully in compliance within the objectives of the EU policies as:
• Increasing the share of renewable energy in the energy balance enhances sustainability. It also helps to improve the security of energy supply by reducing the Community's growing dependence on imported energy sources.
• Decreasing GHG emissions as defined in the Kyoto protocol. Methane is one of the main GHG and its use to produce energy is a way to decrease its impact.
• Decreasing energy consumption in Europe through development of renewable energy sources and decrease energetic dependence of Europe.

ORION will have impacts on energy use since the system proposes a cost effective and reliable alternative to storage in cool areas, transport or incineration. Moreover, the biogas produced will be directly used to heat the digester or to produce hot water, i.e for dish-washers: organic waste can become somehow a non-pollutant source of bio-energy.

Improvement of environmental performance of European SMEs from traditional European industries: This project fits with the Eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS) directive (regulation 1836/93/EEC), which deals with the eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS) for the participation of companies that seeks to reward and promote better environmental performances of industrial activities. The participation of industrial companies in the development of a new technology for organic waste management through this project is thus a very good way to introduce such considerations for the participating end-users.

Contribution of SMEs to sustainable development: ORION fully complies with European policies dedicated to enhance participation of SMEs to innovation programs related to Sustainable development. For example:

The Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP): On 28/01/2004, the Commission adopted the Environmental Technologies Action Plan, a joint initiative from Commissioners Wallström and Busquin, and was prepared by the Commission services for Research and Environment, with the co-operation of other services. This was an ambitious plan to further environmental technologies within the EU and globally. It sought to exploit their potential to improve both the environment and competitiveness, thus contributing to growth and creating jobs. SMEs were particularly encouraged: Development of innovative solutions at SME scale for a large range of industrial and services areas including agro-industry to treat organic wastes and valorise then as biomass is fully on line with ETAP.

Global environmental impact
Incineration, landfilling or utilisation of organic wastes as fertilizers have a strong impact on the environment. Incineration could lead to emission of toxic substances (dioxins, VOC etc.) and its acceptance by EU citizens has strongly decreased in the past 25 years. Landfilling produces large amounts of methane that are not fully recovered and used as renewable energy sources. Utilisation of organic waste as a fertilizer by untreated organic material can have negative impacts on soils, water and crops - ground water and soil pollution and can even have impacts on public health due to underground water pollution. The ORION project could contribute to decrease the environmental negative impacts of such methods:
• Organic waste will be treated on-site at the SMEs (so ideal for isolated sites) and only inert residue will be rejected with no impact on water and soil quality.
• Organic wastes will be transformed into energy by the SMEs and used for their own purposes.

Expenditure on power/energy saving: The project will also have impacts on energy use since the system proposes a solution without storage in cool areas, transport or incineration that currently gather the main expenditures on energy in waste management. Moreover, the biogas produced by the digester will be directly used to heat the digester or to product hot water, by example for dish-washers: organic waste can become somehow a non-pollutant source of bio-energy. The expansion of biogas energy usage has continued to increase year on year. According to EurObserv’ER 13.4 million tonnes oil equivalent (MtOE) of biogas primary energy were produced during 2013 representing a 10.2% increase on the previous year.

Biowaste Potential: The biowaste resource for the EU-27 is currently estimated at 269 MtOE in and is dominated by five waste streams: solid agricultural residues (of which almost all the resource is in cereal straws), wet manures, wood processing residues, municipal solid waste and black liquor. These waste streams account for almost 90 % of the resource (EUBIA Report 2015)

Processing waste: Between 10% and 50% of food processing waste was considered to be available for energy production (as the remainder is already utilised by the industry). The actual evaluation of this food waste quantity availability is around 25-28 MtOE of food processing residues in 2013 (EUBIA Report 2015).

Community societal objectives: Technologies linked to environment or renewable energy sources create added value in Europe and offer opportunities to create jobs for the technology providers and the end users.

