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

Squander is only waste if you can not put it to excellent use! EU-funded researchers have developed a circular benefit chain deriving earnings sustainably from wet straw, biogas digestate and very similar residues, by using goods these as fertiliser, fuel pellets and mushroom substrate – and boosting vitality generation in the method.


© gerasimov174 #262946677, 2020

The EU-funded circular economic climate venture MUBIC focused on the transformation of reduced-benefit agricultural waste into substantial-benefit products – just one of which is employed to improve mushrooms, whose cultivation the associates established out to revolutionise.

More especially, this product or service is a new sort of mushroom substrate, the content on which the mushrooms are developed. ‘Along with other outputs, these as fuel pellets, fertiliser, and pre-taken care of feedstock for faster biogas generation, the method shaped in MUBIC also provides significant sustainability gains,’ says venture coordinator Peter Damgaard Nielsen of Danish SME Innovative Substrate Systems (AST).

It notably improves the biogas yield from agricultural wastes like straw or horse bedding by about 30 %, as a result of the prior slicing and grinding of this biomass. The capability to method wet straw, meadow grass and very similar content is a unique furthermore point: the MUBIC method for these tough sorts of feedstock also involves pretreatment with nitrogen to break down the lignin in the stalks, Nielsen explains.

Successful, circular, eco-friendly

‘Using this method, you get extra biogas and you get it faster, since the bacteria in the biogas plant can also use the lignin as feed,’ says Nielsen. The nitrogen employed for this pre-cure is recovered from the biogas plant, as a result of the cure of the digestate – the residues of the feedstock.

The nitrogen is extracted from the digestate in facilities created as annexes to the biogas plants by themselves. As of July 2020, operations have started at the 1st these increase-on plant created as a professional facility, according to Nielsen.

In the MUBIC design, the digestate may, in fact, have commenced out as biomass equipped by the associates. ‘Our lorries acquire feedstock to the biogas plant and digestate again to the increase-on plant, wherever we dry it,’ Nielsen carries on.

The taken care of digestate is then converted into a wide range of goods. Alongside with the mushroom substrate, these outputs contain fuel pellets that are noticeably extra sustainable than competing goods since they are derived from a sort of waste and since this waste is a residue of regionally sourced biomass.

The MUBIC method provides a pelletised substrate whose dry matter material, at 85 %, is significantly bigger than that of traditional substrates, which normally common about 30 %. Consequently, MUBIC substrate provides far extra mushroom feed per cubic metre than competing goods, Nielsen explains. Because of to its substantial dry-matter material, it can be stored and does not have to have cooling in the course of transportation in excess of for a longer time distances – contrary to traditional substrates, which may start to rot.

MUBIC’s substrate enhances an additional innovation developed in the venture: a method by which mushrooms developed on trays transfer past pickers on a conveyor belt, as opposed to pickers possessing to transfer as a result of the cabinets in mushroom farms. This unique innovation was perfected by Dutch SME Panbo Methods, the 2nd associate concerned in the venture, as a way to cut down harvesting prices.

Rooted in wet straw

MUBIC, which ended in January 2020, was funded by using a Horizon 2020 programme especially created to assist SMEs get ready their innovations for commercialisation. Without this help, the straw-to-substrate principle would have been shelved, says Nielsen, who emphasises that the funding enabled the associates to convey their notion to lifestyle.

AST had to begin with considered providing whole increase-on plants, but inevitably made the decision to aim on the goods created during the method instead: earnings is created at a number of steps, from raw content that is mostly accessible for absolutely free.

Used substrate from mushroom generation is just one these residue, and a great illustration of the proposed circular solution. In MUBIC, it is recovered as feedstock for the generation of biogas, and the digestate left in excess of from this method is employed to make refreshing substrate.

Both of those the new mushroom cultivation method and the numerous goods from MUBIC’s circular benefit chain have been met with interest, with new partnerships enabling the venture associates to acquire these developments ahead, Nielsen concludes.