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Smart MAnagement of spent mushRoom subsTrate to lead the MUSHROOM sector towards a circular economy

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Smartmushroom (Smart MAnagement of spent mushRoom subsTrate to lead the MUSHROOM sector towards a circular economy)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2019-08-01 do 2021-01-31

Waste from animal breeding and agriculture are the raw materials of the growing substrate of mushroom. To grow 1 tonne of mushroom, 3 to 4 tonnes of substrate are needed. However, when mushroom production is completed, the substrate cannot be used for another growing cycle due to the depletion of nutrients needed for mushroom growing and it is called Spent Mushroom Substrate (SMS), becoming a waste that should be managed according to regulations. In Europe, c.a. 3.65 million tons of SMS are generated each year. SMS is a high-moisture content bulk material rich in organic matter and nutrients and it could be reused in agriculture by adding it to the soils as amendment or mulch or weathered to be reused as casing soil. However, nitrates directive set a disposal limit that makes that large quantities of SMS cannot be simply spread in soils next to growers’ facilities, as there is a high risk of leachates and water pollution. Due to its low bulk density and high water content, transportation costs are high and therefore storage becomes a problem.
We have demonstrated the viability for producing biogas using SMS as digestion material in a pilot plant. Viability and technology readiness level of SMS-ADryer plant is completely demonstrated, as the biogas plant is running and producing biogas, the dryer is burning biogas for drying SMS and this dried SMS is being pelletized. Also, the SMS based pellets have been tested and validated as organic fertilizer by performing trials in several crops in green houses and open field and comparing the SMS based pellet in different mixtures and versus traditional fertilizers. According to yields obtained and plant growing, the viability and effectiveness of SMS pellets as fertilizer has been demonstrated and pelletized fertilizer trademark has been already registered.
The Smartmushroom project obtained great interest from many mushroom grower associations, we are in contact with several companies interested in acquiring the SMS-ADryer plant. From the business case built, the viability of the process has been demonstrated, having a great social impact, because increasing profitability of agriculture companies means more population in rural areas, job creation and increasing the economic sustainability of agriculture sector.
The project objectives have been reached by the Consortium and all the project tasks have been completed according to the Gran Agreement. ASOCHAMP-CTICH has coordinated all the project at administrative and financial levels, as well as tasks carried out by the partners. They have managed to obtain all legal permits for building and installing the pilot plant and fertilizer and commercial trademark registration. In addition, fertilizing trials have been carried out under its supervision in Spain, Asochamp also has contributed to the correct working of the pilot plant, by supervising the tasks for installing and the daily operation, supported by Sustratos de La Rioja.
NOVIS has designed and installed the anaerobic digesters to build up the biogas plant and has carried out the works necessary for starting and tuning-up the operation; as a result, the pilot plant is generating biogas using the SMS as substrate. They have also designed the best mixtures of co-substrates for feeding the digesters.
IDECAL has designed and installed a rotatory dryer that uses the biogas generated to dry the SMS. The installation was completed and tested, with the final result of drying material burning the biogas. The connection works between the biogas plant and the dryer have been supported by these two partners. As a result of these previous actions, the consortium has been able to produce SMS based pellets.
ECOBELIEVE has carried out several trials for validation of fertilizing effect of SMS based pellets obtained from the project. The trials have been conducted in open field and greenhouses, testing in several crops and obtaining very valuable results, as there are clear and fast benefits from using Smartmushroom fertilizer.
We have presented the project in different international fairs, where relevant worldwide stakeholders and end users have been informed about Smartmushroom. Our website and social media have supported the online dissemination actions allow better visitors understanding. Furthermore, we have assisted to different conferences, seminars, workshops and sectorial events and published in relevant magazines and R&D websites, increasing the impact in the scientific field (fertilization, circular economy, anaerobic digestion), agricultural sector and for general public. For supporting the commercialization plan, an Augmented Reallity APP has also been developed, so that the stakeholders can visualize the pilot plant, as mitigation action for the Covid-19 pandemic implications.
SMARTmushroom revolutionizes mushroom production via its already demonstrated SMS-ADryer plant which converts mushroom production waste (SMS), currently generating cost, to an agriculture organic fertilizer, increasing mushroom producers benefit. SMARTmushroom redefines the current mushroom production “take, make, dispose” extractive model to circular economy model, decoupling it from the consumption of finite resources and designing waste out of the system.
We have developed and built a SMS-ADryer pilot plant of 100 – 150kW power output and designed the plant on industrial scale, which will enable converting 36,000 tonnes of fresh SMS material annually. SMS is first digested thanks to a two-stage anaerobic digestion process. The biogas produced provides thermal power, used in a water removal system based on a hybrid drying process that combines condensation and adsorption to accelerate the process and reduce costs. As a result, farmers using SMS-ADryer will reduce storage and transportation costs, enabling to sell to any region in Europe a new organic product adapted to conventional transport.
SMARTmushroom enables creating a new sustainable value management chain, from processing to transport and application, which involves both livestock farming and mushroom growing sectors. We introduce circular economy by upscaling SMS waste to a very valuable organic fertilizer (90-140€/ton). The EU industry will gain an innovative solution to an unsolved global problem which will strengthen its competitiveness. The society will benefit from this nutrient-rich product at lower prices and the impact of mushroom production on the environment will be lower, as SMS will be upcycled to an organic fertilizer in a carbon neutral process where no harmful compounds are released to the environment. The organic fertilizer will improve crop yield by at least 12% due to its low humidity content (28%).
We address EU challenges related to low-carbon economy by carbon sequestrating, achieved in a natural, cost-effective, and environmentally-friendly way, enabling offsetting emissions from fossil fuel combustion, waste reduction, circular economy, improving the resource efficiency and agriculture and rural development by empowering mushroom growing communities, increasing their margin, boosting employment and contributing towards a more efficient and competitive agri-sector.
Each SMARTmushroom plant treating an average of 36,000 tonnes will save between €216,000-360,000, generating an additional turnover of c.a. €850,000 due to the sales of pellets for organic farming. Using SMARTmushroom solution, mushroom growers will increase their profits by 25%.
SMARTMUSHROOM SMS treatment plant, air view
SMARTMUSHROOM pilot plant, general view
SMARTMUSHROOM pellets: big bag
SMARTMUSHROOM biogas plant, air view
SMARTMUSHROOM dryer, air view