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Unlocking new VALUE from urban bioWASTE

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - VALUEWASTE (Unlocking new VALUE from urban bioWASTE)

Reporting period: 2018-11-01 to 2020-04-30

Every year each European citizen produces on average 200 kg of urban biowaste, representing a total of 128 million tonnes of urban biowaste annually in the EU. The municipal biowaste management systems that currently exist in Europe, such as landfilling, incineration and composting, do not give a second life to the resources contained in the biowaste limiting the potential recovery of value-added products.
The EU imports 77% of the required proteins for feed or food supplies, and 70% of known phosphate rock reserves used for the production of P-fertilisers are concentrated in Morocco. Therefore, there is a need to find alternatives and sustainable sources of proteins for humans and animals and fertilisers for agriculture.
In this global context dominated by unsustainable linear throughput flows of resources and energy, a transition to a Circular Economy is needed. Related to biowaste management, some of the current challenges are to integrate a valorisation system in a city context, and to recover high value-added products with a market value that offsets the global cost of biowaste valorising.
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 will generate the following new products: 1) Proteins for food & feed from bacteria that grow on biogas; 2) Proteins for food & feed using insects; 3) Fertilisers for agriculture from water effluents; A full circular process that gives a second life to waste. The consortium is composed of 17 partners from 6 European countries which are working together to develop an innovative concept for the use of urban biowaste as a valuable feedstock for the production and recovery of key strategic products.
Annually the project will valorise more than 1,800 tonnes of urban biowaste to produce biofertilizers and more than 60 tonnes/year of protein.
VALUEWASTE anticipates the EU demand to implement the selective collection of urban biowaste, providing new alternatives for the recovery of key strategy products and contributing to the Circular Economy by preventing municipal biowaste from ending up in landfills.
The VALUEWASTE project implements a pilot selective biowaste collection experience which is developed in two European municipalities (Murcia in Spain, and Kalundborg in Denmark), where citizen awareness campaigns will contribute to increase consumer awareness and acceptance of urban biowaste-derived products.

Main results achieved so far (updated at Month 18):

Technical progress: (WP1-WP4; WP6)
The new biowaste bins were deployed and the selective collection of urban biowaste initiated. In regard to the protein production from methanotrophic bacteria, the first steps have been implemented with the design and development of the downstream process (DSP) and several experiments have taken place at the demonstration plant in Kalundborg in Denmark.
In parallel, the first trials of larva production in ENTOMO DEMO Plant (Murcia) have been carried out to identify the insect composition variations and to better plan the harvest depending on the different feedstocks. The anaerobic digester has been designed and is almost totally assembled. In order to elaborate solid recommendations for future large urban biowaste valorising plants from a technical perspective, several activities are being performed to gather the required information from the VALUEWASTE pilot plant experience.

Commercial progress: (WP5, WP7 & 8, WP9)
The development of new bioproducts as food & feed ingredients and fertilisers demands to explore the functionality for market applications and to assure their full safety (toxicologically and microbiologically). In this regard, toxicity and safety assays for end-consumer products validation have been identified and described. In addition, functionality tests to define new potential applications of biowaste derived products from the three value chains have been selected.
Progress on the innovation management plan has been done and the first insights on social acceptance are being identified with a series of interviews and group discussions with key stakeholders. The first business model co-creation process started with the organisation of a workshop.
Studies on the requirements on the food and feed legislation are being performed to understand the regulatory framework and develop strategies towards a market penetration of our innovation.

Communication progress: (WP10)
In relation to dissemination and communication (D&C) activities, we have elaborated a D&C plan to target the different audiences, implemented several D&C activities such as the creation of a visual identity, created the project webpage, been active on social media, and a collaborating framework has been developed to cooperate with parallel H2020 initiatives (e.g. Scalibur, WaysTUP!) to maximise impact and foster synergies. The Educational Campaign for urban biowaste collection in Murcia has been launched and we expect this to contribute to raise awareness on the selective collection of urban biowaste and valorisation into key strategic products.
VALUEWASTE represents a step forward in the state of the art, providing alternative recovery methods with additional valorisation of the urban biowaste to produce final products with added value in the market. VALUEWASTE proposes an integrated system for urban biowaste valorisation into key strategic products for the EU through the implementation of three new value chains to produce proteins for animal and human consumption and bio-fertilisers.
VALUEWASTE will be developed at two very different European locations, Murcia (Spain) and Kalundborg (Denmark) with the purpose of finding a solution both technical and socially adapted to the different socio- economic contexts exiting across Europe. Social initiatives will be created to increase consumer awareness and acceptance of urban biowaste-derived products. End-user products applications and new market opportunities will be demonstrated. The outcomes of the project will contribute to new standardisation, and will be useful information for EU policy makers in terms of waste management and in the adoption of new policies.
Thus, VALUEWASTE contributes to the society, the environment and the economy in several ways: promoting the urban biowaste collection and its use as a local source of valuable materials, contributing to EU to self-sufficiency on strategic resources, providing example to other EU cities to promote the full valorisation of urban biowaste, and facilitating the access of new products based on the added value of waste to new markets which will result in the generation of jobs in Europe. Through the new urban biowaste valorisation scheme that we propose, the project will also contribute to prevent soil and air contamination, reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, and the overuse of raw materials.