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Closing the loop – Role of anaerobic fermentation based biorefinery utilizing waste
Anish Ghimire, Vincenzo Luongo, Vincenzo Luongo, Luigi Frunzo, Luigi Frunzo, Francesco Pirozzi, Francesco Pirozzi, Giovanni Esposito, Giovanni Esposito

Last modified: 2017-08-31


Many of the fuels, chemicals and raw materials that we use in our daily lives are derived from the petroleum based refineries. Depleting fossil fuels reserves and the consequences such as greenhouse gas emission and pollution problems from the by-products of the fossil fuels use are driving biobased economy for the production of bioenergy and useful chemicals. Moreover, biorefineries for the production of multiple fuels and products can overcome the economic hurdles. Anaerobic fermentation (AF) technologies such as dark fermentation, photo fermentation and anaerobic digestion can play a key role for the production of renewable energy from biofuels (methane, hydrogen, bio-hythane) as well as valuable by-products in the form of organic acids and alcohols. These fine chemicals can be recovered or can be utilized as raw materials to produce other biofuels and platform chemicals such as bioplastics in different physico-chemical and/or biological systems. Thus, creation of a biorefinery with AF as central process can allow the production of multiple biofuels and other platform chemicals.

Waste biomass based biorefineries can solve the dilemma of clean energy production, waste management, and mitigation of greenhouse gas emission. In particular, abundant biomass sources such as organic fraction of municipal solid waste (OFMSW), agricultural residues, agro-industrial waste can be utilized in anaerobic fermentative conversion processes for production of biofuels and value added biomaterials. This paper illustrates the application of different AF based bioprocesses in a hypothesize closed loop approach valorizing waste which can pave a way for circular economy.

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