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Biosurfactant platform planned

Waste2Func, a European BBI-JU funded project, has been granted €6.7 million to build a technology platform. This will collect food waste from agriculture, food manufacturing, supermarkets, auctions and restaurants, and convert it via fermentation and purification into lactic acid and biosurfactants with applications in cosmetics, personal care and household care products. The project began in June 2021 and will end in November 2024, with a total budget of €13.965 million.

The platform is expected decrease CO2 emissions by at least 20% and increase value from waste two- to tenfold. Croda and Evonik, which will both look into the use of waste-based microbial biosurfactants in their products, are among the 12 partners from five countries involved.

The technology being used was developed by TripleW, an Israeli-Belgian SME, and Ghent University, together with the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant, which is also in Belgium. Waste2Func will seek to build a logistic platform to collect the waste and will demonstrate the conversion technology.

The Bio Base Europe Pilot plant, also in Ghent, will focus on optimising the biosurfactant fermentation and purification processes towards industrial scale manufacture. Next, it will scale up the lactic acid and biosurfactant processes. The ultimate goal is to understand the potential of establishing a biorefinery to make functional molecules from the waste in a sustainable and profitable way.

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