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The Economic Utilisation of Food Co-Products

The Economic Utilisation of Food Co-Products

by Abbas Kazmi (Contribution by), Lucy Nattrass (Contribution by), Peter Shuttleworth (Editor), Vitaliy Budarin (Contribution by), James H Clark (Editor)

As the world’s population continues to grow so does the demand for food, and in consequence the amount of material left over from food production. No longer considered simply as "waste", many food co-products are being identified as economically-viable raw materials and their potential is enhanced by modern processing technologies and the biorefinery concept.


As the world’s population continues to grow so does the demand for food, and in consequence the amount of material left over from food production. No longer considered simply as "waste", many food co-products are being identified as economically-viable raw materials and their potential is enhanced by modern processing technologies and the biorefinery concept.

This book presents a general overview of the current situation, with perspectives from within the food industry and policy makers in the introductory chapters. These are followed by five chapters exploring modern advanced processing techniques. Further chapters are dedicated to separate food groups, including cereals, oils, rice and fish, exploring the potential for making the best use of the co-products generated.

Many of the processing technologies discussed will be familiar to students and practitioners of green chemistry, but the book goes further in presenting examples and case studies, written by active workers in the field from across the globe. Food technicians and process engineers will be amongst the researchers in academia and industry and postgraduate students this book is aimed for.

Editorial Reviews

DOI 10.1515/gps-2014-0006 Green Process Synth 2014; 3: 185 - Laura Kollau
Living now, in the 21st century, it is surprising that 815
million people are undernourished and still 1600 children die every day from hunger-related causes, while in Europe alone more than 30% of the food produced is wasted. This book elaborates on the recycling of industrial food waste as an alternative carbon source. All chapters are written by specialists in the regarding field.
Chapter 1 gives an introduction about green chemistry and bio-refinery. It starts with the definition of a bio-refinery and distinguishes clearly between biomass processing plants and bio-refineries. Furthermore it gives an overview which chemicals can be extracted from which food sources and its applications. It also describes the most promising green processes on transforming glycerol into high-quality products and by-products, like biodiesel.
Chapter 2, Food waste in the European Union, mostly gives facts and statistics about the current food waste in
Europe, seen from different points of view, like country,
sector or food group. In addition it compares the vision of the EU on the future with the situation now.
Chapter 3 starts with a comparison about biochemical and thermochemical breakdown of biomass into biofuel,
via pyrolysis. After this they divide thermochemical pyrolysis,
with regard to the heating source, into conventional and microwave pyrolysis. They elaborate about microwaves,
briefly touch plasma chemistry and finish with some recent research development examples.
In chapter 4 the authors describe the food waste conversion into products for the chemical industry, for instance soluble bio-based products (SBO) as biocatalysts or for waste-water treatment.
Chapter 5 is dedicated to (waste) starch. It describes what it is, what it can be used for and from which sources it can be obtained. Chapter 6 focusses on used cooking oil (UCO); its lifecycle, properties, use and re-use. It also looks into the main by-product obtained from oil refinery, glycerol and its applications.
In the final chapter, the industrial use of oil-cakes is described. The properties of oilseed proteins are depicted,
some processing techniques discussed and the properties of these protein-based materials reviewed.
Most of the chapters are written clearly and with passion though the intended audience seems to vary. Yet,
some chapters are quite specific about chemistry and physics while others purely state known facts. Most of the illustrations are clear and add value to the story, although some pictures look unprofessional due to poor quality.
It is a bit surprising, however, that the book opens with statements about the unfair division of food in the world, but only focusses on the transformation of food waste in Europe into biofuels and chemicals. Even within this focus, it would have been beneficial if the book would have been given more consistent with its views. This would have resulted in a more harmonious tale. However this is a well-known shortcoming of many edited books compiling views of many different authors. In this sense an overall view or conclusion from the editors would have made a fine epilogue. On the other hand, an advantage of is that every chapter starts with quite an elaborate introduction,
combining many useful knowledge.
The book gives an elaborate overview of the work done in this field and a lot of references are summarized.
Besides explaining many commonly used techniques and processes it also presents examples where these are applied for green chemistry. This book is particularly a good start for students or professionals who just started in this field and want to learn a variety of topics to get a good perspective.
Current Green Chemistry - György Keglevich
The target readership includes practitioners of green chemistry, process engineers, food chemists and technicians both in academia and industry. A considerable part of the book may form the basis of MSc and PhD courses.

