Organic wastes and residues as feedstocks for biofuels production

Any organic residues / biological waste materials can potentially be converted to advanced biofuels by thermochemical, biochemical or chemical processes. Increasingly, processing or manufacturing facilities that convert biomass to food, building materials, paper, and other bioproducts take a biorefinery approach - maximising the conversion of feedstocks and waste streams into valuable byproducts, energy and biofuels.

A review entitled „Exploitation of Food Industry Waste for High-Value Products” was published by Ravindran and Jaiswal in 2016 in "Trends in Biotechnology".

Pulp and paper industry

Examples of other organic residues include black liquor from pulp and paper production (KRAFT process), and waste streams from the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. DME (Dimethyl ether) is being generated from black liquor. UPM and SunPine AB are developing production of renewable diesel from crude tall oil, a residual product of the pulp and paper industry (see section on tall oil).

Food and Beverage waste streams

St1 has bioethanol plants in Finland; an oil refinery in Gothenburg, Sweden; and service stations in Finland, Sweden and Norway. The company produces bioethanol from a variety of food industry waste streams:

  • Biowaste from households
  • Leftover dough from bakeries
  • Expired bread and other organic waste from shops
  • Waste from beer and other beverage production
  • Waste and process residues from confectionery production
  • Starch- and sugar-containing waste from the food industry

The objective of the IEE project FaBbiogas is to elaborate a solid information base on FaB (Food and Beverage) waste utilisation for biogas production and to prove the efficiency and feasibility of FaB waste-based biogas implementation projects. The EU project FABbiogas (Intelligent Energy Europe) project aspires to change the mindsets of all stakeholders in the waste-to-energy chain by promoting residues from FAB industry as a new and renewable energy source for biogas production.

Sewage sludge, manure or slaughterhouse residues are other feedstocks, which can be converted to biogas.

EU Funded Projects

Bin2Grid aims at defining strategies to increase the use of food waste in biomethane production. The main goal of the project is to create a network of food waste to be used as feedstock.Bin2Grid wants to promote the segregated collection of food waste as energy source, conversion to biogas, and its upgrading to biomethane and utilization in associated network of filling stations. Accent is given to defining strategies for establishing efficient network of food and beverage waste collection methods and practices. Duration: 2015 - 2017.

Waste2Fuels aims to develop next generation biofuel technologies capable of converting agrofood waste (AFW) streams into high quality biobutanol. The project will enlarge the current biomass feedstock basis by the development of next generation biofuel technologies capable of converting unavoidable agrofood waste streams into high quality biobutanol. Duration: 2016 - 2018.