Aquatic Systems

Aquaculture and circular bioeconomy: Balanced & Circular pond feeds in Central European fishponds

Koushik Roy
In this insightful presentation, Koushik Roy delves into the transformative practices reshaping aquaculture in Central Europe, with a particular focus on the innovative use of fishponds. Highlighting success stories from the Czech Republic, Roy explains how these ponds, traditionally known for their resilience and circular nature, are now at the forefront of sustainable aquaculture and bioeconomy. Central European fishponds are being revolutionized through a bioeconomic approach that emphasizes the use of circular feeds and efficient resource utilization. The presentation outlines the critical understanding of pond dynamics, especially the seasonal changes in nutrient availability and fish feeding patterns. He introduces a novel feeding concept where the ponds are fed not just to nourish the fish but to enhance the entire ecosystem. This involves a strategic addition of carbohydrates, fibers, proteins, and energy at different times of the season to optimize the natural food cycle and promote a balanced growth of aquatic life. The presentation details the development and testing of specific feed formulations composed of locally sourced, circular ingredients. These feeds are designed to complement the natural diet of fish, ensuring better protein utilization and a reduced ecological footprint. The presentation emphasizes the importance of creating feeds that are not only nutritionally complete but also environmentally sustainable, with careful consideration of factors like phosphorus content to avoid ecosystem disruption. Results from trials demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach, showing significant improvements in fish yield and nutrient efficiency. The approach also aligns with the broader goals of bioeconomy, as it promotes the reduction of waste, enhances nutrient recycling, and contributes to a more sustainable food production system. Koushik Roy concludes the presentation by stressing the potential of this approach to transform aquaculture practices in Central Europe and beyond. He extends an invitation for collaboration and knowledge exchange to further advance the field of sustainable aquaculture and bioeconomy. Listeners are encouraged to access additional resources and detailed information through provided QR codes and to engage with the ongoing projects and networks that are pioneering these innovative practices in the Czech Republic and other regions.

Status and Perspective of Algal Technology

Robert Reinhardt and Maja Berden Zrimec
The presentation provides an extensive exploration of algal technologies, delving into the potential, challenges, and pragmatic outlook of large-scale algal cultivation. It commences with an examination of the diversity within the algal species, encompassing both eukaryotic and prokaryotic types, including microalgae and macroalgae, and their broad applications ranging from biofuels to high-protein food sources. The presentation underscores the notable protein content and environmental sustainability of algae as an alternative to animal protein. A substantial segment of the presentation is devoted to the transition from lab-scale algal growth to pilot and extensive production. It underlines the marked discrepancies between controlled lab environments and real-world conditions. Principal challenges in large-scale cultivation involve light penetration, thermal management, purity of culture media, oxygen management, predator deterrence, and the creation of a stable and sanitized environment for algae growth. One of the pivotal challenges discussed pertains to harvesting, which entails moving vast volumes of water to collect a modest mass of algae. The presentation describes diverse techniques like sedimentation, flotation, and filtration, each necessitating a customized approach contingent on the algal species being cultivated. Another notable challenge is the dewatering process, pivotal for generating consumable algae products. This process must be efficient and rapid to maintain the quality of the algal biomass. The presentation also acknowledges the economic aspect, noting that while high-quality algal biomass can be produced, its cost remains significantly elevated compared to traditional commodity crops, partly due to the absence of subsidies for algal production. While the presentation recognizes the immense potential of algae across various sectors, it offers a realistic perspective on the challenges and economic factors that need to be addressed in large-scale algal cultivation. It illuminates the necessity for ongoing innovation and development in the domain to render algal technologies a feasible and sustainable choice for the future.

