In the Netherlands, there are surpluses of manure and digestates/biogas slurries (digested manure and residual flows), which represent a negative value. At the same time, these residual flows contain valuable ingredients for the production of biomass (as raw material for food and feed products), for improving soil quality and for energy production. The number of feasible business cases in which the residual flow is upgraded has so far been limited. This is due both to the efficiency of the technologies used and the legislation and regulations related to the residual flows.
Recent information from research, scientific literature and companies provides new starting points for a biobased valorization of manure/digestate streams and improving the efficiency of anaerobic digestion. The innovative aspect of our research is the cultivation of new types of biomass on the residual flows and the use of the conversion products to improve anaerobic digestion. This involves the use of separated manure and digestate products for the cultivation of mushrooms/fungi, worms, insects, specific bacteria and aquatic biomass. The resulting biomass can be further refined and marketed as food, feed and bio-based feedstock. There are also processed manure and digestate products that are valuable as fertilizer products for soil and plant growth, as substrate for improvement of anaerobic digestion or for export/use besides in agriculture. This gives a new interpretation to obligatory manure processing.
The aim of this project is to further explore and substantiate/test these ideas on lab and practical scale, leading to a proof of principles for new bio-based upgrading methods for manure and digestate that can be used in conjunction to better close cycles and/or sell outside regular agriculture. Bottlenecks in legislation and regulations are explored and put on the agenda. Key figures are also calculated that are necessary for assessing sustainability (e.g. costs, environmental effects) and for supporting legislation (e.g. minerals, food safety).
The livestock sector gains insight into the possibilities of biobased valorisation and better marketing of their most important residual flows. For the SMEs involved, this research provides proof of principle for their technology and input in their business cases. The combined effects of the technologies provide new knowledge, methods and research directions for science. In a social context, the use and upgrading of manure and digestates in other ways also contributes to the transition to a circular bio-economy with an efficient and sustainable agrifood sector.
More information: Rommie van der Weide, firstname.lastname@example.org 0320-291631.