The BiFFiO project is an example of industrial symbiosis, initiated from aquaculture, agriculture and renewable energy industries for a sustainable waste management by producing renewable energy from mixed aquaculture and agriculture waste, in addition to production of fertilizer, which will be used in agriculture sector. The partners will develop energy efficient, cost effective, easy to implement and easy to operate biogas reactor technology. BiFFiO has in total eleven partners including SME Associations, other enterprises, and research institutions participating in the project that will run until the end of 2016.
There is a need for sustainable solutions to handle the waste, which is produced as part of the daily production in both the aquaculture and agriculture sectors. A great majority of aquaculture farms are located in remote areas, close to agriculture activity where larger-scale Biogas plants solutions is not a good fit based on amount of waste produced and high cost of long-distance transport. This limitation emphasizes the need for the cross-sector approach chosen in for this project, where local livestock and fish farms can combine their waste and collectively take advantage of the end- products in a plant scaled to meet the demands for their specific waste needs.
In traditional flow-through fish farming facilities, the production of waste could cause environmental problems like excessive oxygen depletion and increased algal growth, reduce production, and does not comply with environmental regulations. Therefore, land-based RAS systems are emerging. Consequently, the industry needs new technology for handling and utilization of the fish faeces and waste. Further, RAS systems consume more energy to support water circulation. A potential solution is the development of new technology that can utilize the fish farm waste to generate the energy required.
Likewise, agriculture industry has high contribution to the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In addition, as agricultural industry is intensified and the price of inorganic fertilizer continues to rise, livestock farms will need new sustainable methods for handling their excess manure. Therefore, suitable manure management help to facilitate export of excess nutrients and redistribute the organic fertilizer.
The EU has fixed a goal of supplying 20% of the European energy demands from renewable energy systems (RES) by the year 2020. A major part of this renewable energy will originate from European farming and forestry. At least 25% of all bioenergy in the future is likely to originate from biogas, produced from wet organic materials such as animal manure, whole crop silages, wet food and feed wastes, etc. Therefore, there is a pressing need to develop economical technologies that enable production of renewable energy for smaller fish and animal farms in rural areas.
Using fish waste together with manure from animal production will boost the biogas production versus using manure or fish waste alone, providing a benefit to both industrial sectors. The BiFFiO project partners, representing the aquaculture, agriculture and renewable energy industries, hence see a great opportunity in production of renewable energy from mixed aquaculture and agriculture waste. The partners will develop energy efficient, cost effective, easy to implement, and easy to operate scalable three-stage system of pre-treatment, biogas reactor and post-treatment. BiFFiO is going to apply the State-of-the-art technology for pre-treatment to increase biodegradability of the substrates. The reactor will be based on high-rate anaerobic digestion (AD) and will be designed for recovery of valuable biogas and nutrients from the digested waste, thus reducing pollution and emissions, stabilizing the organic matter, reducing odours and pathogens, and in general controlling physical and chemical contaminants. Post-treatment of the digestate is often necessary for fertilizer recuperation.
The BiFFiO project will enable SMEs from the aquaculture, agriculture and energy sectors to increase the sustainability of their production, and by finding economic viable solutions for handling waste products, will help increase their competitiveness. The initiators of this project, the Scottish Salmon Producer Organisation (SSPO), and the British Trout Association (BTA), representing SMEs in the fish farming industry, have recognized the urgent need for collaboration and further R&D to find economic and functional solutions for sustainable use of fish wastes. Landberatung GmbH (Landberatung), the European Biomass Association (Aebiom) and Norsk Bioenergiforening (Nobio), representing the agricultural and bioenergy SMEs, see the wealth of opportunities for improved utilization of waste products by combining the waste sources from fish and animal farming. Included in the consortium are OTHER-SME partners that can produce, deliver and distribute the BiFFiO technology to the market post-project, namely: Awite Bioenergie GmbH (Awite), aqua & waste International GmbH (a&w), and OÜ Kalaveski ltd. (Kalaveski) delivering turn-key technologies for water, wastewater, environmental and renewable energies. Three research institutions are participating in the project, Aqua Consult Ingenieur GmbH (ACI), University of Liverpool (UoL) and Teknologisk Institutt as (TI) to perform the RTD tasks in the project.