Work Package 1 focuses on valorization, treatment and reuse of agrofood industry wastewaters. Two types of wastewater were selected for further study: olive mill wastewater (OMW) and biorefinery wastewater (BRW).
This report only concerns BRW. The feasibility of applying anaerobic digestion as a first treatment step to BRWs has been demonstrated in literature. While accumulation of intermediate fermentation products, ie volatile fatty acids (VFA) is not desirable in regular anaerobic digestion, it can be exploited for the production of VFA as bulk chemicals.
Chang et al.(2010) indeed proposed a VFA-based platform for the bio-based production of fuels and biochemicals, as an alternative for the typical biorefinery platforms based on sugar, syngas, biogas or carbon-rich chains. To the best of our knowledge, this has not been evaluated yet for BRWs. A VFA-based platform evidently only is viable when the VFA mixtures can be converted in an economical way into biofuels and biochemicals.
Therefore, we first described the current state-of-the-art for biorefineries, which will be the benchmark for our own investigations. From there, we selected the appropriate waste stream for VFA production. This was then used to evaluate the impact of selected process parameters on VFA production.