Connecting bio-based forces for a sustainable world

BIOVOICES is creating a Mobilisation and Mutual Learning (MML) platform in the bio-based domain with the objective of promoting dialogue and co-creation of research, innovation, development and political context in bio-based economy between the stakeholders of the quadruple helix model: civil society/users, industry, researchers, civil society and public authorities.
With the ultimately goal of fostering the awareness of the wider public about the benefits and potential social, economic and environmental impact of the bioeconomy and widening the diffusion of bio-based products (BBP), the project will be running more than 70 workshops in the EU, develop an informative app on bioeconomy, develop stakeholder-oriented policy briefs, co-created within the stakeholders involved in the projec.

Discover more at www.biovoices.eu and subsbrite to BIOVOICES platform to keep updated with all BIOVOICES workshops and bioeconomy news!

Nikos Kyriakoulis
Bio-rubber from Russian Dandelion

Russian dandelion (Taraxacum kok-saghyz) proofed to be a suitable replacement for natural rubber in the production of high-quality rubber products such as tyres. When compared to natural rubber, Russian Dandelion has a much greater geographical distribution. It is easier to cultivate and delivers rubber faster.

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Residues from the production process can also be valorised for inulin production or be further used for feed, food, biogas, or bioethanol production. The integration of Russian dandelion for rubber production is expected to lead to a higher independence from tropical production sites while creating new opportunities for farmers in lower latitudes, especially for marginal areas that cannot be used for producing other crops. Some of the benefits include:

- New income source due to strong demand of large amounts of rubber
- Easy to cultivate and to harvest
- Faster production of rubber
- Short life cycle (6-8 months), allowing up to two harvests per year

The EU project “Drive4EU”, has calculated an average costs of 45 EUR to produce 1 ton of fresh Dandelion roots, including land, seeds, machines, fertilisers, plant protection, personnel etc, at a time span of 10 years. This cost is estimated to decrease at 31 EUR per ton in a time span of 25 year.

Nikos Kyriakoulis
Boosting the marketability of sustainable bio-based products
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Biobridges project was conceived to tackle the key challenge of improving the marketability of bio-based products (BBPs) by fostering close cooperation and partnerships among bio-based industries, brand owners and consumers’ representatives.

BRANDS, BIO-BASED INDUSTRIES and CONSUMERS have a key role shaping the FUTURE towards a more sustainable and greener European economy.

The PRODUCTION, SALE and USE of sustainable bio-based products, replacing everyday’ s fossil-based products, have a great potential to decrease the pressure on our environment, create jobs and boost the economy.

Biobridges project CONNECTS, FACILITATES and SUPPORTS the collaboration among BRANDS, BIO-BASED INDUSTRIES and CONSUMERS aiming to improve the marketability and market acceptance of bio-based products (BBPs).

The Project also stimulates and supports the active engagement and interaction of other stakeholders relevant on promoting the bio-economy such as policy makers, public authorities, clusters, CSOs, NGOs, researchers, associations, local communities… aiming at improving market acceptance of bio-based products.

Discover more at: www.biobridges-project.eu

Nikos Kyriakoulis
Bioplastic from cereal crop residues
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Prompted by the need to diversify the sources of biomass for their production, a French company started new production lines working with original bio sources. The aim was to create a high performance and biobased compounds sold to the packaging industry to develop products for several sectors.

The innovation lies on the use of different kind of biomass by-products as fillers in polymers in order to produce packaging.

Biomass from cereal waste such as wheat, barley and corn, result as a suitable input for primary injection moulding processes in the production of rigid secondary packaging, regular consumption goods, technical parts, agriculture and horticulture products, cosmetic. The feedstock needs to be grinded, dried and sieved before being used by the plastic industry.

Benefit for farmers is to be able to recover biomass by-products or wastes in a new market. A cost item can thus become a profit item for them. These examples show good opportunities for farmers to find innovative end-of-life to their wastes and to support the production of environmentally efficient products. Regarding the use of by-products as fillers, the company has a direct buying contract with farmers or cooperatives. For the use as raw material for polymer production, farmers have direct contracts with biopolymers manufacturers.

Nikos Kyriakoulis
ENABLING workshop at the event "Plastic free Venice Lagoon"

The Plastic Free - Venice Lagoon, in collaboration with the Italian partners of ENABLING Project (FEDERUNACOMA and ITALIA), I.T.T. G. MONTANI, VERITAS, HIREF, and JONIX, as well as with several environmental associations and national institutions, have organized the Plastic Free Event placed in Venice.

