After five years, Agrimax, the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking project, which has built two ground-breaking pilot plant facilities in Spain and Italy has come to an end. The project has successfully demonstrated how unavoidable crop and food-processing waste can be turned into multiple, high-value bio-based products for the food-ingredients, food-packaging and farming sectors.
BioVale was the communication and dissemination partner for the project as well as developing economically competitive business models for the commercialisation of these products.
From farmers to consumers, vast amounts of agricultural and food waste are being generated throughout the whole supply chain. Approximately one third of all food produced globally is wasted every year. In Europe alone, around 90 million tonnes of food waste and 700 million tonnes of agricultural waste are generated annually.
The Italian pilot plant is based at family-run farm, Chiesa Virginio EC in the North of Italy and is processing waste from tomatoes and cereals to produce bio-based compounds such as lycopene, ferulic acid, cutin, and hydrocompost. The Spanish pilot plant, based at fruit processing company Indulleida, does the same for olive, tomato, cereal and potato waste to
produce polyphenols, fibres, proteins and aromas.
In addition to developing innovative processes, the project developed an online stakeholder platform to coordinate and manage the provision of regional waste feedstocks at the pilot plants. This, and the fact that the plants are designed to accept multiple feedstocks from different crops, will help overcome seasonal and local fluctuations and ensure that the pilot plants run throughout the year. For the long-term operation of the pilot plants, the project proposed a tailored co-operatively owned business model for each of the pilot plants.
Alexandra Poch and Cristina Fernandez, Project Coordinators from IRIS Technology explained “It is such a privilege to have led this consortium, they have worked relentlessly to design and build two pilot plants that are now fully operational and accepting feedstocks all year round. We are now excited to see how the range of innovative bio-based products and processes can be taken to end users in the food-ingredients, food-packaging and farming sectors – watch this space!”
Philippe Mengal, Executive Director, Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking added; “Agrimax has made such a difference towards tackling Europe’s huge food waste problem, it has opened new markets, built a demand for bio-based products and helped to create sustainable economic growth and rural jobs.”
The full range of applications developed by the Agrimax project can be found in a new online gallery and also viewed in an updated animation.
(Image credit: the Agrimax consortium at the Spanish Pilot Plant)