The scope of the research proposal FOODINBIO is the development of an innovative, compact system that combines biological treatment technologies for the sustainable and environmental friendly management of organic waste streams that are generated from different types of food processing industries. In particular, the selected sub-sectors are:
- Processing and preserving of meat and production of meat products,
- Processing and preserving of fruit and vegetables,
- Manufacture of vegetable and animal oils and fats,
- Manufacture of dairy products,
- Manufacture of beer.
The combination of biological treatment technologies will include the usage of a membrane bioreactor unit, an anaerobic digester and a composting unit. In particular, the membrane bioreactor unit will be used for the treatment of wastewater regarding the liquid fraction of certain organic waste streams from the different types of food industries. The product of this biological process will be treated water which, according to its quality level, can be utilized for industrial and/or irrigation purposes. The anaerobic digester unit will be used for the co-treatment of organic waste solid fraction (solid particles and contained moisture) and the sludge that produced as a by-product from the membrane bioreactor unit, in order to produce quantities of biogas that can be utilized directly for electricity production. The solid state residue of the anaerobic process (digestate) will be processed at an aerobic bioreactor for the production of compost. The produced compost can be used mainly as soil fertilizer for agricultural purposes. Furthermore, the liquid fraction of digestate will be recirculated to the membrane bioreactor unit. In conclusion, apart from the sustainable management of organic waste streams from different types of food processing industries, the innovative, compact system will achieve the production of useful end products (compost) and, also, the production of energy and treated water that will be assessed in order to examine the potential for covering a percentage of the industrial energy and water requirements.