IMTA, a circulatory approach to aquaculture

Erik-jan Malta
The presentation offers an insightful exploration of Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA), positioning it as a pivotal solution to the escalating global food demand in the face of resource constraints. It sheds light on the environmental and economic challenges plaguing conventional aquaculture and fisheries, introducing IMTA as a groundbreaking approach that harmonizes different trophic levels (carnivores, herbivores, primary producers, etc.) within the production cycle. Key Points: 1. Global Food Challenge: The presentation highlights the urgency of developing sustainable food production systems against the backdrop of a rapidly growing global population and diminishing natural resources. It points out the insufficiency of traditional agriculture and overexploited fisheries in meeting the future food requirements. 2. IMTA as a Solution: IMTA is portrayed as a sustainable method that optimizes resource utilization by incorporating diverse species across various trophic levels. This system ensures the transformation of waste products from one species into valuable inputs (feed or nutrients) for another, thus enhancing resource efficiency and minimizing environmental footprints. 3. Nutrient Dynamics in Aquaculture: The inefficiencies in nutrient usage within conventional aquaculture, where a substantial portion of feed nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) is lost as waste, are discussed. IMTA addresses this issue by facilitating the recycling and utilization of these nutrients by other species within the ecosystem. 4. Circularity in IMTA: The concept of circularity in IMTA is centered on nutrient recycling within the production cycle. While true circularity encompasses the entire value chain, encompassing feed production and processing, IMTA primarily focuses on the production phase. Different methodologies for assessing nutrient use efficiency in IMTA systems are introduced, ranging from straightforward mass balance models to intricate flux models and tracer techniques. 5. Commercial Uptake and Challenges: Despite its potential, the commercial implementation of IMTA faces several hurdles, including the necessity for vertical integration among businesses specializing in different species and the development of spatial planning strategies to ensure nutrient recycling without triggering environmental concerns, such as eutrophication. 6. Diverse Applications and Examples: Various instances of IMTA systems are presented, from open sea configurations involving fish, shellfish, and seaweed to land-based setups integrating fish with algae or plants. The adaptability of IMTA systems to different environments and scales is underscored. 7. Educational Resources: The availability of an online course on IMTA, developed under the INTEGRATE project and accessible through their YouTube channel, is mentioned. This course aims to spread knowledge and encourage the adoption of IMTA practices. The presentation advocates for the adoption of Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture as a means to achieve sustainable and circular aquaculture practices, addressing environmental concerns and the imperative for heightened food production. It underscores the importance of collaboration, innovation, and education as crucial elements in propelling IMTA forward and sustainably meeting the global food demands of the future.

Microalgae related processes for nutrients recovery from wastes

Gabriel Acien
The presentation delves into the promising prospects of microalgae-based processes for nutrient recovery from diverse waste streams and the subsequent production of biomass. It highlights the pivotal role these processes play in addressing environmental issues and fostering sustainability. Key Points: 1. Diverse Waste Streams: The presentation emphasizes the variety of effluents, including wastewater and agricultural runoff, rich in organic matter, nitrogen, phosphorus, and total solids. The primary challenge involves tailoring the composition of these effluents to align with the nutritional demands of microalgae cultivation, especially concerning nitrogen and phosphorus levels. 2. Consortium of Microalgae and Bacteria: The effluent treatment process is a synergistic effort between microalgae and bacteria. This collaboration is instrumental in driving crucial functions like carbon fixation, oxygen production, denitrification, and nitrification, which are integral to effective nutrient recovery. 3. Large-scale Operation and Resilience: Examples of large-scale continuous reactors functioning under real-life conditions are showcased, illustrating the robustness of these systems against environmental fluctuations. These reactors are proficient in processing significant volumes of wastewater daily, generating purified water and biomass. 4. Commercial Viability and Sustainability: The presentation points out the successful commercial operations of facilities in Spain, where reactors efficiently treat wastewater. It underscores the technology’s practicality and reliability, noting substantial energy savings in comparison to conventional wastewater treatment methods and the generation of commercially valuable biomass. 5. Innovative Approaches for Nutrient Recovery: Innovative techniques for nutrient recovery from agricultural runoff are introduced, stressing the importance of proximity to nutrient sources. These systems hold the potential to yield biofertilizers, biostimulants, and other high-value products. 6. Validation of Water Quality for Irrigation: Collaborative efforts with agricultural faculties have confirmed the suitability of water treated through these processes for irrigation purposes. Such validation is evidenced by enhanced crop productivity and health. 7. Final Thoughts: The presentation concludes by reaffirming the commercial readiness of microalgae-based technologies. It accentuates their versatility in treating various effluents, fostering sustainability, and making significant contributions to the bioeconomy. The presentation effectively showcases the potential of microalgae processes as a sustainable avenue for nutrient recovery and biomass production, underscoring its critical role in advancing environmental sustainability and the circular economy within the broader context of bioeconomy.

