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

Squander is only squander if you can not set it to excellent use! EU-funded researchers have produced a circular value chain deriving money sustainably from soaked straw, biogas digestate and identical residues, by means of merchandise this kind of as fertiliser, gasoline pellets and mushroom substrate – and boosting energy generation in the system.


© gerasimov174 #262946677, source:stock.adobe.com 2020

The EU-funded circular economic climate venture MUBIC centered on the transformation of reduced-value agricultural squander into superior-value products – a single of which is utilised to expand mushrooms, whose cultivation the companions established out to revolutionise.

Additional particularly, this product or service is a new style of mushroom substrate, the materials on which the mushrooms are grown. ‘Along with other outputs, this kind of as gasoline pellets, fertiliser, and pre-treated feedstock for a lot quicker biogas creation, the system shaped in MUBIC also provides sizeable sustainability gains,’ suggests venture coordinator Peter Damgaard Nielsen of Danish SME Advanced Substrate Systems (AST).

It notably raises the biogas yield from agricultural wastes like straw or horse bedding by about thirty %, via the prior slicing and grinding of this biomass. The ability to system soaked straw, meadow grass and identical materials is a unique as well as place: the MUBIC system for these hard varieties of feedstock also consists of pretreatment with nitrogen to crack down the lignin in the stalks, Nielsen describes.

Financially rewarding, circular, inexperienced

‘Using this system, you get much more biogas and you get it a lot quicker, due to the fact the microbes in the biogas plant can also use the lignin as feed,’ suggests Nielsen. The nitrogen utilised for this pre-cure is recovered from the biogas plant, via the cure of the digestate – the residues of the feedstock.

The nitrogen is extracted from the digestate in amenities made as annexes to the biogas vegetation them selves. As of July 2020, operations have begun at the initial this kind of include-on plant made as a business facility, according to Nielsen.

In the MUBIC design, the digestate might, in truth, have began out as biomass supplied by the companions. ‘Our lorries consider feedstock to the biogas plant and digestate back again to the include-on plant, exactly where we dry it,’ Nielsen proceeds.

The treated digestate is then transformed into a wide range of merchandise. Along with the mushroom substrate, these outputs consist of gasoline pellets that are significantly much more sustainable than competing merchandise due to the fact they are derived from a style of squander and due to the fact this squander is a residue of regionally sourced biomass.

The MUBIC system provides a pelletised substrate whose dry make a difference content, at 85 %, is much greater than that of conventional substrates, which commonly typical about 30 %. Therefore, MUBIC substrate gives significantly much more mushroom feed for each cubic metre than competing merchandise, Nielsen describes. Because of to its superior dry-make a difference content, it can be saved and does not involve cooling all through transportation in excess of more time distances – unlike conventional substrates, which might get started to rot.

MUBIC’s substrate enhances a different innovation produced in the venture: a program by which mushrooms grown on trays move previous pickers on a conveyor belt, as opposed to pickers owning to move via the shelves in mushroom farms. This unique innovation was perfected by Dutch SME Panbo Devices, the second lover concerned in the venture, as a way to lessen harvesting fees.

Rooted in soaked straw

MUBIC, which finished in January 2020, was funded by means of a Horizon 2020 programme particularly made to help SMEs prepare their improvements for commercialisation. Without having this support, the straw-to-substrate thought would have been shelved, suggests Nielsen, who emphasises that the funding enabled the companions to bring their notion to daily life.

AST had to begin with regarded as advertising total include-on vegetation, but finally resolved to concentration on the merchandise created throughout the system as an alternative: money is created at many actions, from uncooked materials that is mainly readily available for free of charge.

Expended substrate from mushroom creation is a single this kind of residue, and a great example of the proposed circular method. In MUBIC, it is recovered as feedstock for the creation of biogas, and the digestate left in excess of from this system is utilised to make fresh substrate.

The two the new mushroom cultivation program and the a variety of merchandise from MUBIC’s circular value chain have been fulfilled with desire, with new partnerships enabling the venture companions to consider these developments ahead, Nielsen concludes.