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Unlocking new VALUE from urban bioWASTE

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - VALUEWASTE (Unlocking new VALUE from urban bioWASTE)

Reporting period: 2021-11-01 to 2022-10-31

About 80 million tonnes of urban biowaste are produced annually in the EU. The current municipal biowaste management systems do not give a second life to the biowaste resources limiting the potential recovery of value-added products. Meanwhile, the EU supply for proteins and fertilizers is quite dependent of non-EU countries. Therefore, there is a need to find alternatives and sustainable sources of proteins and fertilisers.
VALUEWASTE proposes an integrated system for urban biowaste valorisation into key strategic products for the EU through the implementation of three new value chains that generated the following new products: 1) Proteins for food & feed from bacteria 2) Proteins for food & feed using insects; 3) Fertilisers for agriculture.
At the end of the project, VALUEWASTE validated the three proposed value chains and provided evidences to support the establishment of circular waste management systems for the EU municipalities.
The biowaste selective collection experience in Murcia (Spain) ended with 931 ton of biowaste collected. The knowledge acquired was the basis for the elaboration of a pre-normative document with recommendations for the implementation of selective collection schemes.
The valorising lines were installed and validated in relevant environment in Murcia and Kalundborg (Denmark). Value Chain 1, using methanotrophic bacteria fed by biomethane for the production of protein and other high value products, has been implemented and validated at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 7 by UNIBIO in Kalundborg. The process has reached a productivity of 80 t/year biomass. Downstream and fractionation processes produced a range of innovative feed and food products.
For Value Chain 2, testing the production of proteins from black soldier fly, the demo plant has been validated at TRL8. The plant operated at full capacity, processing 1 ton of biowaste per day, demonstrating a production capacity of 14.500kg of dried larvae per year, performing better than previous research data. Value Chain 3, led by NURESYS and EKOBALANS together with INDEREN for nutrients recovery in the form of struvite and ammonium sulfate from the liquor after digestate dewatering, has been demonstrated at TRL7. The fertiliser production was validated and recommendations for future experiences have been delivered.
The products from the value chains require an adequate market to be a feasible alternatives. The results obtained from in vitro assays evidence that it is possible to obtain safe products from the valorisation chains 1 and 2. The compounds obtained from value chain 3 comply with the limits for pathogens and heavy metals established by EU regulation on fertilising products, so the safety of the products is positively assessed.
CARINSA explored the functionality and market applications of the biowaste-derived products, demonstrating that they are feasible to be included in fish diets and have the potential to be marketable as new ingredients in aqua diets.
The environmental assessment carried out by CETENMA showed that the VALUEWASTE products represent a real alternative to reach the market from an environmental point of view.
The assessment demonstrates the proteins from insects have lower impact than gluten and soybean meal proteins, the single cell protein for feed applications has lower impact than gluten and soybean meal proteins and the biobased fertilizers have better environmental performance than mineral fertilizers in use of resources (non-energy).
In parallel, the social impact and acceptance of the final products were studied, with positive findings. The Social LCA (S-LCA) has given a better understanding of the VALUEWASTE solution from a social point of view to implement it at urban level. The study of the social acceptance of bioproducts finished through 2 citizen surveys reaching more than 50,000 impacts through online and offline channels.
The assessments carried out drive to the creation of new exploitation strategies for innovative biowaste valorisation schemes. VALUEWASTE project developed the business models and commercialisation strategies for the three value chains, including an exploitation map for the know-how acquired. All the business plans are feasible, specially the one for the single cell protein, which will have a huge demand in the following years according to the market analysis found.
For the correct scale up of the pilot processes, the development of blueprints for future large-scale plants and recommendations about the potential future implementation of the VALUEWASTE solutions were carried out.
The project communication, including the educational campaigns with the main aim being to enhance the participation of citizens and other stakeholders in the biowaste separate collection and improve their perception and acceptance of this resource as a local source of high value products, were successfully implemented. They impacted positively on the citizens since the quality of the collected waste improved on these areas with more presence of the communication activities. In general, VALUEWASTE project generated a huge impact: over 25,000 people impacted by social media, more than 150 appearances in communication media, attendance to more than 70 events with over 8000 impacts.
On providing evidence-based support for EU policies, VALUEWASTE has promoted the creation of the joint policy initiative ROOTS. Its main objective is to promote innovative solutions for circular bioeconomy and bring down regulatory barriers.
In conclusion, VALUEWASTE project could consider as a success case since all the expected impacts were achieved, including the impact beyond the project since several partners continued on the VALUEWASTE work lines by taking part in new projects.
The VALUEWASTE project has paved the way for the efficient implementation of urban biowaste valorisation schemes into high value products. Several impacts were generated from the project activities.
The identification of the key factors for the successful implementation of urban biowaste selective collection scheme published as CEN Workshop Agreement 17866 will be used to standardise the selective collection in Europe
The validated value chains will continue its roadmap to market providing expertise to other similar experiences, as for example NURESYS who will provide know-how to municipalities participating in HOOP.
The contribution to a better understanding of social and environmental impact through the completion of the environmental and S-LCA of the VALUEWASTE solution, with positive results has been considered to include CETENMA as reference national expert in the working group that is developing the new ISO/s-LCA standard (ISO/AWI 14075 S-LCA).
The scientific results obtained in the project have been communicated to relevant media and technical magazines, plus 2 peer reviewed publications in high impact scientific journals.
In summary, VALUEWASTE contributes to the society, the environment and the economy in: promoting the urban biowaste collection and its use as a local source of valuable materials, contributing to EU self-sufficiency on strategic resources.
The replication/continuation of the project is ensured through the HOOP, FER-PLAY and SOILUTIONS projects. The experience acquired has allowed project partners to increase their market opportunities. Results have also benefited their existing collaborators through the progress on the state of the art.
High-level ROOTS policy event organised in Brussels (Belgium)
UNIBIO products showcased in the exchange trip carried out in Kalundborg (Denmark)
VALUEWASTE final event in Cartagena (Murcia, Spain)
VALUWASTE project consortium map
VALUEWASTE Pilot Plant at Cañada Hermosa (Murcia, Spain)
VALUEWASTE Value Chain processes