The Economic revaluation of residual waste of Agricultural and horticultural products

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Circular economy


Within the EU 2020 Strategy, stimulating and promoting the transition to a sustainable, circular economy is a key theme. These ambitions can only be achieved if in all sectors plans are made and concrete steps are taken towards this circular Economy. In this respect, agriculture and horticulture is also an important sector not immediately considered in the circular economy. After all, the products of this sector are a primary part of the chain. But also in this sector large residual flows are available, namely the non-edible parts (eg foliage, peel, flowers). These waste streams are usually not yet utilized, for example, because they are discharged to the composting. This because these waste streams are often not bulky enough for further processing, there is not enough cooperation on circularity in the chain and because new technologies (from other sectors) are not known or insufficiently known and applied. Regarding these techniques, a number of new developments have recently taken place. It is still better possible to process 'green waste' through bioraffinage delivering various semi-finished products such as fibers, proteins, dyes and fluid nutrients. In many sectors, there is a great need for those semi-finished products as a basis for packaging (for example, short-term food industry or consumables) or for longer life cycles or in the fertilizer sector (agriculture/agrofood). Combined with good marketing slogans sales of these products in the B2C, but also in the B2B can be innovative. If specific proteins can be distilled, this may even be of great importance for the pharmaceutical industry or life style sectors. Until now, tests are mainly executed on laboratory scale and the development towards a full scale business model has not yet been successful. In addition, to achieve a full-scale business case, not only proteins or fibers need to extracted but you need to extract different kind of fractions at the same time, i.e. fibers and molecules have to be upgraded. This is the so-called “square value-upgrading”. With regard to quantities and chains, cooperation has to be intensified and concentrated. This isn’t yet the case, mainly due to unfamiliarity. Knowledge and guidance are needed, but also the development of ICT in order to identify, to combine and to sell/deposit these streams. This project is therefore focusing on 3 pillars: - Market ‘pull’, co-creation and design: Developing and designing chains for residual flow production processing, including business cases for all components in the chain. The offering parties can also be the buying parties to make acceleration possible. - Technology ‘push’ and upscaling: further research into the possibilities of processing residual flows, including further improvement / specific application of already developed technologies (from TRL 5) - Cross-overs: Developing big data applications (ICT) that can provide guidance and direction to the sale and processing of residual flows and the Semi-manufactured products resulting from the residual flows. With regard to the residual flows, the project aims to focus on typical agricultural and horticultural products in England (barley and beans), France (wheat, flax), Belgium (strawberries and raspberries to produce packaging for strawberries and raspberries) and the Netherlands (onions and potatoes to produce packaging for onions and potatoes). In addition to fibers, the extraction and application of valuable molecules is a main central topic.

Creation date: 26/06/2017

Bloc onglets

Bloc 1

Overall objective

to stimulate the agriculture and horticulture sector to deal with residual flows after harvesting by focusing on bioraffinage, chain development, technology and logistics and finding new markets in cooperation with processors of the residual flows. To reach this a number of practical demonstrations/pilots will be developed on the basis of a limited number of sample crops. More specifically, the objective is to reduce the residual flows in these sectors by at least 50%.

Bloc 2


- New procedures in bioraffinage process - ICT models to guide residual and processing streams - Various chains of residual flow processors markets - Various tests / pilots and demonstration activities - Developed business models for various chains - Platform of stakeholders from different sectors - Awareness concepts

Bloc 3

Expected result

- The development and implementation of these chains will lead to a significant reduction of residual flows in the agriculture and horticulture sector - The development of new processes in the bioraffinage will lead to new steps in the development of this (still) young technology - The project will lead to completely new collaborative structures between sectors that did not exist before - The project will lead to similar developments in the treatment and processing of other residual flows in the agriculture and horticulture sector

Bloc 4

Cross-border added-value

The bottlenecks and challenges in reducing residual flows in the agriculture and horticulture sector are more or less the same throughout the 2 Seas area: - The development and use of bioraffinage techniques is still in its infancy - Collaboration in and chain development between different sectors is still limited because of ignorance of each other's possibilities - The development of economically feasible business models in this area must still be achieved - The logistics surrounding the collection, processing and disposal of residual flows and semi-finished products must be invented by ICT applications Cross-border cooperation on these issues and using each other's knowledge and skills can result into considerable steps to reduce residual flows. In addition, in one country there is more knowledge in the field of bioraffinage, in the other country, more on chain development and cross-sectoral cooperation or of logistic ICT systems.