Valorisation of side streams

Many side streams are produced by agriculture, the food industry, landscape maintenance and newly developed biorefineries. To cut costs or even generate income, it is important to optimise the quality of these side streams. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research has decades of practical research experience with adding value to side streams.

High-value raw materials

Examples of side streams include (verge) grass, wood waste, organic waste and textiles, but also auction waste, coffee grounds and cocoa shells. Both the quality and production quantities of side streams are determined by the main product from which they originate. Separation and physical and chemical processing allow us to extract other high-quality components from side streams for use in raw materials for chemicals and materials, and e.g. for fertiliser. As these high-quality components are often only present in low percentages, side streams are used principally in applications such as animal feed or biogas. High-value raw materials that we can extract from biomass include proteins, organic acids, fatty acids and phosphate.

Innovation via cooperation

Suppliers of side streams are increasingly interested in developing new high-quality products. In an ideal situation, the end users also have influence on the development of the product. In other words, smart innovation depends upon good cooperation. Currently, the success rate of new chain development in the field of side streams is low. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research encourages stakeholders to become actively involved in chain development.

We have designed several possible solutions, from technical to logistical innovations, to reduce the complexity of this process. Examples of technical innovations include technical process development, stabilisation or preservation of components, and end product development. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research has set up partnerships between suppliers and end users of side streams so that they can explore the technical possibilities together and suppliers can enter the market more easily. Semi-finished products which can be utilised in the existing market are under development.