Microalgae-based biogas upgrading: a sustainability driven technology

Raul Muñoz Torre
The presentation delves into the potential of microalgae-bacteria processes in purifying biogas and transforming it into biomethane, highlighting the significant global and particularly European interest in biogas production. It underscores the need for innovative and environmentally friendly technologies, especially for small to medium-scale plants. Key Points: 1. Biogas Production Trends: The presentation provides an overview of the global and European biogas production landscape, noting the increase in biogas plants and the volume of biomethane produced. It references advancements in purification technologies, including membrane separation and pressure swing adsorption. 2. Technology for Biogas Purification: The technology introduced involves microalgae-bacteria processes where biogas, primarily composed of methane and carbon dioxide, is fed into a photobioreactor. The carbon dioxide is fixed by microalgae, resulting in oxygen production, which bacteria utilize to oxidize hydrogen sulfide into elemental sulfur. This process yields purified biomethane and algae biomass, which may be used as bioenergy feedstock or biofertilizer. 3. Operational Parameters and Scalability: Key operational parameters like the liquid-to-gas ratio and pH are discussed. The presentation describes the technology’s scalability from laboratory scale to semi-industrial scale, highlighting its efficiency in nutrient recovery and robustness. 4. Environmental and Economic Benefits: It points out the environmental advantages, such as lower energy consumption and reduced greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional methods. The potential economic benefits due to lower operational costs are also highlighted. 5. Future Perspectives: The presentation concludes by focusing on the promising future of microalgae-bacteria processes in biogas purification, suggesting that with further refinement, this technology can offer a sustainable and economically viable solution for biogas purification across various scales. The presentation provides insight into the innovative use of microalgae-bacteria processes for biogas purification, showcasing the technology’s environmental benefits and promising economic prospects, marking a significant stride towards sustainable and efficient energy production.

Algae Biomass and Value Chains

Vítor Verdelho
The presentation offers an insightful overview of algae biomass and its diverse value chains, focusing on the complexity and vast potential of algae, including both microalgae and macroalgae (seaweeds). It explores their various applications across multiple industries. Key Points: 1. Defining Algae: The broad categorization of algae, encompassing both microalgae and macroalgae, is clarified. The presentation highlights the significant diversity within these groups and advises against generalizing their applications or benefits due to their varied characteristics. 2. Industry Status: An overview of the algae industry is provided, illustrating the scale of biomass production globally. It’s noted that despite the existence of thousands of algae species, only a few are cultivated on a large scale. 3. Product Types: Three main product types derived from algae are outlined: paste (which may be wet or frozen), dried biomass, and extracts. Each product type has distinct processing requirements and market applications. 4. Market Applications: The potential applications of algae products are vast, spanning across eight broad categories, including food, animal feed, cosmetics, biofertilizers, bioenergy, pollution control, bioplastics, and pharmaceuticals. 5. Value Chain Analysis: The concept of value chains in the algae industry is explained, emphasizing the increase in product value from primary production to end-user applications. The distinction is made between the product value chain (from production to processing) and the business value chain (from market positioning to final application). 6. Importance of Value Chain Positioning: The significance of positioning in the value chain is underlined. Products increase in value as they move from the production stage to the final application, highlighting the importance of understanding and navigating through these stages effectively. The presentation brings to light the complexities and vast potential of the algae industry, stressing the importance of recognizing the diversity within algae species and understanding the value chain dynamics to fully harness the potential of algae biomass in various sectors.

Sustainability in Aquaculture

Irena Fonda
The presentation delivers an in-depth overview of sustainable aquaculture, drawing from firsthand experience in running a family fish farm. It emphasizes the importance of sustainability in the seafood industry and shares the innovative approaches adopted by the farm. Key Points: 1. Family Legacy in Aquaculture: The legacy of the family in aquaculture is introduced, including the establishment of their brand, which emphasizes quality and sustainability. This brand has received significant media attention and recognition, becoming a well-respected name in the industry. 2. Key Trends in Aquaculture: The presentation highlights critical aspects of sustainable aquaculture, including the need to reduce antibiotic usage, address environmental degradation, manage nutrient feeds more effectively, and minimize the impact on wild gene pools. 3. Evolution of Aquaculture Systems: The evolution of aquaculture systems is discussed, transitioning from traditional wooden cages to modern steel cages, and shifting towards more technologically advanced and sustainable practices, including offshore farming and improved feed systems. 4. Importance of Molluscs: The significant role of molluscs, particularly mussels, in sustainable aquaculture is pointed out. Mussels do not require feed or fertilizers and have minimal environmental impact, making them an ideal choice for sustainable farming. 5. Aquaculture and Biodiversity: The farm focuses on creating an environment that not only farms fish but also enhances biodiversity. Their underwater structures serve as habitats for various marine species, demonstrating a commitment to environmental stewardship. 6. Future Endeavors in Aquaculture: The presentation outlines future plans, including developing pilot systems for researching and farming species not yet known for aquaculture. The aim is to create self-sustaining ecosystems that contribute positively to biodiversity and offer new aquaculture opportunities. 7. Educational Initiatives for Sustainability: The importance of education in promoting sustainability is recognized, mentioning the establishment of educational initiatives. These aim to involve the public and the younger generation in understanding and supporting sustainable aquaculture practices. The presentation illuminates the principles of sustainable aquaculture and the innovative approaches adopted by the family farm to promote environmental stewardship, biodiversity, and quality seafood production. The initiatives and future plans discussed underscore the importance of sustainability in the aquaculture industry.