Organic waste management is crucial problem for many SMEs. The ORION system will allow them to use a cost-effective and reliable alternative for their waste treatment. They will increase their profitability and their competitiveness, which will have positive influence on employment. Moreover, for the agro-food industry, which is faced by strong competition, cost effective solutions for waste treatment will have a direct impact on production costs. Improved competitiveness will participate to preserve employment in this important European industry sector.

In addition the ORION solution will improve working conditions of SMEs through decreasing nauseous odours due to organic waste storage and decreasing handling of waste. ORION system is safe and risks linked to biogas accumulation are not relevant because the biogas produced is immediately consumed to produce energy.

Hygiene and food safety: Waste storage followed by transfer for treatment will be replaced by a direct, on-site treatment that will greatly enhance hygiene conditions. In food processing plants, a simple move will eliminate waste in a safe, ecological and economical way: separation of waste food will be more evident and consequently food safety will be improved. In addition the ORION system will also provide an environmentally free solution to treat wastes in areas where place or access is a problem e.g. peripheral regions where most fish processing plants are located.

The socio-economic benefits were further highlighted when we conducted a PEST (Political, Economic, Social & Technical) analysis along with a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis. In summary, for the PEST analysis we can highlight the following points for each factor:
• Political: to contribute to the implementation of EU policies on waste management and renewable energies production, with a reduction in greenhouse gases in comparison to uncontrolled landfill;
• Economic: can represent a growing market for renewable energy;
• Social: the development of anaerobic digestion machines will combine effectiveness for a wide range of organic wastes and reduced capital and operating costs which can benefit SMEs related to the biowaste production and disposal;
• Technological: compact and automatized small digester can facilitate the implementation of the systems.

The SWOT analysis shows in its related matrix all the internal and external (positive and negative) aspects concerning the implementation of the ORION system. In particular, we can highlight the following points for each principle:
• Strengths: on-site treatment of wastes thereby avoiding costs of handling and transport;
• Weaknesses: bad management of the biowaste can cause an interruption of the digestion process and a re-start of the process would be needed;
• Opportunities: the used biomass resource is not in conflict with food production with a large potential for the compost market.
• Threats: change of policy framework on waste, energy and environmental aspects could hinder the implementation of the ORION system, in particular with an increase of cost of energy for the system and/or a decrease of costs for biowaste disposal.

Dissemination Activities
A list of the dissemination activities is given in the dissemination section on the ORION platform on ECAS but essentially it includes the presentation of the project at; 34 scientific events/conferences (oral presentation), 32 industry/public events, 4 exhibitions, 19 published articles, 2 scientific publications, 4 conferences organized, 8 workshops organized, 10 press releases, 3 websites (including the project website), 18 online publications, 2 flyers, 6 posters, 2 videos and webinars, 1 final brochure and 1 best practice guidelines produced.

Adequate materials for training were developed (best practice guidelines and webinars produced), as the project results were validated towards the end of the project. A dedicated training session for SME AGs and their members was organised in Barcelona on the 29th July 2015. It included a technical description of the digester and how all the components work together to maximise digestion. Special attention was paid to customize training dedicated to SMEs, aiming to advise them on how to use the ORION system according to the type of waste produced and their energetic needs. Training to SME-AG staff was detailed but more general allowing them to understand the patentable technology so that they can disseminate information to their members intelligently and be in a better position to exploit the technology and in doing so treat waste sustainably. Training of member SMEs will continue by the SME AGs even though the project has officially finished.

The website for ORION can be viewed at The website has acted as a central database allowing all members of the consortium to access any documentation, minutes, reports, presentations, technical data or agreements. In addition we have used dropbox for this function particularly for larger files. The website also functions as a dissemination tool for the posting of conference dates, event information or the display of public access results. The website statistics were as follows: an average of 500 page views per month with 3243 users in total (mainly from the USA, Switzerland, Italy, Brazil, UK, France and Spain). 15% of users were frequent returning visitors.