The initiative took place on the occasion of the World environmental and Oceans Day, 7-8 June 2019.

The theme for 2019 is focused on "Macro and micro impacts of plastic wastes and possible solutions”. In this context, the workshop of Enabling Project was to give a contribution by showing the first results with particular attention to the innovative best practices and potential growing of European cluster among partners and stakeholders of the project, with the aim to increase the awareness of a more conscious "Enabling Community".

The initiative ended with a clean-up activity, which aims at raising public awareness on the impact of abandoned plastic waste, taken place on 8 June 2019. A particular acknowledgment is going to Dr. Poletto from Unesco-Venice for having contributed to the realization of the event.

Nikos Kyriakoulis
ENABLING workshop at Capraia Smart Island

Capraia's island is part of Tuscan Archipelago and it hosts an ambitious 360-degree circular economy project every year.

Last May 2019 Capraia held a unique event in the history of the island; for three days dozens of leading Bioeconomy experts gathered to identify all the possible initiatives to be undertaken in the field of the circular economy. The aim is to create a pilot model of circular economy, a "Lighthouse Project" for the Mediterranean Areas.

In this context Enabling Project has been introduced by ITABIA to the attendees, with the aim to transfer the first results of the projects to the strategic stakeholders (researchers, policymakers and associations interested to the bio-economy). (For further details, please see the presentation to the website of Chimicaverde: http://www.chimicaverde.it/capraia-smart-island/)

This was also an opportunity to make, during an event with the stakeholders, the point of the situation that shows an encouraging state of progress after a year of activity.

The goal of the workshop was to move close the stakeholders and local operators an economic system capable of regenerating itself in such a way that waste becomes a material to be exploited, the energy supply could deviate from the fossil towards renewable sources and efficiency, so the saving and quality of raw materials could start being part of the local development strategy.

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Nikos Kyriakoulis
Local pellets
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After processing the primary agricultural production, farmers need to deal with large amount of surpluses and remnants such as straw, hay, husks from cereals, legumes, grasses, dried crops or dry wood biomass (wood chips and shavings).

A company in the region of Vysocina has developed a technology to produce high quality pellets using local feedstock.

The practice highlights a circular business approach where the input material (residuals) provided by farmers is transformed into a product that can be used as litter for cattle, feed for cattle, fertilizer or fuel. The plant is able to process approximately 1000 t/year in one work shift. The ratio of pellets to fuel / feed / litter is approximately 20/60/20%.

Farmers and other biomass producers can buy their own pellet processing line or use the company service to have the pellets directly processed.

Thanks to this practice, there is a reduction of unused waste from agricultural primary production (0-100%), and an increase in storage capacity by 15-30% compared to bulk sources or parcels. Farmers can benefit of higher revenues and efficiency of farming as they can use litter for cattle and small animals paying 20-25% less than the commonly used one. The product has significantly higher water absorption rate, with lower costs for replacement and storage.

Nikos Kyriakoulis
Mitigation of phosphate surplus from pig manure
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For Dutch farmers, valuing pig manure is a major issue, since intensive livestock has caused a significant phosphate surplus in Dutch agriculture.

A local company has started operations wherein pig manure is collected from 70 farmers and mono-digested together with unborn manure, collected from slaughterhouses. The digestion process produces renewable gas for approx. 1,700 households. The digestate is separated in two streams. The phosphate rich stream is dried with waste heat and palletized into an organic phosphate turning into a rich fertilizer product, which is exported to low-phosphate regions in Europe. The other stream is processed in an on-site waste water treatment plant, resulting into clean water that is discharged to local surface water.

For 70 intensive pig livestock farmers, the practice offers a solution to process their manure surplus (required by Dutch law) into organic phosphate rich fertilizer pellets, which are transported to low-phosphate regions (closing the phosphate mineral loop).

The process is an example of closing the loop on economic and ecological sustainability for urgent challenges in the (national) agricultural sector. Through chain collaboration and high dedicated technology, this business model enables to create a stable economic opportunity out of (former) waste streams like pig manure, animal by-products and food residues

Nikos Kyriakoulis
From problem to product

Representatives from local biomass producers, processors, relevant funding agencies and regional authorities exchanged knowledge and project ideas on bioeconomy at an ENABLING workshop in Sogndal on June 12th.

Otto Andersen and Torunn G. Hønsi from Vestlandsforsking shared information about the ENABLING project, which offers both new tools, activities and knowledge to those who want to give biowaste and by-product new value.