Sustainable local aquaculture by PUSTELNIA

Anna Pyć
The presentation offers insights into sustainable local agriculture, focusing on the experience with the Pustelnia fish farm, which specializes in carp and trout farming. It underscores the integral role of agriculture in the local ecosystem and the importance of sustainable practices. Key Points: 1. Pustelnia Fish Farm Overview: The farm is introduced as deeply rooted in the local area, with a history dating back to the 19th century. It is dedicated to carp and trout farming, complementing natural fish production with grain sourced from local farmers, highlighting the farm’s commitment to sustainability and community support. 2. Ecosystem-Based Approach to Farming: The farm’s operations are intricately linked with the local ecosystem, providing a habitat for a diverse range of animals and plants that thrive in water environments. The maintenance of these water bodies for fish farming plays a crucial role in supporting local biodiversity. 3. Local Market Integration: Differing from many fish farms that supply large processing plants, this farm focuses on the local market, delivering fresh fish directly to nearby restaurants and shops. The farm also operates its own shop and restaurant, prioritizing the freshness and quality of their fish. 4. Adaptation and Innovation during COVID-19: In response to the pandemic, the farm introduced mobile shops to ensure continuous delivery of fresh fish to local communities, thereby overcoming the challenges posed by COVID-19 and maintaining a steady supply of diverse fish products. 5. Future Potential and Vision: There is seen potential in offering innovative, fresh, and locally farmed fish products to the market. While the farm does not intend to intensify production, there are opportunities to add value through innovative products and serve appealing and healthy fish dishes in their restaurant and other outlets. In conclusion, the presentation highlights the sustainable practices of the Pustelnia fish farm, showcasing its dedication to the local ecosystem and community. With an approach that is harmoniously integrated with nature and focused on delivering fresh, high-quality products, the farm exemplifies sustainable local agriculture.

Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant - biorefinery valorisation of aquaculture biomass

Tanja Meyer
The presentation revolves around the biorefinery concept, with a particular focus on the utilization of aquatic biomass. It draws parallels between traditional oil refineries and biorefineries, highlighting the sustainable approach of using biomass as feedstock. Key Points: 1. Biorefinery Concept: Similar to traditional refineries, biorefineries process various forms of biomass instead of oil or fossil-based materials. This includes diverse sources of biomass, particularly underutilized aquatic biomass like algae. 2. Industrial Biotechnology (White Biotechnology): This field involves leveraging microorganisms or their components (such as bacteria, yeast, fungi) to produce industrial products, chemicals, materials, and fuels in a more sustainable manner than conventional chemical processes. 3. BBEPP – An Open Access Pilot Facility: The Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant (BBEPP) is presented as an independent open access pilot facility focusing on process development, scale-up, and custom manufacturing of bio-based products and processes. BBEPP helps bridge the lab-scale research to industrial production gap, known as the ‘valley of death’, by providing shared infrastructure to minimize risks and costs associated with scale-up. 4. Project CircAlgae: The presentation introduces the CircAlgae project, aiming to valorize industrial waste streams into high-value products and promote sustainable biorefineries in Europe. The project specifically targets underutilized biomass from aquatic sources to derive valuable ingredients for the food, feed, and cosmetics industries. 5. Technologies and Services: A range of technologies and services provided by BBEPP is showcased, including biocatalysis, fermentation, green chemistry, and more. The facility’s ability to convert various feedstocks, including aquatic biomass, into high-value products is emphasized. 6. Conclusion and Outreach: The presentation concludes by highlighting the facility’s contributions and inviting the audience to explore their YouTube channel for educational content about their work in biorefinery. In summary, the presentation sheds light on the potential of biorefineries to convert biomass, especially from aquatic sources, into a wide array of sustainable and high-value products. Facilities like BBEPP are instrumental in scaling up biotechnological innovations, fostering a more sustainable and bio-based economy.

