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Innovations for optimal use of organic side-streams and waste


The ECO-INNOVERA project IPTOSS is an international research project started in August 2012 that combines Finnish and Swiss expertise in the area of biomass fractionation and valorization. The objective of the project is to improve the utilization of organic side-streams and wastes from the industry as new raw materials. The research focuses on brewer’s grain, which is a major side-stream from the brewing industry. Brewer’s grain is a lignocellulosic material, which is also rich in protein and lipids. Currently, it is used as cattle feed, although the functional components it contains could be further refined to new products without additional use of cultivated land and water.

Brewer’s grain being a complex material is partially resistant to enzymes, and so far current enzyme technologies can only partly solubilize its carbohydrates. This project develops new extraction, pretreatment and enzyme technologies to extract lipids and high value phenolic compounds, to improve the yield of the carbohydrate hydrolysis, to release proteins in a controlled manner, and to degrade lignin to low molecular weight phenolic compounds. The recovery of the products is improved by using enzymes immobilized to nano-sized carriers and by developing membrane technologies. The aim is to carry out these process steps in low water content in order to make the overall process more energy efficient and sustainable. At the end of the process the non-hydrolysable and non-extractable nutrient-rich residue can be sold as feed or returned to the soil as fertilizer. The techno-economic feasibility and the sustainability of the developed process will be assessed at the end of the project.

ECO-INNOVERA Research Programme is a transnational R&D programme jointly funded by national funding organisations within the framework of the ERA-NET ECO-INNOVERA.

Project updates:

October 2012: Project kick-off held at VTT, Espoo, Finland

March 2013: 6 months report ready

May 2013: Project meeting at FHNW, Basel, Switzerland

May 2013: Project milestone for carbohydrate hydrolysis improvement reached

November 2013: Project meeting at Sinebrychoff brewery, Kerava, Finland

December 2013: Protein and lignin rich fraction produced from Brewer’s grain

February 2014: Brewer’s grain hydrolysate tested successfully in a beverage product

May 2014: Project meeting at FHNW, Basel, Switzerland

May 2014: Project milestone for the identification of best enzyme mixtures for carbohydrate hydrolysis reached

July 2014: Techno-economic feasibility and sustainability assessment started