Product Details

Royal Society of Chemistry, The
Publication date:
Green Chemistry Series , #24
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Economic Utilisation of Food Co-Products

By Abbas Kazmi, Peter Shuttleworth

The Royal Society of Chemistry

Copyright © 2013 The Royal Society of Chemistry
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-84973-732-6


Green Chemistry and the Biorefinery


University of York, York, UK

Email: sk_abbaskazmi@yahoo.com

1.1 Introduction to the Biorefinery Concept

The core component of all biorefinery definitions is the conversion of biomass into several products (materials, chemicals, energy, food and feed) and the integration of various technologies and processes in the most sustainable way. The definition developed by the International Energy Agency (IEA) Bioenergy Task 42 Biorefineries has been widely accepted due to its general and broad character:

"Biorefming is the sustainable processing of biomass into a spectrum of marketable products and energy"

This definition includes the following key words:

• biorefinery: concepts, facilities, processes, cluster of industries;

• sustainable: maximising economics, minimising environmental aspects, fossil-fuel replacement, socioeconomic aspects taken into account;

• processing: upstream processing, transformation, fractionation, thermo-chemical and/or biochemical conversion, extraction, separation, down stream processing;

• biomass: crops, organic residues, agroresidues, forest residues, wood, aquatic biomass;

• spectrum: more than one;

• marketable: a market (acceptable volumes and prices) already exists or is expected to be developed in the near future;

• products: both intermediates and final products, i.e. food, feed, materials, and chemicals;

• energy: fuels, power, heat.

Using biomass as a sustainable renewable resource is the only way to replace carbon from fossil sources for the production of the carbon-based products such as chemicals, materials and liquid fuels.

In order to be competitive with crude-oil-based products, an integrated biorefinery strategy has been developed to optimise the added value from biomass. This strategy is mainly based on the transfer of petroleum refineries logic to biomass (raw material fractionation, integration of mass and energy fluxes; integration of processes) in order to be able to produce a spectrum of products and therefore maximising the added value. The approach requires the valorisation of the whole biomass. In other words, a biorefinery concept is based on a zero-waste concept.

Moreover, the biorefinery concept goes beyond the petroleum refineries logic, as it includes the management of sustainability based on a cycle concept. This is obvious for renewable carbon at global scale. The cycle also concerns water and mineral nutrients at the local scale, especially nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK). Contrary to carbon, these elements have to be left on or reincorporated into the soil to avoid depletion, and thus the use of fossil-based fertilisers to compensate for that soil depletion. More generally, the biorefinery concept includes the management of all sustainability issues, including environmental, economic and societal factors.

According to the project Biorefinery Euroview, "Biorefineries could be described as integrated biobased industries using a variety of technologies to make products such as chemicals, biofuels, food and feed ingredients, biomaterials, fibres and heat and power, aiming at maximising the added value along the three pillars of sustainability (Environment, Economy and Society)".

All biorefineries are biomass-based industries, whereas not all biomass processing plants are biorefineries. It is important to clarify the respective differences in the next section, in order to understand the focus of this biorefinery vision document.

In conventional biomass processing plants, biomass is directly transformed (1st conversion) into a single main product (usually already marketable). In a biorefinery, however, raw products are firstly converted into intermediate products (1st conversion), which are partly or entirely preproducts. These are further processed (2nd conversion) to several end-products or semifinished goods by additional conversion and conditioning steps, predominantly at the same location.