- The county of Western Norway has almost half of the fruit and berry production in the country, and one third of both the fishing industry and forest production. Of biomass, which can get new and better uses, the forest is supreme, but it can also be a lot to win for farmers, who have bio residues from their production of fruit and berries, said researcher and project manager Otto Andersen in his presentation.

 Sale and purchase

Other examples of biomass and biological waste from the region include food waste, residues from beer production, slaughterhouse waste, fish sludge, manure, wood waste, garden waste and other agricultural waste. Vestlandsforsking has since the 1990s had projects on industrial ecology and waste recycling, elaboration of emissions from industry, transport and agriculture and has recently looked at alternative protein sources for animal feed.

- When the ENABLING project is finished, we will have created a marketplace for locally purchase and sale of such bio-resources, says Andersen.

 Regional value creation

- We will assist producers of bio-residues in finding business partners who can utilize these in a way that is both climate-friendly and profitable, said Torunn G. Hønsi. In the ENABLING workshop, participants from Lærdal Grønt (association of fruit and vegetable producers), Kunnskapsparken (Sogndal Science Park), Sogn School of Organic Agriculture and Horticulture, SIMAS (Sogn Inter-municipal Waste Handling Company), Vik municipality, Aurland municipality, Sogn og Fjordane county governor, Sogn og Fjordane county municipality and Njøs Næringsutvikling (bio-business development) shared ideas and visions on better utilization of biomasses from the region.

 Meeting place ENABLING

The participants concluded that they need new efficient meeting places, where there is a short way from the idea to financing and practical solutions in collaboration with others. Based on ENABLING and the EU focus on such local collaboration and exchange of experience within the bioeconomy, Vestlandsforsking will be able to meet such needs. We will facilitate several workshops, seminars and excursions, which will be open to all interested.

- ENABLING implies making it possible - to create a market and demand for biomass for the bio-based industry, making it possible to create new bio-based products, which will make us less dependent on a fossil oil-based economy, says Hønsi. The Norwegian Research Council co-hosted the workshop, together with the ENABLING project.

Nikos Kyriakoulis
Biobased air and water drain systems

Current practices often make use of plastic pipes (PE) for draining and/or aerating tree roots. A new solution made with biodegradable components allows draining water and aerating air in the soil surrounding the roots of (young) trees.

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The product is fabricated out of corn starch and bioplastic (Cradonyl) and therefore 100% biobased. Thanks to the biobased composition and degradable characteristics, the pipes will be fully composted after a few years and therefore do not need to be removed from the soil after their functional lifetime.

Due to higher production costs (raw material is more expensive and process energy costs are higher) of the biodegradable components, the selling price is 1,5 times higher compared to a conventional PE system. The added value of using the biodegradable products lies in eliminating waste-removal costs (labour costs for removing pipes and recycling/disposal costs).

The biobased granulate fully fits in current production processes (injection moulding techniques) for hard plastics (HDPE/LDPE). The components of the aerating and water draining systems are biodegradable and will be fully composted after the product function lifetime, creating a zero-waste product and a reduction in waste-collection labour.

Nikos Kyriakoulis
ENABLING workshop at the Agricultural University of Plovdiv

BGBIOM organized the second workshop on ENABLING project on May 28, 2019, in the context of the workshop on the project "Healthy Foods for a Strong Bio-Economy and Quality of Life".

The meeting was held at the Agricultural University of Plovdiv and was opened by Prof. Hr.Yancheva, the Rector of the University. It was attended by 56 representatives of agrarian and food processing business – scientific laboratories, project developers, and biomass producing farms.

At the meeting BGBIOM presented the objectives and tasks of ENABLING project. The main tools of the project, developed to facilitate the stakeholders, have been presented as well. Questions about the kind of biomass ENABLING project focuses on, the use of the trading platform, and the means of collaboration have been discussed.

Nikos Kyriakoulis
Animal bedding from Miscanthus
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A British company produces horse and small animal bedding created from “Miscanthus”, which is alternatively grown for energy crops over a 15-year period, with the first harvest taking place 3 years after sowing.

The crop is harvested by the processing industry using conventional forage harvesting equipment which turns the Miscanthus into chips. These are transported to the processing site in silage trailers, where they are tipped up and dried, dust is extracted and the chips are then packed into bags to be distributed.

The practice triggers direct economic benefits. There is an increased revenue for each bale sold for £6.05 or £218.00 per pallet of 36 bales whereas conventional bedding is £7.00 per bale or £252.00 per pallet of 36 bales. Representing savings for users.