Since the very beginning of the project, the task leaders have developed high impact dissemination activities. The project was presented online at 34 scientific conferences and events and these are listed on ECAS under dissemination activities. Scientific papers are also in preparation and will be published over the coming months. A couple of examples include:
• Design of a Novel Biogas Combustion System for a Small-scale Automated Anaerobic Digester (to be submitted to Energy and Fuels Journal) Alex Chong, Yuxuan Hu, Steve Wilcox, Richard Tod, Terry Williamson and Sandra Esteves (Output from WP3)
• Performance of a Fuzzy Logic Based Automated Controller for Anaerobic Digesters using Novel Real-time Sensors and validated using the ADM1 (to be submitted to Bioresource Technology) Sandra Esteves, Yuxuan Hu, Vicente Pastor, Simone Pantalei, Belen Fernandez, Krishna Persaud, Steve Wilcox and Alex Chong (Output from WP4

The dissemination process aimed at raising public awareness has included popular articles in regional and national newspapers combined with television interviews. Social media was also used to promote results to the general public. Press releases, flyers and brochures were made for any interesting results. Special attention was paid to the translation of these press releases/newsletters into different languages aiming to popularize their content. The materials produced were also distributed to the industrial networks of the ORION participants and to the members of the SME-AGs. In addition all materials were submitted to “Alpha Galileo” which provides the world’s media with research news and results. Our latest press release has been read by 4,051 journalists and 224 have used information from the press releases in their own articles/blogs.

Industry dissemination also included direct publication in relevant trade magazines and attendance at technical industry meetings and conferences (listed on ECAS under dissemination activities).

Policy makers were also made aware of the ORION results through publications and, they were specifically invited to attend an ORION workshop in Brussels (June 18th 2015) during EU Energy Week. Those in attendance included national policy makers, representatives from the EC from the relevant sectors (environment, energy, industry etc.) so that the results of the projects reached the highest policy-making level in Europe.

Exploitation Plan
• Primary exploitation will be by SMEs using the new ORION systems, guidelines and waste management recommendations to improve waste disposal practices and make informed choices;
• Equipment service providers will be able to offer a better service;
• Partners will start to commercialize the technology and seek new partners or already collaborating businesses when delivery of manufacturing capabilities of specialized equipment are required or to develop further expertise when required, wherever modified technologies represent marketable tools;
• Partners will seek exploitation opportunities within their sectors;
• Prototypes, products and services from the project were specified;

A description of expected exploitable results arising from the ORION project is outlined in the previous section but essentially it includes the; jabot, combustion unit, control systems and fault diagnostics, nanostructured surfaces for the promotion of methanising films, anti-bacterial treatments to minimize the build-up of biofilms, sensor array and final module design.

The SME-AGs own the new IP emanating from the project (equally) which will be patented/registered directly following the project end, and will license the new technology to their members. The following schemes are foreseen:

Exploitation of the results in case no new know-how will be patented: Maisonneuve and Validex are the owners of some current patents related to anaerobic digestion systems (listed and reported in the Consortium Agreement of the project). These companies will provide both the SME core group and the SME-AGs of the ORION project with preferential access (SME-AGs will be the owners of the potential patentable applications for each of the commercial technologies developed during ORION), whereas SMEs outside of ORION will have access at market prices.

Exploitation of the results in case new patents are created: The ownership of the new patents will be shared equally among the SME-AGs. Partners Maisonneuve and Validex will discuss an agreement on the new patent based on IP emanating from them. In this case, partners Maisonneuve and Validex will get unlimited access (free licenses) to produce the resultant technology in terms of tanks and pipes and shredding equipment. In any case the SME-AG will ensure both for the SME core group and for their members preferential access to the outputs of the project, whereas SMEs outside of ORION will have access at market prices. The SME-AGs will share part of the benefits linked with this new patent on organic waste treatment using anaerobic digestion based systems with partners Maisonneuve and Validex.

The SME AGs have agreed that if some SME-AG partners do not have the financial resources to maintain all patent opportunities in the longer term they will instead have free and unencumbered access and use of the technologies in the market areas of waste management using the ORION system. In the longer timeframe (post-project completion), the SME Associations will allow their members royalty free access to the IP. The nature of this arrangement will be defined in an exploitation agreement between the project partners to be agreed no later than six months after the end of the project.

