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Demonstration of innovative integrated biomass logistics centres for the Agro-industry sector in Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - AGROinLOG (Demonstration of innovative integrated biomass logistics centres for the Agro-industry sector in Europe)

Reporting period: 2018-05-01 to 2019-04-30

Many European agro-industries are characterized by the fact that capital goods and facilities cannot be used year-round due to the seasonal availability of their primary feedstocks.
AGROinLOG aims to improve the competitiveness of agro-industries through their transformation into Integrated Biomass Logistics Centres (IBLC). An IBLC is a business strategy that takes advantage of the facilities of an agro-industry, its network of contacts and its own residues or non-used local resources as alternative resources (biocommodities) to create new activities during idle periods and obtain new bioproducts. Thus, it diversifies the regular activity of an agroindustry, both on the input (with food and biomass feedstock) and on the output side (producing also biocommodities & intermediate biobased feedstocks for new markets such as bioenergy (electricity and heat), biofuels, biomaterials and biochemicals), obtaining extra revenues.
AGROinLOG tests and demonstrates the IBLC concept in three real agro-industries. In Spain at a fodder industry, in Greece at an olive oil industry, and in Sweden inside a cereal processing industry.
These pilots develop a new logistics chain and adapt the existing equipment to the new production schemes. This implies executing integrated harvesting activities, integrated logistics, integration of non-food biomass into the current food facility, and performing equipment compatibility trials and tests to validate the new products by final consumers.
AGROinLOG will validate the demos´ business models from a holistic perspective and study how to replicate the IBLC business model in other agro-industries from different sectors (vegetable oil extraction, olive oil chain, feed & fodder, wine, grain chain and sugar industry). Sectorial case studies will be developed to select the most promising implementation opportunities for IBLCs in such sectors. Multi-actor participatory schemes are being performed to ensure that the case studies deliver the required results. Best practice guidelines will be delivered to foster the deployment of new IBLCs in competitive agro-industrial sectors around Europe.
Since the beginning of the project until April 2019, many demonstration activities have been carried out in the three project pilots.
Harvesting demonstrations have been performed both with herbaceous residues (straw, chaff, maize stalks and cob) and with olive tree prunings (OTP) residues, evaluating performance, economic feasibility and environmental impacts. Also, combined harvesting of chaff and straw and separate harvesting of maize cob and stalks tests have been performed. Tests were successful, yields were improved whereas costs were kept or even decreased, allowing advancing on integrated harvesting future penetration in the market.
In addition, demos have characterised and optimized the biomass supply (price, traceability, quality characteristics, stability of supply, etc.), determined the actual idle periods, purchased/adapted the equipment, installed new production lines, and monitored feedstock losses during storage trials, showing no negative effect on future processing.
In the last year, real production tests have been carried out in all the demos, obtaining the first IBLC production costs. IBLC products have started to be validated in laboratory and by potential end-users. Specifically:

In Greece, pellets from harvested OTP have been produced. OTP combustion (in hog fuel or pellet form) validation tests have been carried out in various domestic and industrial end-users’ boilers. Extraction tests of phenolic compounds from different fractions of olive by-products have been performed. Other option explored has been the production of particle board through the replacement of commercial wood by different harvested qualities of OTP.

In Spain, pellets production tests of agro-residues and wood blends have been carried out. Both quality reached (ISO 17225-6) and blends market profitability have been the criteria followed to define agro-residues apportion. Combustions tests of the blends produced have been carried out at lab scale but also at commercial scale (e.g. industrial cereal dryer). Other bio-commodities have also been evaluated in collaboration with local companies, 1) bioboards, 2) thermoplastics 3) adsorbers for hydrocarbons, oils and lubricants as well as 4) production of levulinic acid.

In Sweden, the HTL-reactor has been built and tested. Though continuous improvements still are ongoing, production and quality figures attained are better than expected. First analysis results on the produced bio-oil show that it is similar to marine bunker/fuel oil. Moreover, produced biochar from the demo plant in Örnsköldsvik has successfully been pelletized at laboratory scale, nevertheless it contains approximately 60 % ash, meaning that other applications than energy production need to be further studied in the project.

The business models of the three demos have been tuned and updated. The new data obtained from potential biomass suppliers and customers, as well as more accurate results from the demos (production figures and costs) have fed the Canvas methodology used to define the business strategy of the new IBLCs. The logistic simulation model of the supply chain created to optimise the profitability of the IBLCs has continued to be validated and the models have already been developed for the three demos. In addition, the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) selected to measure IBLCs’ social, economic and environmental impacts have been refined by means of questionnaires to stakeholders (harvesters or procurers, logistic operators, IBLC, distributors and end users).

A participative framework was built for stakeholders (private companies, agrarian cooperatives, sector and farmer associations) to share their views and contribute to a practical and multi-actor orientation of the AGROinLOG results.
With regard to the replication of the business models, two documents have been published: D6.2 looks at six chosen agricultural sectors (vegetable oil extraction, olive oil chain, feed & fodder, wine, grain chai
AGROinLOG will finish in April 2020 having implemented and demonstrated the technical, economic and environmental feasibility of integrated biomass logistics centers (IBLCs) for food and non-food products. As a result of the measures applied, the project agro-industries will be able to create a new activity with lower investment, achieving between 1-2 million euros of savings during the first decade. It is expected that their incomes will be increased by more than 12 %, stabilizing their annual activity (avoiding idle periods) and maintaining or creating new jobs.
AGROinLOG logo
AGROinLOG - consortium
AGROinLOG - Demonstration facilities
AGROinLOG - target new bioproducts
AGROinLOG - IBLC concept for an agroindustry