Energías Renovables

Bioenergy – 10 innovative technologies to transform waste into valuable bioproducts and biofuels

Conversion of digesters with low agricultural value into efficient and sustainable products, recovery of nutrients from WWTP sludge and fertilizer production through anaerobic co-incineration, extraction of cellulose from plant biomass residues are some of the beverage conversion projects for different types of waste and emissions in valuable bioproducts. and biofuels demonstrated at the recent biorefinery conference Ainiaand they explain:

Sustainable technological industries: circular solutions from digested waste
First, Biovic, Ekonek, Perseo and Ainia discussed the possibilities of the digester for circular economy and sustainable technological industries. The digester, which is the residual product of anaerobic digestion in which various nutrients are concentrated, is of great importance in these circular economy processes.
• Conversion of digestible waste with low agronomic value into efficient and sustainable products: Specializing in engineering for the implementation of biogas and biomethane plants, Biovic company is focused on converting digested waste of low agricultural value into efficient and sustainable products such as: for biostimulants, biohydrogen, proteins, compost and bioplastics AGV. To do this, they use the digester’s biphasic anaerobic fermentation process, which separates hydrolysis and acetogenesis from methanation.
• Recovery of nutrients from WWTP sludge and production of manure by anaerobic co-digestion: Part of its presentation focused on the successful Bioferes project, which aims to recover waste through anaerobic co-incineration in the dual-temperature phase and dual-biological phase. It produces nutrients and fertilizers from WWTP sludge. Biostimulants are obtained from the solid part and biogas and biohydrogen are obtained from the liquid part through the use of ultrafiltration and hydrophobic membranes.
• Ainia’s project technician Alfredo Rodrigo, for his part, increased the recovery of nutrients from digested waste through aquaculture and solutions. He addressed the issue of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium recovery through the use of microalgae and duckweed in digesters. This recovery technology includes stabilization of organic matter, further separation of liquid and solid fractions and partial sterilization. Its potential beyond nutrient recovery is to be more energy efficient and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In addition, various valuable products can be obtained through proper processing: biogas, biofertilizers, animal feed ingredients, etc. Regarding the use of lemna, it should be noted that unlike microalgae, this aquatic plant is less sensitive to turbidity and continues to offer the advantages of algae: nutrient recovery, high biomass production and easy harvesting.
• Innovative technologies for digestate drying: Ekonek group, which continues the digestate drying process, presented two innovative technologies they developed. First, ‘pulsed combustion drying’, which reduces the size of the droplets with an expanding wave at the speed of light, and as a result, decayed dust. On the other hand, the ‘mouth-bed dryer’ with this technology sieves it with the hot air it decomposes. These technologies serve to incorporate the resulting powder into the raw materials that make use of this format. For example, drying yeast for animal feed.
• Waste recovery to obtain bioethanol: Perseo company gave the final presentation of this blog focusing on the recovery of waste to obtain bioethanol. Its main purpose is to evaluate all waste. Bioethanol from Forsu can be used in biofuels and chemical products. In turn, the process yields distillation for biogas and fertilizers.

Obtaining valuable products from lignocellulosic waste
• Obtaining cellulose from plant biomass and assembly residues: Dr. The first presentation by Eduardo Espinosa described the processes required to obtain cellulose from the separation of the Lignocellulosic matrix of plant biomass residues and combining them to obtain bacteria. nanocellulose. The process consists of two stages, the extraction of cellulose and the production of valuable products from it. The main goals are to achieve better paper quality, increase recycling cycles and obtain homogeneous products with certain quality indices. As new applications for improving matrices, 3D bioprinters come to the fore, stem cells more precisely adhere to nanocellulose in print traces, resulting in an advance in regenerative medicine.
• Automation of micro/nanoparticles of cellulose from recycled paper: With a more industrial approach, the company SYSPRO introduced the automation of micro/nanoparticles of cellulose from recycled paper. By automating processes and better controlling the continuous production of nanocellulose, the lifespan of the paper can be increased.
• Extraction of cellulose and lignin from agricultural and forestry residues: Finally, the use of lignocellulosic biomass was discussed in collaboration with ClaMber. The role of second generation biorefineries, where sugars found in lignocellulosic waste are used without competing with human and animal feed to obtain valuable products, was investigated. For example, biomass is conditioned from agricultural and forestry residues, lignocellulose without extract is obtained, and finally cellulose and lignin are obtained.

Conversion of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in food and cosmetic ingredients
• Current technologies for efficient and viable greenhouse gas bioconversion: First, Ainia Biorefinery project manager Rocío Monsonís gave an introduction to available technologies for efficient and viable GHG bioconversion. It showcased the various processes from removing pollutants to producing high-value products, and the different technologies that support them. Particular attention was paid to ensuring that bioproducts gain market interest and are part of an economically viable process.
• Extraction of bioproducts from agro-industrial biogas: Syspro company shared its experience in the circular economy project where bioproducts are derived from agro-industrial biogas. Specifically, the resulting bioproduct is single cell protein or SCP. To continue, Víctor Pérez of the University of Valladolid did the same, focusing on the Deep Purple project. This project covers biocosmetics, fertilizer, packaging, construction, etc. aims to value Forsu and waste water by acquiring valuable products such as UVA’s work on the project focuses on the conversion to ectoine for the cosmetics industry, using methane as a raw material source. Although ectoin is the product with the highest added value that can be produced by methanotrophic bacteria, a complex and expensive process is performed to obtain it. Therefore, he explained options for using glucose or biogas as substrate in order to reduce costs. The benefits of the bacteria responsible for the production of this high-value ingredient and the strengths of the technology developed were also discussed, and people were invited to visit the project’s website to learn about the progress of the project.
• Simultaneous production of succinic acid and biomethane from biogas: And as a final point, Ivem engineering presented the Nneosucces project, which is in the last months of its implementation. This project succeeded in introducing a process in which succinic acid is simultaneously obtained while purifying biomethane from biogas to real ambient TRL. All this thanks to a patent from DTU university. This is a very interesting project, given the well-known value of biomethane and the use of succinic acid in processes such as crude oil refining, as food substrates, and in the cosmetics industry.

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