New aquatic and terrestrial biomass
By ‘aquatic biomass’ all matter of plant or animal origin growing in water is meant, for example algae, aquatic plants and aquatic invertebrates (e.g. aquatic worms and rotifers). They can be produced on waste or residual streams resulting in a reduction of these streams and the recovery of nutrients such as phosporus and nitrogen. In this way waste is valorized into new products. By ‘terrestrial biomass’ insects and compost worms are meant. The difference with aquatic invertebrates is mainly the moisture content of their surroundings/feed.
Waste or residual streams
Examples of waste streams are the liquid fraction of digestate (biogas slurry) that is produced after anaerobic digestion or different types of process waters from feed/food industries. Valuable components from these streams can be recovered by these technologies to produce high-value compounds in the resulting new aquatic or terrestrial biomass, such as proteins, lipids (sometimes omega fatty acids) and functional ingredients (e.g. antioxidants and colorants). They can, optionally after applying biorefinery, subsequently be applied for example as sustainable (pet)feed or possibly even food ingredient, depending on the quality and status of the input streams.
What we do?
Within several projects we cooperate with algae producers, insect and worm breeders, technology providers, buyers of aquatic/terrestrial biomass or companies with waste/residual streams in the agrofood sector. We aim at making their production methods more profitable and sustainable, for example by the conversion of low-value components into valuable resources.
Recently a new PPP project (public private partnership) was launched in which we evaluate the production of several types of biomass on digestates and other waste streams in close cooperation with companies. This includes the production of terrestrial biomass (mushrooms, worms and insect larvae) on solid waste streams but also the production of aquatic biomass such as algae and aquatic plants on liquid waste streams. In another project, together with WUR Plant Research, we compare the production of duckweek on the liquid fraction of digestate to its production on chemical fertilizer. Also, we cooperate with another company on the production of astaxanthin from microalgae.
Previous projects include for example the evaluation of different algae production systems within an EU project (Enalgae) or the production of omega fatty acids from algae in another EU project (PUFAChain). Not only technical evaluations were performed, but also LCAs and LCCs (life cycle analyses and life cycle costs) and evaluations of the societal acceptance/embedding of these new technologies/products. In addition, we regularly test the suitability of different waste/residual streams for the production of algae (e.g. the production of marine algae on salt containing waste streams).
For our research on algae, we have as well raceway ponds and production systems on several cubic metre scale, as quick tests and reactors vessels on litre scales, in which process parameters can be fully controlled. In addition we have temperature controlled basins for the production of aquatic plants. Last, but not least, we have ample practical experience, a hands on mentality and enthusiasm: a unique and ideal combination for groundbreaking research.
Does your company have aqueous residue streams that may be suitable or are you interested in the culture of aquatic biomass or it’s processing and use? Please contact Rommie van der Weide, tel.: 0320-291631, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org