Microalgae as part of the circular economy - An introduction to the ALG-AD project

Carole Llewellyn
The presentation centers on the ALG-AD Project, a collaborative initiative spanning the UK, France, and Belgium, financially backed by EU Interreg North-West Europe. The project’s core objective was to employ digestate from anaerobic digesters as a medium to cultivate microalgae, opening up fresh market possibilities while tackling the issue of surplus digestate leading to pollution. Key Points: 1. Circular Economy Model: The initiative aligns with a circular economy model by utilizing agricultural waste in anaerobic digestion processes, generating digestate enriched with nitrogen and phosphorus. This by-product then serves as a nutrient source for cultivating microalgae, which can subsequently be transformed into sustainable animal feed or other high-value commodities. 2. Project Objectives: The endeavor sought to carve out new market niches by converting liquid digestate into valuable biomass. Emphasis was placed on producing sustainable feed for animals and fish and extracting valuable compounds from microalgae. 3. Pilot Facilities: The project established three pilot facilities across the UK, France, and Belgium. Each site experimented with different species of microalgae and embraced varied cultivation techniques, including autotrophic and mixotrophic methods. 4. Microalgae Analysis and Trials: A comprehensive analysis of microalgae cultivated under varied conditions was undertaken, examining differences in protein and lipid compositions. The project incorporated trials for piglet and fish feed, assessing the effects of microalgae-enriched feed on animal health and well-being. 5. Decision Support Tools: The initiative developed decision-making tools to guide interested stakeholders in adopting this technology. This included mapping out anaerobic digestion plants and formulating best practice protocols for microalgae cultivation and application. 6. Outcomes and Resources: The project yielded an array of publications, reports, and guidelines advocating best practices. These materials are accessible on the project’s website, serving as a treasure trove of information for the broader community invested in sustainable methodologies involving microalgae. In essence, the presentation underscores the ALG-AD project’s pioneering strategy in utilizing anaerobic digestate for microalgae cultivation. This approach not only contributes to the circular economy but also paves the way for novel market opportunities in the realm of sustainable animal and fish feed. Moreover, the project addresses ecological concerns while offering tangible tools and directives for future ventures in this domain.

Locality: Nature-positive algae-based food, agriculture, aquaculture and textile products made in North and Baltic Sea ecosystems

Margarida Costa
The presentation delves into the Locality project, a forward-thinking initiative focusing on establishing circular and sustainable value chains. The project harnesses waste by-products from various industries to cultivate microalgae, concentrating on regions where aquaculture, agriculture, and textiles are vital economic sectors. The primary aim is to forge algae-based products tailored for these markets while safeguarding and rejuvenating aquatic ecosystems. Key Points: 1. Project Objectives: The Locality project is committed to fostering collaborative efforts among industries for effective waste management, encouraging the joint creation of new algae-based products, and maintaining minimal emissions throughout the entire value chain. 2. Algae Cultivation: At the heart of the project is the cultivation of microalgae utilizing waste by-products from industries linked to aquaculture, agriculture, and textiles. The generated algae biomass is earmarked for the creation of market-ready products. 3. Market Penetration: The project’s goal is to introduce groundbreaking algae-based products into the textile, agriculture (bio-stimulants and fertilizers), and food sectors. This encompasses crafting alternatives for protein sources like egg substitutes, fish and meat alternatives, and nutritional supplements for the food industry. 4. Consortium Composition: The project is steered by a consortium consisting of 28 diverse partners, spanning industry stakeholders, research entities, and business collaborators. The consortium’s focus lies in research, development, and the commercial aspects, guaranteeing the successful market launch of the developed products. 5. Circular Economy Model: The project champions a circular economy model by converting waste from industries into valuable resources, thereby circumventing additional waste treatment costs. By integrating algae cultivation, the project aims not only to treat wastewater but also to valorize it into novel products. 6. Progress Update: Currently, the project is in the phase of wastewater analysis and algae biomass production. The findings from the upcoming months are set to lay the groundwork for product development in the subsequent phase. The presentation spotlights the Locality project’s dedication to promoting sustainable and circular value chains in pivotal industries like aquaculture, agriculture, and textiles. Through leveraging waste streams for microalgae cultivation and pioneering algae-based products, the project is making significant strides towards environmental sustainability and unlocking new market potentials.

Innovative hybrid INTensive – EXTensive resource recovery from wastewater in small communities

