Efficiency of a novel « Food to waste to food » system including anaerobic digestion of food waste and cultivation of vegetables on digestate in a bubble-insulated greenhouse.
Sommaire de l'article
At urban locations certain challenges are concentrated: organic waste production, the need for waste treatment, energy demand, food demand, the need for circular economy and limited area for food production. Based on these factors the project presented here developed a novel technological approach for processing organic waste into new food. In this system, organic waste is converted into biogas and digester residue. The digester residue is being used successfully as a stand-alone fertilizer as well as main substrate component for vegetables and mushrooms for the first time – a "digeponics" system – in a closed new low energy greenhouse system with dynamic soap bubble insulation. Biogas production provides energy for the process and CO2 for the greenhouse. With very limited land use highly efficient resource recycling was established at pilot scale. In the research project it was proven that a low energy dynamic bubble insulated greenhouse can be operated continuously with 80% energy demand reduction compared to conventional greenhouses. Commercial crop yields were achieved based on fertilization with digestate; in individual cases they were even higher than the control yields of vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumber and lettuce among others. For the first time an efficient direct use of digestate as substrate and fertilizer has been developed and demonstrated.