The main aim of the F4F project is to evaluate, through a pilot scale realisation, an innovative, simple technology and low emissions process that allows the safe transformation of source separated food wastes, mainly from hotels (and generally from the hospitality industry and restaurants), into animal feed, utilizing an altered solar drying process.
The project objectives in a decreasing order are:
• Determining in pilot scale, the quality of the animal feed produced in relation to both the wastes source separation system existing and operating in hotels (and secondarily in restaurants), and the suggested innovative drying / pasteurising methodology, based on the solar drying technology. In experimental scale, where the wastes used were in small amounts, easily sorted by hand, and the drying system was operated manually, the results were exceptional, including the quality of end product. However, this “hand based” process cannot be applied commercially and for this reason we need to determine that the same results can be achieved with larger, mechanical and automated systems.
• Determining the various technical aspects of the suggested process, the main components of which are: a) non-invasive, refrigerated, separate collection, b) hand sorting / removal of non-food wastes, c) grinding, d) solar drying / pasteurizing of the mixed food, and e) mixing with other animal feed (e.g. corn) for achieving high quality standards. All these processes must be developed in appropriate scale and tested. Especially the core of the concept, the altered solar drying, needs to be designed and built on purpose, with a variety of additions and alterations, in comparison to the simple sewage sludge solar drying unit.
• Evaluating the economical, marketing and environmental parameters related to the process and product (from the source to the shelf). Commercial viability of full scale units, including the customers / end users approach towards the new feed, will be assessed. Part of the environmental evaluation will be the determination of the avoided carbon footprint of food waste converted to animal feed.
• Developing appropriate scaling up, dissemination, replicability and transferability processes, towards full scale unit(s).
• Evaluating the policy parameters related to the process, such is the potential role in waste minimization and reuse of non-recyclable wastes (part of an integrated solid wastes management scheme), as well as the Roadmap to a Resources-Efficient EU.
The MAIN action in the F4F project is the development and operation of a pilot unit producing 40 to 50 tn of feed / annum. For its construction and operation, as well as evaluation, the main means that will be utilized are the experience and technical and scientific adequacy of the involved partners.
In relation to the objectives presented:
• Actions B1, B3, B6 and C2. Design, operate and evaluate a separated collection scheme, for hotels’ food wastes in a touristic area of Crete (Greece), taking advantage of the source separating system applied, due to ISO and HACCP regulations. HUA has considerable experience in designing and evaluating such schemes, and ESDAK into realizing them.
• Actions B2, B3, B6 and C2. Design, construct, operate and evaluate a hand sorting, grinding and automated solar drying / pasteurizing process that would allow the transformation of the incoming food wastes into 40 to 50 tn of animal feed, within the summer period. It includes the altered solar drying process, which has been developed in lab scale by TEIC. It will utilize the experience of TEIC in designing and constructing solar drying units, as well as ESDAK’s experience in constructing and operating waste management units.
• Action B4, B5 and B6. Evaluate the quality of the produced feed, determine its commercial value, the possible need for further processing / mixing and the customer acceptability. AUA and FUB are the involved partners with vast experience and excellent infrastructure to deliver all relevant evaluations.
• Action B6 and C2. Evaluate the environmental, marketing and economic aspects of the process in a real / full size application, through a series of environmental (focusing on carbon footprint and LCA) and techno-economical evaluations and operation scenarios, utilizing data from all the above aspects of the process, including relevant scale up manuals and designs and customer’s surveys. These actions include efforts to support the replicability and transferability of the process. HUA and TEIC will be leading these actions, utilising however specialised professionals.
• Action B7. Evaluate the potential role of such a system in EU policies, such as the waste management and resources efficiency. The needed tools for such an evaluation will be provided by HUA.
• Action C. Monitoring and evaluation of project’s progress and performance.
• Action D. Dissemination activities.
• Action E. Project management and monitoring of projects objectives.
All efforts in the F4F project, aim in delivering a process that allows the safe, from every aspect, economically viable and environmentally beneficiary, transformation of hotels’ food wastes (and the hospitality industry in general) into animal feed which can be utilized by the relevant animal breeding / husbandry and pet industry. As a result the optimum expected result would be a (at least one) full scale industrial unit, implementing the F4F process. This could be achieved through the utilisation of the following deliverables:
• A source separated food wastes collection system, that does not affect the quality of the collected food wastes, especially in relation to the presence of NON food wastes and the capability of hand sorting to remove them (mainly by avoiding compression). During F4F, the aim is to collect 150 to 200 tn of food wastes, between May and October. It is anticipated that 2.5 to 3.0 tn of food wastes will produce 1.0 tn of feed.
• A hand sorting, grinding and solar drying / pasteurizing pilot unit, able to produce at least 50 tn / annum, of acceptable quality feed, which includes both physiochemical characteristics, as well as, biological (absence / significant suppression of pathogenic microorganism), determined by the relevant legal standards.
• A detailed feed production manual based on the operational data of the pilot unit and the extended evaluation of the end product. It will be the link between incoming food wastes and produced feed.
• A series of manuals such as design, constructing, business and marketing plan, that would provide all the technical, operational and economical details of how and under which circumstances this process should be developed into a viable, full scale unit. These manuals will be the main tools for the replicability and transferability of the process.
• An environmental assessment of the processes through, for example, the carbon footprint of converting food waste to animal feed, taking into account the embedded carbon footprint of food waste, in addition to the impacts generated by the actual F4F process itself. Similarly a Social LCA will be implemented in an effort to determine the impacts of the process, in the people involved with the relevant industries.
• A policies role, aiming both in the wastes related EU legislation, as well as, the resource efficient Europe roadmap.
• Thorough dissemination of all the various aspects in relevant key players, the general public and the academia.