Ivan Blanco
The speaker is a leading international water service provider, presents their cutting-edge approach to wastewater treatment, concentrating on solutions tailored for small communities. He emphasizes the company’s dedication to research in biomass harvesting and algae-based solutions, particularly in wastewater treatment contexts. Key Points: 1. Company Profile: Aqualia stands out in the water service sector, catering to about 44 million people globally and earning the title of Water Company of the Year 2023. Despite its large scale, Aqualia commits to delivering wastewater treatment solutions suitable for small communities and collaborates closely with small and medium-sized enterprises. 2. INTEXT Platform Introduction: Near Madrid, Aqualia operates the Life INTEXT platform, designed to bridge the divide between energy-intensive technologies and costly methods requiring substantial surface areas. Positioned within a wastewater treatment facility, the platform exhibits a spectrum of technologies, including hybrid systems for wastewater treatment and biomass harvesting. 3. Collaborative Efforts: The project thrives on a consortium model, incorporating partners, research institutions, and small to medium enterprises, all joining forces to pioneer algae-based solutions for wastewater treatment. 4. Diverse Technological Offerings: The INTEXT platform showcases up to 16 distinct technologies, offering an expansive perspective on treatment options. This comprehensive platform acts as a valuable guide for municipalities to comprehend the processes and contemplate their implementation at the local level. 5. Technological Highlights: The presentation underscores various innovative technologies such as high-rate algae ponds, floating wetlands, and hybrid setups that merge algae ponds with vertical flow wetlands for fine-tuning. The platform also benchmarks these against more traditional systems to facilitate comparison and performance assessment. 6. Invitation for Exploration: Ivan Blanco welcomes interested parties to visit the facility and directly engage with the diverse treatment systems. He underscores the opportunity to benchmark efficiencies, grasp operational and maintenance demands, and acquire deeper insights into a spectrum of wastewater treatment solutions. Ivan Blanco’s presentation underlines Aqualia’s commitment to pioneering wastewater treatment solutions, with a particular focus on small communities. Through the INTEXT platform, the company is at the forefront of exploring and deploying various technologies, enhancing understanding of wastewater treatment methodologies, and nurturing collaborative efforts in the domain.

Opportunities for Aquaculture in Circular Economy

Ana Gavrilović
The presentation delves into the integration of aquaculture within the European Union’s circular economy and bioeconomy strategies. It is meticulously structured around EU policies and their influence on funding opportunities for sustainable aquaculture practices. Key Points: 1. EU Missions and Policies: The presentation introduces five EU missions dedicated to providing tangible solutions by 2030, encompassing missions centered on restoring oceans and waters, adapting to climate change, and realizing a climate-neutral and smart city. The significance of these missions in molding project calls and funding opportunities is emphasized. 2. Aquaculture’s Significance: The rapid expansion of aquaculture, recognized as the fastest-growing food production sector, is highlighted. The challenges accompanying this growth, such as water and land limitations, environmental impacts, and the necessity for technological innovations in farming, are underscored. 3. Sustainable Aquaculture Practices: The presentation underscores the criticality of sustainable practices in aquaculture, discussing various production methods, including traditional technologies, recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), and aquaponics, which synergize fish farming with plant cultivation. 4. Aquaculture in the Circular Economy: Details on how aquaculture waste can be repurposed in a circular economy are provided, showcasing the conversion of waste into valuable by-products, such as biogas or compost. The potential for harnessing aquaculture wastewater for algae cultivation, further enhancing sustainability, is also suggested. 5. EU Funding Opportunities: Resources and links are furnished, guiding participants to explore EU funding avenues related to aquaculture and the circular economy. The formation of partnerships and consortia to capitalize on these opportunities is encouraged. 6. Engagement with EU Missions: Insights on how stakeholders can actively participate in EU missions, endorse mission charters, and partake in cross-basin projects to tackle challenges associated with oceans, waters, and climate change are shared. The presentation maps out the synergy of aquaculture with the EU’s circular economy and bioeconomy strategies. It accentuates the sector’s growth, its sustainability challenges, and prospective remedies, alongside offering valuable resources for stakeholders keen on accessing EU funding and support for sustainable aquaculture initiatives.

Sustainable agriculture: integration of algae in agricultural biomethane plants to produce biostimulants

Valeria Mezzanote
The presentation focuses on the integration of microalgae into sustainable agricultural practices, emphasizing the potential of these organisms in transforming waste into valuable resources and contributing to the circular and bioeconomy. It addresses the economic and environmental challenges of microalgae cultivation, particularly in regions with less optimal weather conditions for growth. Key Points: 1. Characteristics of Microalgae: Microalgae are versatile organisms capable of operating autotrophically, mixotrophically, or heterotrophically. They play a crucial role in nutrient removal and can produce valuable molecules for a range of industries. 2. Economic Sustainability of Cultivation: Cultivating microalgae can be economically challenging, especially in areas with unfavorable weather. However, using waste as a growth medium, optimizing biomass productivity, and focusing on high-value end products can enhance the cost-effectiveness of cultivation. 3. Integration in Agriculture: The presentation outlines how microalgae can be integrated into agriculture by utilizing agri-food byproducts and the liquid fraction of digestate as nutrient-rich substrates for their growth. 4. Project Overview: The presentation describes a project aimed at integrating microalgae cultivation in agricultural setups. The project’s strategy involves producing biogas and biomethane from agri-food waste and utilizing the resulting liquid digestate for cultivating microalgae. The ultimate goal is to produce biofertilizers and foster a circular economy model. 5. Cultivation Approach: The approach includes gradual acclimation of algae to the digestate, cultivation in photobioreactors under controlled conditions, and use of raceway ponds. Maintaining the culture’s purity is emphasized to ensure consistent quality for biofertilizer production. 6. Encouraging Results: Initial results demonstrate promising growth rates and nutrient removal efficiencies. The project successfully cultivates microalgae using digestate, and ongoing work aims to test the bioactivity of the produced biomass. The presentation highlights the potential of microalgae in sustainable agriculture by utilizing waste streams as a valuable resource. The described project serves as an example of how microalgae can be integrated into agricultural practices, promoting principles of a circular economy, and developing valuable products like biofertilizers.

