Converting organic waste streams into a valuable resource for municipalities

Fruit, vegetable, and other garden waste is often only converted into compost and low-value biogas that contains methane. FABULOUS rethinks organic waste streams in the city to optimize the upcycling of organic waste into high-value chemical building blocks. Those can be sold on to create end-products, from paint to bioplastics.

Organic waste: an untapped revenue stream 
Organic waste in cities is an untapped resource, and rethinking urban organic waste streams can extract and process it into valuable materials in ways that current anaerobic processes fail to accomplish. This contributes to reducing a city’s carbon footprint and helps meet sustainability targets. New processes to treat and recover urban waste streams create a unique opportunity to convert that waste into key ingredients for the petrochemical industry, normally the byproducts from petroleum refining.  

Valuable, ecological compound production 
AMS Institute collaborated with partners to test a new process that converts volatile fatty acids (VFA), the feedstock for other end products, such as liquid biofuels, bioplastics, and other specific compounds from organic waste. Testing and developing a robust production method took place at a pilot plant in Lelystad.  

Maximum value from urban waste streams 
FABULOUS strives to develop the processes for a new type of municipal waste treatment plant that converts organic material into compounds that go on to make ketones and aromatics, the ingredients industries need to make solvents, chemical precursors, and fuel additives. This could open a new revenue stream for cities, since those materials go into end-products like paint, varnish, plastics, pharmaceuticals, dyes, and even bioplastics.  

Circular urban waste management  
Finding a high-value use for the organic waste discarded by citizens in its urban centers is economically beneficial. But making such a facility economically viable also aligns with Dutch 2050 circular society objectives by improving bioprocesses for waste treatment. Product formation of ketones and aromatics, for example, are normally obtained through crude oil and petroleum refining, and so a cleaner process can contribute to sustainable energy management and reduce fossil fuel dependency.  

Afbeelding credits

Header afbeelding: Wikimedia Commons - Food waste