The additional conversion and conditioning steps are carried out to achieve a better valorisation of biomass by transforming the raw product(s) as completely as possible into various value-added end-products.

For a better differentiation of biorefineries, the following listing provides examples of biomass processing plants that are not considered to be biorefineries;

• Plants for biomass conversion that convert the feedstock into one quantitatively dominating, marketable product directly after the primary refining step. Examples are biodiesel plants (main product: biodiesel) or agricultural biogas plants (main product: bioenergy, namely power and heat).

• Plants for biomass conversion that have no combined primary and secondary refining step at the same location. Examples are paper mills without connected pulp mills, separate fermentation plants or starch mills without connected conditioning processes.

• Plants for biomass conversion, where the biomass compounds are not separated, but unmodified or only slightly modified biomass is used or processed. Examples are wood-processing saw mills, or plants producing natural fibre insulation.

A 2030 vision for biorefineries was developed during the FP7 Star-Colibri project that involved European Technology Platforms, Industry Leaders and world-leading academic centres such as the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence (University of York). Although the work was done in great detail, summaries can be found of this and the 2020 research road map on the project website (www.star-colibri.eu/).

1.1.1 Integration with Existing Industrial Value Chains or Development of New Value Chains

In 2030 many biorefineries will operate at a large-scale commercial level. Most of these biorefineries will be developed based on the integration with existing industrial value chains (top-down approach).

Different biorefineries will be developed based on industrial specificities (sector types) or on geographical specificities (biomass type, quality and availability, infrastructure, presence of a certain industry, etc.). The choice of the technological options (processes, feedstocks, location and scale) within the biorefinery will be made by the industrial actors, based on their competitive advantages (available industrial equipment, technological and industrial know-how, access to biomass). Biorefinery development will be driven by the industrial leaders from sectors such as agroindustry, forest-based industry, energy sector (power and heat), (bio) fuels industry and chemicals.

However, another interesting development path for biorefineries is envisaged on the development of new industrial value chains (bottom-up approach). This refers to newly developed, highly integrated, zero waste sites to produce a broad variety of products for different markets from different, pretreated and preseparated (lignocellulosic) biomass fractions. Usually, the whole biomass crop is used (e.g. woody lignocellulose, grains and straw from cereals, green grass). In 2011 this approach is often still only operating at pilot or demonstration stage (e.g. a lignocellulosic biorefinery in Leuna, Germany). However, a lot of research and development will lead to implementation on a commercial scale in 2030. Preferably these biorefinery plants for new industrial value chains should be integrated in an already existing industrial park to profit from the infrastructure.

In any case, the sustainability and the competitiveness of the different value chains will always rely on a close collaboration within industry sectors and also on a high level of integration between the different production processes.

1.1.2 Biorefinery Scale

The choice of the optimal biorefinery scale has to accommodate the constraints that arise from logistics, production costs and processes. The chosen scale will have a major impact on the emergence of industrial biorefineries and their distribution;

• Large-scale integrated biorefineries, mainly based on thermochemical process, are likely to emerge in Northern Europe and/or in industrial harbours.

• Small/medium-scale integrated biorefineries, mainly based on biotech processes, are likely to emerge in rural areas in "mid" Europe (western, central and eastern Europe).

• Decentralised biorefineries will also emerge in both regions, based on the development of a network of pretreatment units.

As a consequence, the scale has a major impact on the technology choice and on the industrial strategies as it could limit the size of the production facilities (limited biomass quantity per industrial unit). Basically, three possibilities are offered:

• small/medium-sized production facility;

• medium-sized/large production facility linked to a network of decentralised biorefineries (biomass fractioning and/or concentrating units);

• very large production facility, located on industrial harbours with importation of biomass.

