Grassification | 2 Mers Seas Zeeën

Grassification

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Grassification

Priority Axis

Resource Efficient Economy

Specific objective

Circular Economy

Lead partner

Ghent University

Contact

Start Date

01/03/2018

End Date

28/02/2021

Project budget

4 421 681

ERDF amount

2 534 311

ERDF rate

57%

    About

    Common challenge

    Roadside grass clippings are a problem fraction throughout the 2 Seas Programme area due to their high volume, subject to high processing costs. The industrial sector, however, is interested in the possibility of using roadside grass clippings as an alternative resource (as opposed to fossil sources or dedicated agricultural produce).

    The common challenges for applying roadside grass clippings as a renewable feedstock in industrial processes are currently threefold:

    1. the supply chains are not yet optimal, resulting in higher costs
    2. a highly variable and heterogeneous supply
    3. an unsupportive institutional framework leading to legal and political challenges

    The opportunities to be addressed by the Grassification project can thus be situated at different levels of the roadside grass clippings value chain, hindering altogether the use of grass clippings by the industry as a renewable resource (and thus hampering the pursuit of a biobased and circular economy).

    Main Achievements

    The Grassification project aims at valorizing roadside grass clippings. In a transborder cooperation between Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK, 13 partners want to transition towards the use of roadside grass clippings as a renewable resource for the production of biobased products.

    The whole value chain for grass clippings valorization is being assessed, starting from the optimization of the input material to the processing and obtaining of final products up to the techno-economical assessment of the entire process and the development of policy recommendations.

    Preparations have already been made to develop a new mowing head for improving the quality of the grass clippings. For the processing part, the low quality clippings will be tested towards enhanced landfill mining in a 200-300 tonnes closed cell that is already under construction. 

    The high quality grass fibers are currently being tested for the production of building panels and bio-composites through the collaboration of Belgium and Dutch partners, and a prototype product in form of a ‘card holder’ containing grass fibers has already been produced. With the liquid fraction, the different partners have made preparation to test the use of this product for the production of biogas, fertilizers, soil enhancers, and proteins (using insects and microalgae).

    Biogas production has proved to be a promising route of valorization, with high output of methane per ton of liquid fraction. Also, contacts have been made with stakeholders active in commercial Spirulina (microalgae) production to assess the possibility to use the pressed grass liquids in replacement of current synthetic chemical growth substrates.

    The first tests were successful, as the microalgae grew better in the diluted liquid fraction of grass than in the control medium. All of these potential pathways have been inserted in a product flow diagram, which will become a blueprint for the project and form the base for the techno-economic assessment.

    The set-up of the supply chain optimization model has been started and, thanks to the transnational character of the project, collection of GIS data across the three regions has started.

    Based on all these results, the Grassification project will reinforce institutional framework conditions, necessary to make the needed shift towards recycling and preventing the loss of valuable material. This should ultimately convince industries to invest in this alternative yet abundant renewable resource.

    Partnership

    Partners

    Province of West Flanders

    Pro Natura

    Flemish Institute for Technological Research

    Inagro

    University College Ghent

    Vanheede Landfill Solutions NV

    Kent Wildlife Trust

    Millvision

    Delphy BV

    Avans University Applied Science

    Innec CVBA

    Canterbury Christ Church University