Closing the loop of product lifecycles through greater recycling and re-use or resources can bring benefits for both the environment and the economy. It is the case, for example of recycled nutrients from organic waste or by-products (bio-based materials such as food waste, used water and animal by-products such as manure) that can be returned to the soil as fertilisers, reducing the need for mineral-based fertilisers and creating organic fertilisers for farmers and gardeners. Another case is the waste conversion technology called Thermo-Catalytic Reforming that converts residual biomass into three main products: biochar (containing phosphorus and potassium), hydrogen-rich synthesis gas, and liquid bio-oil that can be refined into high-grade bio-fuels.
Universities are by far the most active organizations in biowaste valorisation. For example Ghen Univeristy worked on a project to create agri and food waste valorisation co-ops based on flexible multi-feedstocks biorefinery processing technologies for new high added value applications. The Agricultural University of Athens, on the other hand, research in agro-industrial waste utilization using oleaginous yeast for the production of biodiesel.
There also exist active organizations innovating in biowaste valorisation. For example, Lystek International commission to demonstrate that source-separated food waste, and potentially other organic waste streams, can be pre-treated and processed to produce high-quality biogas, which can ultimately be used as a fuel source for electrical energy generation. Also, ThyssenKrupp has a patent application on a modified propane dehydrogenation system for producing chemical products and are also developing for recycling low-grade sulphidic mining waste for critical-metal, mineral, and construction raw-material production in a circular economy.
Main stakeholders doing R&D: Tecnalia, AIMPLAS, ITENE, IRIS, OWS
Main stakeholders in the market: Tecnalia, AIMPLAS, ITENE, IRIS, OWS