1.1.3 Biomass Supply: Harbour (Import of Biomass or Intermediates) or Rural (Locally Produced Biomass)

As a consequence of the biomass supply form, there will be not one but several biorefinery types in Europe, with a predominance of certain types according to the geographical biomass location.

• The biorefineries based on wood (locally produced biomass) are likely to be developed in Northern Europe or in dense forested area in "mid-Europe".

• The biorefineries based on classical agricultural crops (cereal, sugarbeets, oilseed crops) are likely to be developed in "mid-Europe".

• Biorefineries based on imported biomass will be established mainly in or very near to large harbours (like Rotterdam).

• The development of biorefineries in South Europe is more difficult to predict. It could be either connected to the area of industrial harbours or to (new) regional crops.

The BIOPOL (2009) project gave some predictions about the most likely regions for biorefinery development in connection to the biomass availability. The main conclusions were: "Western Europe has the best prospects for biorefinery development. It has: high agricultural yields, vast amounts of lignocellulosic agricultural side streams, considerable forestry and good possibilities to sell biorefinery side products. The countries in the East of Europe have good opportunities to improve agricultural yields. Thus, they could become interesting countries for biorefinery establishment. Northern Europe is currently a natural market leader of lignocellulosic biorefinery due to the presence of large forests."

1.1,4 Biorefinery Concepts in 2030

Some more traditional biorefinery concepts were already established on an industrial scale in 2011. They are based on an extension and/or on upgrading processes of existing industrial plants in the respective sectors. However, there will emerge other, newly developed biorefinery concepts that will be well established in 2030. In 2011, these biorefinery concepts were still only in the research, development or demonstration stage. For some of the following future biorefinery concepts the first pilot plants are being built in Europe in 2011. Starch and Sugar Biorefineries

Starch and sugar agroindustries have a long experience in starch fractioning and/or fermentation and distillation. They are therefore a perfect candidate to integrate biotech processes for first- and second-generation bioethanol and, in a second step, other fermentation products. Starting from production based on starch and sugar crops, the industrial units will progressively use lignocellulosic feedstocks and integrate fractionation processes. The first steps will be the integration into the supply chain of cereal straw and, in a second step, of dedicated lignocellulosic (mainly herbaceous) crops.

The integration scenario does not concern only biomass diversification but also the valorisation of side products of the lignocellulose deconstruction: lignin, C5-sugars from hemicellulose and C6-sugars mainly from cellulose. The utilisation of lignin as an energy source by cogeneration will be progressively replaced by the development of new chemistry based on lignin. The ethanol production from C5-sugars, on account of the poor conversion yield, will be replaced by the development of a new C5-chemistry (by biotech and/or chemical processes) to produce higher-value chemicals (2020–2025 horizon). The ethanol production from C6-sugars will be progressively replaced by new fermentation processes and the production of higher-value chemicals. This development is likely to occur several years after the C5 switch (2025–2030) as the bioethanol European market will still be growing until this period.

The required biomass quantities per biorefinery are in the range of 200 to 400 kt/year of dry biomass, which enables reliance on a local production area, and the integration of the management of sustainability parameters in the production chain (carbon sequestration, nitrogen and other mineral nutrients cycles).

This will lead to the development of small/medium-scale rural biorefineries close to the agricultural production areas producing the required biomass. These rural 'starch and sugar' biorefineries will be implanted in the most efficient production and supply areas. Ideal localisation will be "mid-Europe" (from West to East Europe). Oilseed Biorefineries

The oilseed agroindustry will develop different strategies. Today, it focuses on first-generation biodiesel and the development of the oilseed-based biorefineries could involve the integration of the glycerol valorisation and the development of a glycerol-based chemistry. However, the main evolution of these biorefineries will be based on the development of a new oleochemistry, based on long-chain fatty acids from European oilseeds (mainly rapeseed and sunflower) and the progressive integration of oleochemical processes into the biodiesel production chain. Moreover, this shift will be supported by the evolution of biofuels production in Europe and the relative decrease of first-generation biodiesel on account of its low energy efficiency per surface unit. Forest-Based (Pulp and Paper) Biorefineries