This still represents an increase in income for farmers as the contracted price for miscanthus grown for energy in the UK is circa £70/tonne at 16% moisture. This in turn means that there is an opportunity cost for farmers to bag and extract dust of £148.

The crop yields up to 14tonnes/hectare, which at £70/t results in an income of up to £980/Ha for energy production, or up to £3052/Ha for bedding.

The processing of the crop is the same throughout up to delivery to the plant where it is dried, dust is extracted and it is bagged. It is a niche product and, as such, returns are higher for all parties involved.

Additional benefits include:

Comfort for Animal - Users report that horses can get up easily and do not damage limbs

Saves Labour – It needs less frequent changes of bedding

Technical - The product lasts longer than traditional bedding

Consistent – “bale to bale” The Material comes all from the same producer

Nikos Kyriakoulis
"Green" synthesis of metal nanoparticles with wastes of essential oil industry

Valorization and application of essential oil industry wastes for а “green” synthesis of metal nanoparticles is the objective of the project DN 17/22 funded by the National Scientific Fund – Bulgaria entitled "Valorization and application of essential oil industry wastes for “green” synthesis of metal nanoparticles”. The project is implemented by consortium of Bulgarian scientific organizations including University of Food Technologies – Plovdiv, Institute of Organic Chemistry with Centre of Phytochemistry – Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Plovdiv and Institute of Optical Materials and Technologies – Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia.

The data for the use of extracts from the waste materials for the "green" synthesis of metal nanoparticles showed another application of by-products of the essential-oil industry. Fifteen extracts (water and water-ethanolic) from wastes (obtained after different industrial processing) of: Rosa Damascena, Rosa Alba, Rosa Centifolia, Lavandula Angustifolia, Achillea Millefolium (yarrow), Matricaria Chamomilla, Salvia Officinalis and Melissa Officinalis (lemon balm) were investigated.

Implementation of the investigations has led to synthesis of silver (AgNPs), gold (AuNPs) and palladium nanoparticles. The synthesis was confirmed by Transmitting Electron Microscopy (TEM). The Figure bellow presents micrographs of AgNPs synthesized with extract of Achillea millefolium (a)) and Lavandula angustifolia (b)) wastes, representative SAED patterns (c)) and size distribution of the corresponding particles (d)) and (e)).

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This work was supported by the project DN 17/22 from 12.12.2017 “Valorization and application of essential oil industry wastes for “green” synthesis of metal nanoparticles” funded by the National Science Fund (Ministry of Education and Science) of Bulgaria.

Nikos Kyriakoulis
Bioproducts from wastes of the essential oil industry
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Scientists from the University of Food Technologies – Plovdiv, Bulgaria investigated an approach for valorization of waste materials of essential oil industry (focusing on the well-developed rose-oil industry in Bulgaria) for production of biologically active substances (polysaccharides, polyphenols, etc.). Further these substances can be potentially used in the field of cosmetics, food industry, etc. as well as approaches for their direct utilization are presented.

The rose oil, rose water, concrete and absolute obtained from roses are among the most appreciated products from the perfumery, cosmetic industry, medicine and for aromatherapy.

Rosa damascena Mill waste (solid residues or waste water) are rich in polyphenolic compounds. The isolated polyphenol rich extracts could be applied as antioxidant supplements (for meat products, in yogurts, beverages, etc.) and as stabilizer of natural color substances (for ex. stabilizing strawberries color due to complexation with anthocyanins).

Results have been presented by Dr. Anton Slavov at the First Workshop of ENABLING project, organized by BGBIOM in Sofia.

This work was supported by the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science under the National Research Programme "Healthy Foods for a Strong Bio-Economy and Quality of Life" approved by DCM # 577 / 17.08.2018".

Nikos Kyriakoulis
Bio-fertilisers from agri production
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A new national regulation for waste management, together with financial insentives for agricultural waste management, has prompted a Bulgarian company to establish a biorifinery to convert residues into bio-based product.

The company is equipped with two thermofilic fermentors where animal manure and plant residues are processed. The digestate output (solid fraction of fermentation) is composted and offered as bio-based fertilizer for agricultural operations.

The rest of the derived material is used for energy production where the national Electric Company buys the energy produced by the plant.

Both techniques result as an alternative and better usage of resources in the Plovdiv area, where Agricultural waste is used for biogas and bio-fertilizers production instead of being dumped in dunghill.

The practice stimulates synergies amongst several operators such as farmers [producers of crops and livestock], processing industry (CHP), special logistics companies, municipality, local and regional entities/companies.

