Physical sciences, Earth sciences

Turning African biowaste into a resource

Africa is the world's second most-populous continent after Asia and has a huge need for energy and feedstock supply. African food and agricultural waste provides an excellent substrate for biorefinery processes for the production of valuable, sustainable products, including biofuel.

The objective of the EU-funded BIOWASTE4SP project is to covert biowaste from the African food industry and agricultural sectors into sustainable products of food and feed ingredients, bioethanol for transportation, lactic acid for bioplastic, biogas for electricity and organic based fertilizer for healthy plant production. The project aim to improve the circular bioeconomy in Africa.

The technologies used within the project all rely on simple and locally available equipment and naturally occurring microorganisms. Life cycle analysis and socio-economic assessments are carried out throughout whole project period to ensure local applicability in the target countries.

At the end of the project in 2015 BIOWASTE4SP will present its main outcome, a catalogue with 40 identified biowaste feedstock available in the African partner countries Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana and Morocco including their chemical components of sugars (cellulose, hemicellulose and starch) as well as contents of plant nutrients. The catalogue will contain potential yields of bioethanol, biogas, lactic acid, amino acid, protein and fertilizer estimated from laboratory-scale experimental tests.

Several publications are underway including the investigation of the integrated biorefinery of African rice bran for production of value-added malto-dextrins, beta-glucans, proteins and essential oils.

Wider socioeconomic benefits of BIOWASTE4SP work include raising the technological level of Africa, especially with regard to capacity building through education and training in the partner research institutions. This will enable a sustained development of African biowaste to become a valuable resource capable of benefiting society.

last modification: 2015-06-01 15:01:54

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