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Biowaste derived volatile fatty acid platform for biopolymers, bioactive compounds and chemical building blocks

Project description

Unlocking value from waste through anaerobic digestion

Anaerobic digestion can be used to extract volatile fatty acids (VFAs) from municipal solid biowaste. These VFAs are valuable as feedstock and carbon sources. The EU-funded VOLATILE project aims to develop an innovative VFA platform that will be integrated into anaerobic digestion processes. This platform will facilitate the bioconversion of the municipal solid biowaste fraction as well as sludgy biowaste from other industries. The key feature of the platform is its ability to up-cycle heterogeneous biowaste streams via the recovery of VFAs through the use of advanced membrane technology. This recovered VFA stream can then be used in value-added fermentation approaches. The VFAs obtained through this process can serve as the raw material for various applications such as the production of PHA biopolymers, single cell oil or Omega-3 fatty acids.


VOLATILE aims in the development of an innovative Volatile Fatty Acids Platform for the bioconversion of municipal solid bio-waste fraction and sludgy biowaste from other industries. The platform will be integrated in anaerobic digestion. The volatile fatty acids will be recovered continuously using sophisticated membrane technology and will be provided as feedstock / carbon source for value added fermentation approaches such as biopolymer PHA to be tested in material applications, single cell oil as precursor for oleochemical industry as well as long chain unsaturated health-promoting Omega-3 fatty acids to be used as food ingredient or nutraceutical. PHA will be obtained by bacterial fermentations, single cell oil from yeast cultivation and Omega-3 fatty acids via heterotrophic microalgae. The process development will be accompanied with sophisticated LCA study in order to ensure environmental friendly process design.
The project will also work on solutions to typical barriers beside others such as quality requirements, continuous and sufficient feedstock supply or interaction between members of value chain using agent-based modelling. Also the effect of legal stimuli and restrictions and subsidies and taxes will be studied and a link between product requirements and markets will be established. VOLATILE will prepare a Roadmap indicating future research needs but also giving suggestion for legislative improvements. A CEN workshop will be initiated to discuss with external stakeholders rules for the VFAP & to set up standard requirements in the form of a CEN workshop Agreement.

Call for proposal


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Sub call



Net EU contribution
€ 636 250,00
Parque cientifico y tecnologico de gipuzkoa, paseo mikeletegi 2
20009 Donostia-san sebastian (gipuzkoa)

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Noreste País Vasco Gipuzkoa
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (21)