June 20, 2024

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From value chain to value loop with… – Information Centre – Research & Innovation

Waste is only squander if you cannot place it to fantastic use! EU-funded researchers have developed a round benefit chain deriving money sustainably from soaked straw, biogas digestate and very similar residues, by using merchandise these types of as fertiliser, fuel pellets and mushroom substrate – and boosting electricity era in the approach.


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© gerasimov174 #262946677, resource:inventory.adobe.com 2020

The EU-funded round economic system venture MUBIC concentrated on the transformation of lower-benefit agricultural squander into significant-benefit products – a single of which is utilized to grow mushrooms, whose cultivation the partners established out to revolutionise.

More particularly, this products is a new type of mushroom substrate, the materials on which the mushrooms are developed. ‘Along with other outputs, these types of as fuel pellets, fertiliser, and pre-addressed feedstock for quicker biogas production, the approach shaped in MUBIC also delivers significant sustainability gains,’ says venture coordinator Peter Damgaard Nielsen of Danish SME Superior Substrate Systems (AST).

It notably raises the biogas produce from agricultural wastes like straw or horse bedding by about 30 %, via the prior chopping and grinding of this biomass. The means to approach soaked straw, meadow grass and very similar materials is a unique in addition place: the MUBIC approach for these demanding types of feedstock also will involve pretreatment with nitrogen to break down the lignin in the stalks, Nielsen describes.

Rewarding, round, green

‘Using this approach, you get extra biogas and you get it quicker, simply because the microbes in the biogas plant can also use the lignin as feed,’ says Nielsen. The nitrogen utilized for this pre-procedure is recovered from the biogas plant, via the procedure of the digestate – the residues of the feedstock.

The nitrogen is extracted from the digestate in facilities developed as annexes to the biogas crops themselves. As of July 2020, operations have started at the 1st these types of include-on plant developed as a industrial facility, according to Nielsen.

In the MUBIC design, the digestate could possibly, in actuality, have started off out as biomass equipped by the partners. ‘Our lorries consider feedstock to the biogas plant and digestate back again to the include-on plant, where by we dry it,’ Nielsen proceeds.

The addressed digestate is then converted into a selection of merchandise. Along with the mushroom substrate, these outputs include things like fuel pellets that are appreciably extra sustainable than competing merchandise simply because they are derived from a type of squander and simply because this squander is a residue of domestically sourced biomass.

The MUBIC approach delivers a pelletised substrate whose dry issue written content, at 85 %, is a lot higher than that of common substrates, which commonly average about 30 %. Hence, MUBIC substrate supplies much extra mushroom feed for each cubic metre than competing merchandise, Nielsen describes. Thanks to its significant dry-issue written content, it can be stored and does not require cooling during transport more than more time distances – in contrast to common substrates, which could possibly commence to rot.

MUBIC’s substrate complements yet another innovation developed in the venture: a program by which mushrooms developed on trays move earlier pickers on a conveyor belt, as opposed to pickers acquiring to move via the cabinets in mushroom farms. This unique innovation was perfected by Dutch SME Panbo Systems, the second partner associated in the venture, as a way to lessen harvesting costs.

Rooted in soaked straw

MUBIC, which finished in January 2020, was funded by using a Horizon 2020 programme particularly developed to assist SMEs put together their improvements for commercialisation. Without the need of this support, the straw-to-substrate principle would have been shelved, says Nielsen, who emphasises that the funding enabled the partners to provide their idea to existence.

AST experienced originally viewed as advertising total include-on crops, but inevitably resolved to aim on the merchandise produced during the approach rather: money is produced at many actions, from raw materials that is mainly readily available for free of charge.

Spent substrate from mushroom production is a single these types of residue, and a best example of the proposed round strategy. In MUBIC, it is recovered as feedstock for the production of biogas, and the digestate left more than from this approach is utilized to make contemporary substrate.

Both equally the new mushroom cultivation program and the a variety of merchandise from MUBIC’s round benefit chain have been satisfied with interest, with new partnerships enabling the venture partners to consider these developments ahead, Nielsen concludes.