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Sustainable up-cycling of agricultural residues: modular cascading waste conversion system (2020 ‒ 2023)





Grant No. 652615


Source of funding: European Commission Joint Programming Initiative on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (FACCE-JPI) Sustainable and Resilient Agriculture for Food and Non-food Systems (FACCE SURPLUS)

Project period: 01.04.2020 – 31.03.2023

Total budget: 1 345 000 EUR

Project coordinator: Dr. Sergiy Smetana, Deutsches Institut für Lebensmitteltechnik DIL e.V., Germany

Project coordinator from our group: Senior researcher, Agris Pentjušs,


The objective is to create an industrial blueprint of the UpWaste modular biorefinery system application. Such a system will create new market opportunities and determine the feasibility of new products and services generated through integrated food and non-food systems.

Project summary:

The UpWaste project tackles the interconnected challenges of agriculture as well as the sustainable intensification of the agricultural sector, efficient use of resources and lower GHG emissions by developing a flexible and modular system for the conversion of agricultural residues into heterotrophic microalgal (Galdieria sulphuraria) and insect (Hermetia illucens) biomass.

UpWaste relies on metabolic modelling with experimental calibration at lab and pilot industrial scales. The UpWaste system, based on selected species, converts residues, which are diverse and difficult to characterize (e.g. manure, food waste, straw, and hull), into high-quality biomass with defined composition. Following cascading principles, produced biomass will serve as a substrate for the development of various products ranging from food to chemicals by relevant industries (creation of innovation potential for the associated industrial stakeholders). Focus is further on detection and avoidance of biological contaminations for assuring the safety of produced biomass and even identifying the potential for the application as food and feed.

Socio-economic and environmental impact analyses of supply chains will be performed to assess social acceptance, economic and environmental feasibility of the envisaged system.

Holistic sustainability assessment of UpWaste integration in existing agri-food chains (agricultural and food waste and side-streams treatment) will indicate trade-offs not only between different sectors (e.g. agri-food and energy) but also between different aspects of sustainability (e.g. production and environment).

Furthermore, UpWaste will define potential risks of rebound effects associated with the application of UpWaste modular system, when the application of side-streams or wastes for new product generation may result in higher production rates of such wastes .

More information about this project can be found on the project website.







The project has started recently and is currently being implemented. Project results will be published.





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