Stainable biorefineries by developing VFA platform
Research Project, 2020 – 2023

Purpose and goal: The state-of-the-art in organic wastes handling simply hovers around low-value creating practices such as biogas production. However, this application introduces a holistic bio-based approach through a biorefinary concept that covers the whole spectrum of waste-to-value practices. The proposed process includes bioconversion of low value organic wastes to platform intermediate chemicals and the application of final value-added products e.g. volatile fatty acids (VFAs) and fungal biomass in novel applications, ranging from animal feed all the way to wastewater treatment. Expected results and effects: In this project production of VFAs from animal manure, pulp and paper mill, WWT sludge, and agricultural residues in an anaerobic digestion membrane bioreactor with VFA yields of above 400 mg VFAs/g VSS is sought. Pilot-scale MBRs with a recovery capacity of 40-70 L VFA solution/h will be developed. The VFA-rich stream will be used for wastewater denitrification to achieve nitrogen and phosphorous removal up to 60 and 85%. The VFA solution will be used as animal (sheep and cows) feed directly as energy drink or indirectly as VFA-derived protein-rich fungal biomass supplement. Approach and implementation: The project will be conducted in 5 work packages (WPs) for a total period of 3 years. It will include optimization of batch and lab scale anaerobic digestion of organic wastes and materials using MBR, followed by designing, installing and operating pilot plant for the VFA production and recovery. The VFA will be examined directly as denitrification carbon source in a wastewater treatment plant, as ruminant dietary supplement for cows and sheeps and also fungal production for feed. Finally, techno-economical feasibility of the process will be carried out.


Claes Niklasson (contact)

Chalmers, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chemical Technology


Hushållningssällskapet Sjuhärad

Länghem, Sweden

Raw Food Café i Borås AB

Borås, Sweden

University of Borås

Borås, Sweden



Project ID: 2020-03664
Funding Chalmers participation during 2020–2023

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