Agri and food waste valorization based on biorefinery processing technologies – AgriMax

Agri & food waste valorisation co-ops based on flexible multi-feedstocks biorefinery processing technologies

Cereal field with bales of stove in front of a cloudy sky
© Michael Homann -
Diagram of the processing of biological waste into high-quality products

In Europe 90 million tonnes of food and millions of tonnes of crops are wasted each year. Besides being morally wrong, this wastage also has a significant environmental and economic impact.

In the European project AgriMax these waste materials will be used to produce multiple high-value products. The project aims to increase sustainability in Europe through a number of novel and innovative bio-based products for the food, packaging, and agricultural sectors.

In AgriMax two flexible multi-feedstock pilot scale biorefineries will be developed and commissioned. By using these pilot plants as demonstrators, the technologic and economic feasibility of processes to valorize agrifood by-products will be verified. By combining and integrating efficient processes, both plants will deliver functional and high-value materials for:

  • Packaging (bioplastics, biocomposites, bio-based coatings, active packaging constituents, stabilizers)
  • Food (additives, natural flavors, ingredients, edible coatings)
  • Agricultural materials (mulching films, biodegradable pots, bio-compost)

The biorefineries will be constructed in Italy and Spain and will utilize residues from cereal and tomato processing (Italy) and olive and potato processing (Spain) as feedstocks. These residues will be provided by local agricultural cooperatives. End users will test the novel bio-based materials in their products and evaluate their application specific properties. Furthermore, the pilot plants will be assessed for their ecologic and economic sustainability and regulatory issues will be taken into account.

The Fraunhofer IVV is involved in the Spanish pilot biorefinery, developing processes for the valorization of olive and potato residues. The institute is also involved in the evaluation of different materials as food ingredients, active packaging constituents and edible packaging. The Fraunhofer IVV is responsible for the technical management of the project.

Project term: 2016 to 2020
Project management
/project funding:
/EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation - Horizon 2020