The Exploitation Manager, Giuliano Grassi (EUBIA) with the aid of Valeria Magnolfi (EUBIA) or EUBIA nominees and the Co-ordinator, Julie Maguire (DOMMRS), will be responsible for organizing the protection of the IP generated from the project. This role requires them to:
• Identify and assess all project results;
• Regulate / police the reporting of project ideas / project results;
• Ensure that the Associations and SME Participants are made aware of the project results;
• Prevent public disclosure of results by the RTD performers;
• Update the Steering Committee on a regular basis;
• Include recommendations on an appropriate protection approach;
• Follow through once the protection strategy is agreed;
• Ensure protection is in place prior to exploitation and dissemination.

In terms of resources (human and financial) and other requirements an “IP Committee”, formed by the participating IAGs or their future nominees: EUBIA (Valeria Magnolfi), ANIA (Laura Marley), SETBIR (Özge Güler) and IFGRA (Maurice Jutz) will define the necessary structures for further development, implementation, management and update of the results of the project.
The SME-AGs and other SMEs have no patents that are relevant to the project. They are mainly end-users of the project results.

Our exploitation strategy post-project has been divided into four major phases:

Year 1 post-project: Further research: Since the very beginning this project several challenging areas were identified which will require further investment and investigation before deployment (not only in the technology field but also regulatory issues, safety and approvals procedures for the system). It is envisaged that we will continue to conduct pilot trial experiments (using the 3000L digester) at Maison Roucadil in France. Roucadil is a member of SME AG ANIA. Their main waste products are from fruit (mainly prunes) so this will be a new waste stream that the ORION system will test. The 650L digester will remain at HES-SO for further refinement and optimisation. Existing RTD partners should be allowed to be involved in future research and implementation of the ORION prototype system and should be aware of the nature of its use at all times i.e. prototypes are not commercial products and regular verifications for performance and H&S checks are required. Note: if this is not followed e.g. the combustion unit will not be able to be used by partners. Equipment purchased by RTD partners will still be required to be owned by the partner who purchased it as part of the project.

Year 2 post-project: Process and supply-chain: As outlined in the DoW, the project consortium aim to build a pan-European supply chain capable of providing the components required for a cost-effective integration of the ORION technology. Where necessary some technology will be sub-contracted but the IPR will benefit the SME-AGs directly. The SME participants will disseminate the results produced by ORION project to relevant professional governmental bodies and associations in order to ensure that ORION is recognised as a potential solution. The dissemination of project results will continue via our websites and through relevant conferences, magazines and tradeshows.

Year 3 post-project: ORION Development & Approvals: Although market penetration will be relatively small based on the timescale in implementation and longevity testing required during and after the project duration, all project partners will initially focus on systems guided by each consortium partner as appropriate. These will be targeting effective end-users applications and sites which will have the greatest immediate benefit and the project partners will seek to demonstrate or trial a number of sites for green technologies. There may be a benefit in a mass production deployment, but further investigation will be needed on the system design and if a modular approach is practical. The SME-AGs will use its existing connections, partners and clients to find opportunities to apply the technology and develop further case studies.

Year 4+: Exploitation and Global expansion: Over this phase we expect some of our first adopters to consider expanding their interest which will accelerate and move to either multiple deployment on one site or multi site deployments. Project partners will seek to continually expand the flexibility of the system, work with current key suppliers and identify innovation that can assist in boosting performance. This action will increase the manufacturing efficiency. Where IPR is reliant upon know-how from outside of the project, assessments and ownership will be discussed on a case by case basis. The market and economic assessment carried out will enable partners to develop an effective commercialisation strategy. A five year business plan will be generated on the related costs (D9.9, month 36), the availability of government support, and the financial projections to clarify the investment requirement for commercialisation of the system.

List of Websites:

Julie Maguire

Daithi O’Murchu Marine Research Station
Co Cork
Ph +353 27 29180

Related information

Documents and Publications


Julie Maguire, (Manager)
Tel.: +3532761276
Fax: +3532761264
Record Number: 189138 / Last updated on: 2016-09-15