EU regulation and standardisation for the algal sector

Silvio Mangini
The presentation delves into the regulatory and standardization landscape for the algal sector, highlighting the distinction between scientific, economic, and practical classifications of algae. It emphasizes the importance of understanding these classifications to navigate the complex web of European regulations and standards that govern the algal sector. Key Points: 1. Classification of Algae: Algae are classified differently for scientific, economic, and practical purposes. For regulatory, scientific, commercial, and production purposes, algae are considered a functional group of organisms, including microalgae, seaweed, cyanobacteria, and some heterotrophic organisms. 2. European Regulations: Algae are mentioned in over 2000 European texts, with key regulations covering aquatic organism health, water environment, and trade. The presentation highlights specific regulations like the Invasive Alien Species Regulation and the European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy, which have direct implications for the algal sector. 3. Product Classification: For product classification, algae are included in the customs classification with oilseeds, cereals, and other vegetable products. The statistical classification for production activity differentiates between agriculture and aquaculture, with further distinctions for freshwater and marine sectors. 4. Novel Food Regulations: The presentation discusses the impact of the Novel Food Regulation on algae, explaining the criteria for determining whether a product is considered novel. It outlines the process for food business operators to consult with authorities and potentially gain authorization to market their algal products. 5. Standards and Technical Documents: Various standards and technical documents underpin European legislation for algae. These standards provide requirements and guidelines for businesses, ensuring quality and consistency in the market. The presentation mentions standards from European standardization bodies, FAO, and private standards, highlighting their role in supporting legislation and promoting best practices. 6. Future Developments and Challenges: The presentation acknowledges the need for specific rules for certain challenges, such as issues with cyanobacteria. It advocates for targeted regulation only when necessary, to avoid imposing additional constraints on stakeholders. The availability of standards for various applications, including food, fuel, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals, is also highlighted. In summary, the presentation provides a comprehensive overview of the regulatory and standardization environment for the algal sector, underlining the importance of understanding these frameworks for stakeholders involved in the production, processing, and marketing of algal products. It points to the availability of standards and technical documents as crucial tools for maintaining quality and compliance in the industry.

Innovation space BioBall - Promoting technologies for regional material use of biogenic by-products and waste streams

Jochen Michels
The presentation provides an overview of BioBall, an action funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research with a focus on fostering innovation, sustainability, and value creation in the circular bioeconomy. BioBall emphasizes the integration of urban and rural areas, aiming to leverage biogenic residues, waste materials, and carbon dioxide to create sustainable products and close material cycles. Key Points: 1. Regional Focus: BioBall targets the Frankfurt Rhine-Main metropolitan area, characterized by its dense urban agglomeration, strong infrastructure, and significant biogenic residues due to industrial activity. The area serves as a fertile ground for bioeconomy activities due to its combination of urban and rural characteristics. 2. Project Goals and Funding: With a budget of 20 million euros, BioBall funds projects that are environmentally compatible and adhere to sustainability criteria. The focus is on transforming biomass or residual materials into enduring materials, thus avoiding carbon release into the atmosphere and supporting climate protection goals. 3. Circular Bioeconomy Projects: BioBall supports a variety of projects that utilize different biogenic carbon sources, aiming to create value-added products. Examples include: insect-based shrimp feed, food waste valorization, carbon dioxide utilization and processing waste into chemicals. 4. Infrastructure and Policy Support: The initiative seeks to develop infrastructure and adapt framework conditions to support the transition to a bio-based and fossil-free economy. This includes efforts to make carbon capture and utilization financially viable and to amend waste legislation. 5. Community Engagement and Networking: BioBall emphasizes community management and networking, hosting events and webinars, and maintaining an active online presence. The project aims to inspire collaboration among society, business, academia, administration, and politics to accelerate the transformation toward a circular bioeconomy. 6. Challenges and Opportunities: The presentation acknowledges the need for political support and the adjustment of legislative frameworks to facilitate the growth of the bioeconomy sector. It also highlights the potential of the region as a hub for bio-based industries, given the right support and infrastructure. BioBall represents a concerted effort to integrate circular bioeconomy principles in a metropolitan setting, fostering innovation, sustainability, and value creation through the transformation of biogenic waste and residues into valuable products. The initiative seeks to build a network of stakeholders and create an enabling environment for the bioeconomy to thrive.