The forest-based (pulp and paper) industry is located close to the main forest areas in Europe (mainly in Northern Europe). The industry has a long experience of woody and lignocellulosic biomass logistic. Wood and pulp byproducts (such as bark) are relatively dry biomass and are therefore well suited for new thermochemical conversion processes such as gasification. The industry is therefore a good candidate to integrate advanced second generation biofuels production and/or chemicals production from syngas {e.g. DME). The industry has also access to a huge amount of lignin, which is currently mainly used for combustion to produce bioenergy. Higher added-value chemicals will be obtained by integrating a chemical valorisation within forest-based biorefineries, particularly focusing on black liquor. Biofuel-Driven Biorefineries

In 2011, there is no industry in Europe yet that has biorefineries using gasification in combination with the Fischer–Tropsch process to produce liquid second-generation biofuels. Since huge investments are needed to set up a large-scale industrial unit, the best candidates will be either energy companies or traditional oil companies, because of the infrastructure availability and the economy of scale. In 2030 oil companies will have installed large-scale biorefineries based on thermochemical process into their existing oil refineries located in the main European harbours. The required biomass (wood, forest residues, dedicated lignocellulosic crops or urban wastes) will be imported and also collected locally. Another interest of the traditional oil companies will be the utilisation of hydrogen from syngas as a source for hydrogenation of heavy crude oil. The gasification units will also be used to produce higher-value chemicals by catalysis processes. Green Biorefinery

A Green Biorefinery processes wet biomass, such as grass, clover, lucerne and alfalfa (BIOPOL, 2009). The wet biomass is pressed to obtain two separate products: fibre-rich press juice and nutrient-rich press cake. The press cake fibres can be utilised as green feed pellets or as a raw material for chemicals. The press juice contains valuable compounds, such as proteins, free amino acids, organic acids, minerals, hormones and enzymes. Lactic acid and its derivatives as well as ethanol, proteins and amino acids are the most favourable end-products from press juice. The bio-organic residues in press juice are mainly used to produce biogas with subsequent generation of heat and electricity.

An example in 2011 of a pilot of this future biorefinery concept is the production and demonstration plant of the Biowert GmbH in Brensbach, Germany, where insulating material, reinforced composites for production of plastics and biogas for heat and power are generated from grass in an integrative process. In 2030 many of these smaller-scale Green Biorefineries will be established in regions that traditionally produce high quantities of wet biomass (like grassland areas). Future Lignocellulosic Biorefineries

The lignocellulosic biorefinery concept based on dry biomass is not only applicable for previously described pulping process. Two different approaches can be distinguished in 2030 for the lignocellulosic biorefinery: thermochemical and biochemical.

The thermochemical approach is based on gasification of lignocellulosic feedstocks, and further processing the syngas to transportation fuels and chemicals. Many different biomass types are taken into consideration as raw material for this type of lignocellulosic biorefinery concept: dry agricultural residues (e.g. straw, peelings, husks), wood, woody biomass, and biogenic residues (e.g. waste paper, lignin).


Excerpted from The Economic Utilisation of Food Co-Products by Abbas Kazmi, Peter Shuttleworth. Copyright © 2013 The Royal Society of Chemistry. Excerpted by permission of The Royal Society of Chemistry.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author

Project Manager of Sustoil, a project led by the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence based at the University of York, UK, from 2008-2010.

Project Manager of Sustoil, a project led by the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence based at the University of York, UK, from 2008-2010.

CSIC, Spain

James H Clark is Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence, The University of York, UK. He has led the green chemistry movement in Europe for the last 15 years and was the first scientific editor of the journal Green Chemistry and is Editor-in-chief of the RSC Green Chemistry book series.

CSIC, Spain

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