Farmers providing silage and animal manure to the processing industry. A specials logistics is required to transport and store these parts: they are stored in steel tanks and kept under controlled temperature. Meanwhile, appropriate logistics and storage facilities are required to manage dangerous residues.

A licensed company collects the manure, after contracts between companies and farmers.

Nikos Kyriakoulis
Bio product from grape processing – the enocyanine practice
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A winery and distillery company, located in the northern-east of Italy, turned to be an excellent example of biorefinery for the conversion of its agricultural and agro-industrial residues into a varied range of bio-based products.

Thanks to the total usage of biomass generated by grape processing (540,000 tons/year), the wine company has brought waste production close to zero (0.1% of the discarded materials).

In order to obtain the best valorization of organic residues, the owner has equipped the process with modern technologies able to extract enocyanine.

The substance, extracted by red grape skins, is a natural dye of the anthocyanin group, which main use is addressed toward the food sector falling under the code of E163.

The company counts numerous production partners including 30 wine cooperatives producing wine from 12,500 vine growers over an area of 35,000 hectares, equal to 7 million quintals of grapes produced every year. In order to integrate a sustainable business model, the wine company has focused major efforts on:

  • Identifying new technologies applied to by-products

  • Applying new matrices

  • Fostering collaboration with agro-industrial entities

  • Adopting new techniques for bio products extractions/collection that allowed a better organisation of employees’ roles and tasks hence improved productivity

Nikos Kyriakoulis
Integrating rape-seed-oil for asphalt creation
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It is expected that bitumen prices will continue to increase over the next few years, making alternative raw materials more competitive and with increasing market share for this product.

Renewable materials such as rapeseed oil are used to replace a small part of the bitumen for road maintenance binders. As a result, the innovative procedure has been used to create a repair asphalt mix that can be installed in cold conditions. Around one-third of this pioneering binder consists of biobased materials.

Rapeseed oil is one of the basic ingredients for the product, which is a typical agricultural product. The yield of 1m² of a rapeseed field equals to 1m² of road surface material.

Forecasts assume that about three percent of the bitumen could be replaced by rapeseed oil, which corresponds to about 15,000 tonnes of rapeseed oil in Austria and 100,000 tonnes in Germany, per year.

The product is also sold in small units (e.g. 10 kg buckets) in do-it-yourself-stores for home applications.

The integration of this product into the mixture of bitumen and aggregate binder fits the traditional process for asphalt manufacturing.

Nikos Kyriakoulis
Biochar from agricultural waste
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An Austrian company has developed a pyrolysis processes for the production of biochar from agricultural residues.

The biochar is made out of carbonized grain hulls. Straw, compost from biowaste and non industrial sewage sludge, residues of a biogas facility and mineral elements are added to create different product lines. All components are collected within a radius of 70 km and used to produce:

- Synthetic Terra Preta

- Black earth and synthetic chernozems (type of naturally occuring very fertile black earth)

- Synthetic terra preta (very fertile type of soil formed by human activity of the indigenous rainforest populace)

- Long term fertilizers for organic farming

- Gardening soils

- Soils for landscaping

- Feed coal enhancing animal growth and health

- Litter coal retaining odour of manure

Farmers are crucial actors for ensuring the circularity of the practice. They benefit of an economic advantage when selling residues as input material for the processing industry. This is transformed into a value added product for farming, cattle breeding and stock farming, which entails the following properties:

• Caching of nutrients in the "manure sponge"

• Nutrients plant-available on the field

• No leaching of manure nutrients into the groundwater

• Carbon storage in the field

• In case of long-term application simultaneously humus structure

• Better water storage capacity of the soil

Nikos Kyriakoulis
EIP-Agri Operational Group kick-off Ireland’s first small-scale biorefinery project with Carbery Group and Barryroe Agri Co-Op

Earlier this month, the “Biorefinery Glas” EIP-Agri Operational Group, co-funded by Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine and the EU, kicked off at Institute of Technology, Tralee (IT Tralee).

The project sees the Institute partner with University College Dublin, GRASSA B.V., Barryroe Agri Co-operatives and Carbery Group is one of the country’s leading international manufacturers of speciality food ingredients, flavouring systems and is also a leading producer of award-winning cheeses.

The Biorefinery project aims to address key sustainability challenges in Irish agriculture, by encouraging farmers into the circular bioeconomy, which will deliver and support new income streams and drive business diversification.

