On Tuesday 20th July, the Agrimax project will open new ground-breaking facilities in Spain and Italy, which will demonstrate how unavoidable crop and food-processing waste can be turned into high-value bio-based products for the food-ingredients, food-packaging and farming sectors.
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.
These two new pilot plants (biorefineries) – one in Spain and one in Italy – have been developed by the EU-funded Agrimax project which aims to address Europe’s food waste problem by developing and demonstrating the production of multiple, high-value bio-based products from food and farming waste. The Italian pilot plant is based at family-run farm, Chiesa 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, will do the same for olive, tomato, cereal and potato waste to produce polyphenols, fibres, proteins and aromas.
Georgios Chalkias, Project Coordinator, IRIS said “This is an exciting time for the Agrimax project. Now the pilot plants are operational, we are seeing new applications being developed, such as a bio-based coating for metal food packaging, formulated with cutin extracted from tomato peels. This coating has the capacity to replace standard coating of petrochemical origin– a fantastic opportunity for the food and food-packaging sector to help revolutionise consumer products.”
In addition to developing innovative processes, the pilot plant is adopting novel methods for coordinating and managing the provision of waste feedstocks to the pilot plant. Using an online stakeholder platform, Agrimax coordinates the provision of waste from many regional producers. This, and the fact that the plant is designed to accept multiple feedstocks from different crops, will help overcome seasonal and local fluctuations and ensure that the pilot plant runs throughout the year.
Virginia Puzzolo, Head of Programme, Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking added; “Agrimax is likely to become a successful example to showcase the spirit of the Circular Economy; much of the waste the project us using finds new applications in the sector that produced it, closing loops between primary production and re-use.”
The online launch would be suitable for farmers and food-processors looking for alternative uses for their waste or companies working at the end of the supply chain e.g. packaging, food and agricultural materials sectors who are looking to develop more sustainable products or processes.
- Agrimax is an EU-funded project that is developing and demonstrating the production of multiple, high-value products from crop and food-processing waste. The project is also developing economically competitive routes to the commercialisation of these products, using flexible, and possibly cooperatively run, processing facilities. Agrimax will maximise the EU’s sustainability, while providing new bio-based compounds for the food-ingrediants, food-packaging and farming sectors.
- The project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 720719.
- The Agrimax consortium combines the expertise of 28 partners from 11 European countries: 18 of which are from industry.
- Agrimax website http://agrimax-project.eu/
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