ORganic waste management by a small-scale Innovative automated system of anaerobic digestION

Project overview

Restaurants, hotels, markets, fisheries and other small to medium size agro-food industries have to manage 239 million tonnes of organic waste in Europe per year. The specific management of such waste, with respect to the legislative regulations of EU, involves costly treatment for SMEs and potential hygiene issues on site. ORION aims at allowing a vast majority of SMEs to manage their organic waste by themselves in order to decrease their treatment costs (storage, transport, landfill or incineration) and increase on-site hygiene conditions. Wastes will be also valorised as biomass to produce energy and increase SME autonomy and profitability.

ORION main objectives consist of:

  • Developing for the first time anaerobic digestion machine at the SME scale (1 m3 to 50 m3) that will combine effectiveness for a large range of organic wastes and reduced capital and operating costs
  • Developing advanced control tools and sensors to reach an optimum reliability
  • Increasing know-how on the impact of nanostructured surfaces on bacterial growth and increase waste throughput in the digester
  • Developing a dissemination and training strategy in order to address a vast community of SMEs and offer them a personalized service
  • Contributing to the implementation of EU policies on waste management and renewable energies production.

A maximum autonomy, adaptability and reliability are targeted. The digester is expected to be very cost-effective for users. ORION partnership is composed of European and National IAG representing the targeted sectors: fishery and aquaculture, hotel and restaurants, small agro-food industries and a Core Group of representative SME partners involved in the pilot design AD testing with various waste qualities and quantities. They will rely on a interdisciplinary group of research centres in order to achieve the technical goals of the project.

Case Studies

Economic analysis of centralized biogas plants (22 Danish manure based plants) has shown that economic balance in large facilities can be achieved when the average biogas yield is higher than 30 m3 of biogas/m3 of biomass (approx 20 m3 of CH4/m3 of biomass) (Angelidaki and Ellegard., 2003). Coincidently, several studies have shown that for capacities <5000 t/year, anaerobic digestion is not economical for power generation. However, this depends very much on the disposal cost of the waste on the one hand and the selling price of electricity to the grid on the other hand. For many applications, the heat production can be used locally e.g. for heating or hot water production and on-site biogas production becomes profitable.

This project is supported by the European Commission
under the Research for SME associations Theme
of the 7th Framework Programme for Research and
Technological Development

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