“Biorefinery Glas is one of the first bioeconomy initiatives in Europe, looking to move farmers further up the bioeconomy value-chain; to become bio-processors, rather than just suppliers of low-cost biomass,” said project Co-ordinator James Gaffey of IT Tralee.

“The EU Commission in its recent Bioeconomy Strategy update has highlighted the important role that primary producers, such as dairy farmers, can play within the bioeconomy. It also highlighted the role that small-scale biorefineries can play in allowing farmers to diversify their income base in a sustainable manner. This could be replicated across Ireland and the EU, helping to improve protein availability and reduce emissions, while also producing value-added co-products”.

The project team will bring a mobile multi-product biorefinery, which optimises the use of grass by separating it into a spectrum of co-products, for demonstration to various farms to show how it can improve value and resource efficiency.   The demonstration unit will first isolate the protein that cows process most effectively from the grass.  It will then take the remainder of the protein, which the cows don’t use, to produce a co-product feed for pigs or chickens.

This approach improves the efficiency of nitrogen use for milk production, while providing pigs and chickens, who would otherwise not be able to access grass protein, an indigenous source of protein concentrate. Given the EU’s dependency on feed imports, and the commissions focus on developing a protein plan for Europe, a mechanism for improving protein efficiency is timely. An expected benefit of improving the nitrogen use efficiency for milk, includes a potential reduction in nitrogen loses and ammonia-related emissions for the dairy sector.

Said Enda Buckley, Director of Sustainability, Carbery Group: “For the past fifty years Carbery has conducted its business, while embracing strong sustainability principles.  Sustainability is foremost in our minds and we are constantly striving to improve our approach and that of our shareholders every day.  It was an easy decision for us and our farming partners to participate in this project and we are all looking forward to seeing the mobile grass biorefinery in action, to see where it can take us from both a sustainability and farm income perspective.”

 An additional, value-added co-product, is fructooligsaccarides, which will be extracted from the deproteinised grass whey.  It has a potential application as a prebiotic in animal or human nutritional projects and as an ingredient in cosmetic solutions. As processing takes place close to the farm, the nutrient-rich grass whey residue, can be reapplied to the field as a fertilizer or as a co-substrate for biomethane production, through anaerobic digestion for on-farm energy use.

The project comes at a critical moment for both Ireland and the EU, with the Commission’s proposal for the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) aiming to make a much stronger contribution to the sustainable development agenda.

Nikos Kyriakoulis
Behind the scenes at Omegabaars and Tomato Masters

Wednesday the 24th of April, partner Innovatiesteunpunt was welcomed with open arms in both companies, Omegabaars (fish grower) and Tomato Masters (tomato grower), with a diverse group of Belgian growers and other stakeholders. The Enabling project is convinced that this collaboration is unique and therefore one of our best practices!

Through this visit, growers were able to learn and see this collaboration in real life. Johan Vlaemynck from Tomato Masters and Vincent the production manager from Omegabaars were willing to answer every question.

We had a look at production hall from Omegabaars. We are told that Omegabaars is completely circular in regard to water use. Yearly, 30 million litres, is circulated between them and Tomato Masters. Tomato Masters catches rain water through the roofs of their greeneries and their cisterns. Omegabaars also has their own cistern (to catch rain water) of 10.000m3 as well as a big water treatment plant. Therefore water is circulated in two directions; waste water from the fish bassins is treated and then transported too Tomato Masters to water their plants. Caught water at Tomato Masters is transported to Omegabaars in return. An additional benefit for Tomato Masters, is that they need less fertilizers and save around €22.000/year.

Next to this, we are made aware of the tropic temperature inside the production hall. This is because the original fish is coming from Australia and their natural habitat needs to be imitated. They also make their own O2 and send it through the bassins.  Therefore electricity and heath are needed. Because the starting point of Omegabaars was to grow a sustainable fish, renewable energy was needed. Luckily, Tomato Masters has both solar panels and a Combined Heat and Power (CHP). Tomato Masters produces energy for around 500 families, but now also for Omegabaars. They made an arrangement that was better for both. Next to this, the rest heat, produced by the CHP, is transported to Omegabaars.

Additionally, we learned a lot about the production process from the fish and the fact that the fish is not fed with fishmeal, but with a vegetarian diet. This is much more sustainable than common aquaculture, because to grow a fish with fishmeal, fish from the see is needed to produce the fishmeal. We even got to taste the vegetarian feed, but the fish tasted better!

Jana Roels,

jana.roels@innovatiesteunpunt.be

Nikos Kyriakoulis