Circular bioeconomy business models with global examples

Mateja Dermastia
The presentation delivers insights into the circular bioeconomy from a business perspective, emphasizing the importance of transforming current economic systems into more sustainable and environmentally friendly models. It highlights the need to reduce dependency on virgin material, utilize advanced technologies, and create new income streams and profits within companies. Key Points: 1. Global Environmental Impact: The presentation starts with a stark reminder of the global environmental impact caused by wasteful practices, particularly in the extraction of virgin biomass and food waste. It highlights the adverse effects these practices have on marine life and people in non-European countries, emphasizing the need for a more sustainable approach. 2. Circular Bioeconomy: The concept of a circular bioeconomy is introduced, focusing on reducing waste and energy consumption and repurposing biogenic resources like bioresidues, byproducts, and biowaste. The goal is to create new products for existing markets, such as the high-value applications in pharma, chemical, food, and packaging industries. 3. Challenges in Europe: Despite having the technologies and opportunities, the presentation notes that Europe is moving slowly in adopting a more sustainable circular bioeconomy. Challenges include administrative burdens, limited funding opportunities for market-level technologies, and the tendency for technologies developed in Europe to be deployed outside of Europe. 4. Opportunities and Partnerships: To address these challenges, the presentation suggests creating new partnerships and pushing for the implementation of sustainable technologies within European countries. It introduces the Interreg InnoBioVC Project, which aims to deploy new funding schemes supporting the deployment of technologies for high-value bioproducts. 5. Integrated Value Chain Generator: The project will integrate an integrated value chain generator and a sustainability assessment tool to help investors, bankers, and other stakeholders understand the profitability, return on investment, and positive environmental impact of green and circular projects. 6. Engagement and Collaboration: The presentation calls for engagement with various stakeholders, including banks, ministries, funding agencies, clusters, suppliers, buyers, and technology providers. It emphasizes that impactful partnerships are crucial for taking sustainable technologies to the market. The presentation stresses the urgency of transitioning to a circular bioeconomy, leveraging advanced technologies, and fostering collaborations to ensure a sustainable and profitable future for businesses and the environment alike. It highlights the need for systemic change and the role of strategic partnerships in driving this transformation.

Value Chain Generator for circular bioeconomy

Jon Goriup Dermastia
The presentation focuses on addressing bioeconomy and circular economy challenges through data-driven solutions. VCG.ai, a Stuttgart-based company, leverages data and smart technologies to identify and scale circular economy opportunities across regions and industries. They have developed a smart data platform and an algorithm called BioLink, which understands the connections between various material streams, technologies, and processes. Key Points: 1. Scalability Through Data: VCG.AI emphasizes the scalability of bioeconomy solutions through data analytics, enabling simultaneous exploration of opportunities for thousands of companies across various regions. 2. BioLink Algorithm: The BioLink algorithm is central to VCG.AI’s approach. It analyzes connections between material streams, technologies, and market requirements, helping to map out and prioritize bioeconomy opportunities. 3. Regional and Industrial Focus: VCG.AI works with regions, municipalities, and industrial supply chains to facilitate the transition to circular industry business models. They analyze material flows and market requirements to provide a detailed map for prioritizing solutions. 4. Validation and Data Sharing: The company ensures the validation of prioritized solutions by facilitating secure data sharing between companies. This process involves collecting data about current waste management practices and coordinating new development projects. 5. Economic and Environmental Impact: VCG.AI showcases the significant economic and environmental impact that bioeconomy solutions can have. For example, the valorization of brewery by-products can increase value significantly while reducing the footprint related to waste and by-product management. VCG.AI is driving forward the bioeconomy and circular economy by leveraging data and smart technologies. Their approach not only identifies and scales opportunities but also ensures that these solutions are economically viable and environmentally beneficial. The company invites collaboration and discussions on how their platform and services can support industry partners and regional developers in their bioeconomy initiatives.
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