Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


WHEY2VALUE Report Summary

Project ID: 697958

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - WHEY2VALUE (Whey2Value: Valorising waste whey into high-value products)

Reporting period: 2015-11-01 to 2016-06-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Whey2Value project’s key objective is launching production of organic vitamin B12 on the market through eco-innovative technology, which uses waste whey as input substrate and produces as a result high value product vitamin B12 and purified water. It is solving the unmet challenge of sustainable milk processing with Make-Use-Reuse principle: from milk industries (cheese production) through waste whey management to vitamin B12 production used for the animal feed additives industry and cleaned water reused in the dairy industry again.

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

The main aim of the project is to set up a 10m3 pilot-scale demonstration prototype plant and prepare W2V for commercialisation. In the period from 1 November 2015 until 30 June 2016 (period covered by the report) all the activities within project Whey2Value were performed as initially planned. First phase of the project extensively focused on design and construction of the pilot-scale waste whey processing demonstration facility.

The activity for the planning, design and engineering of the demonstration processing plant has been successfully finished and all technical specifications and designs finalised. The location of the demonstration processing plant is a self-standing unit in Kamnik, Slovenia, about 15-20 minute drive from ACIES BIO R&D laboratories in Ljubljana, Slovenia. In Kamnik, ACIES BIO is renting appropriate premises in the industrial zone for setting-up of the demonstration facility. The independent location will enable testing of different whey sources from different dairy factory suppliers and it will also enable more flexibility of the pilot facility regarding the infrastructure and a simpler determination of economical parameters. All these factors will improve the robustness of the final process and provide better parameters that will be important for later stages and the set up of the industrial scale plant.

The preliminary design of the demonstration plant was prepared and the original process from laboratory scale to pilot/industrial scale also conceptualised. All technological steps were defined, critical steps for industrialisation of the W2V technology identified and basic design of the demonstration plant was prepared as well. The engineering company that has been chosen for the preparation of the engineering documentation prepared all documentation (i.e. architecture plan, electrical and mechanical installations plan, safety and fire-protection instructions, environmental impact assessment and others), which is needed for the construction of the W2V technology demonstration facility. In the preliminary design we integrated standardised equipment, which is in use in dairy industry and was then adapted for use with W2V technology, which will be very important for the scale up to industrial scale.

For the purpose of scale up and W2V process optimisation all fermentation vessels are constructed in pairs i.e. 2x200 L and 2x2.000 L vessels for inoculum preparation and 2x10.000 L vessel for the pilot production phase, which allows for testing of different parameters in parallel, where one line has a variable parameter and the other line is the control standard. Based on this proposition we have selected appropriate equipment, which enables adequate support for all these vessels, and the capacity of equipment was selected in such a way that all steps would be processed in an acceptable time based on the 10.000 L fermentation tank capacity.

For the construction of the demonstration facility we decided to divide the construction work in several phases corresponding to different technological steps. Such approach facilitates simpler and faster progress of selection of different equipment providers and also an earlier start of construction work of the demonstration facility.

At the beginning of the project we have initiated a project management plan in order to define all project management processes and to run the project implementation smoothly and according to the plan. W2V project is managed through online management tool »Smartsheet«, a software as a service (SaaS) application for collaboration and work management.
Dissemination of the Whey2Value project is planned to take place throughout the project’s lifespan. The dissemination activities have been planned in order to target key stakeholders and raise awareness of Whey2Value objectives within EU funding. During the first reporting period, W2V technology and its benefits were promoted through different dissemination channels (newspaper articles, webpage, logo, social media, conferences, student events). All of the activities also demonstrated the importance of EU funding for SME’s in order to bring their technologies to the market.

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)

Acid whey is major unsolved high-cost environmental challenge for the world’s dairy industry. Whey2Value technology will greatly reduce impact on the environment. Moreover, it is implementing resource efficiency and introducing circular economy to dairy industry. W2V is a perfect example of a zero-waste circular economy: it uses waste (whey) to generate high-value products (vitamin B12), which are reused by the animal industry as feed, while the purified waters are recycled as technological water by the dairy industries. With this, it adds to preserving European traditional dairy production in rural environment by bringing the production of vitamin B12 back to Europe (current production (93%) is located in China).
In the first phase of project implementation we have successfully started with setting-up the pilot demonstration facility, which is crucial step in bringing the W2V technology on the market.

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