Catalogue of bio-based technologies

The bio-based technologies in this catalogue have been screened for their potential to support circular agri-food systems in rural African communities and create opportunities to diversify farmer incomes.

The catalogue is intended as a source of inspiration. All technologies must be adapted to local needs and contexts.

Agricultural anaerobic co-digestion of grass clippings and manure
The technology entails the co-digestion of pig manure with grass clippings, improving the ammonia accumulation in the digester. The co-digestion with pig manure improves the flowing of grass, as monodigestion of grass can be technically challenging due to its fibrous nature.
The BIO2CHP solution is a compact, mobile and modular 25kWel and 67 KWTH CHP unit that fits in the size of a container and combines the technologies of gasification and internal combustion engines. The unit is fully automated and operational with a variety of solid waste streams from agro-industry.
The BIO2Pyr unit is a compact and fully portable flash pyrolysis unit for the production of bio-oil from organic and plastic waste. It is capable of processing up to 3 g/min of fuel.
The BIO2SYN solution is a mobile gasification unit that utilises up to 800 t/y raw solid digestate for synthetic fuel prodiction. A fully stand-alone unit, ideal for biogas plants with existing CHP, & year-round heating needs.
The lignocellulosic biomass residues used do not compete with food and feed production, but have to be collected from wide‐spread areas for industrial large‐scale use. The two‐stage gasification concept bioliq offers a solution to this problem. It aims at the conversion of low‐grade residual biomass from agriculture and forestry into synthetic fuels and chemicals. Central element of the bioliq process development is the 2–5 MW pilot plant along the complete process chain: fast pyrolysis for pretreatment of biomass to obtain an energy dense, liquid intermediate fuel, high‐pressure entrained flow gasification providing low methane synthesis gas free of tar, hot synthesis gas cleaning to separate acid gases, and contaminants as well as methanol/dimethyl ether and subsequent following gasoline synthesis.
Biorefining of sugar beet for food, feed and biochemical applications
The technology of small-scale biorefining of beet sugar and its by-products provides an innovative and energy-efficient solution through a method based on the solubility of sugar and which, through a decentralised approach, also proposes to reduce transport costs.
Briquetting of dry biomass
Compacts dry biomass (straw, woodchips, bagasse many more) for transport/burning in small stoves.
Decentralized refinery for local processing of cassava
The refinery of Vieux Manioc BV enables local processing of cassava through mobile processing and refinery units which overcome traditional logisical and preservation issues when processing cassava.
Farm-based lignocellulosic biorefinery
This is a pilot research project that involves the creation of a biorefinery plant at the university’s “Unterer Lindenhof” research station.
The vision is to design a small-scale plant for farm use that uses both biogenic plant residues and agricultural by-products to produce a wide range of raw materials and energy sources, without competing with food production.
Novel bio-based products from meadow grass
The biorefinery processes meadow grass silage into a variety of alternative bio-based products including bio-composites, bio-based insulation material, fertiliser and biogas.
Obtaining high value-added active compounds from olive grove biomass
In addition to the extraction of active compounds for human use, which provides high added value, two additional processes are carried out: (1) the generation of electrical energy that can be consumed by the plant itself; and (2) generation of products for animal feed.
Packaging and disposable tableware solutions from agricultural waste
BIOSOLUTIONS offers innovative packaging solutions as well as environmentally friendly and intelligent disposable tableware. In terms of packaging there are three options: Basic, with food grade additives or with aluminium laminate. The products are sustainable and innovatively designed, extremely efficient and cost-effective.
The SMARt-CHP prototype is a mobile and modular 5kWel and 12 KWth CHP unit that fits in the size of a container and combines the technologies of gasification and internal combustion engines.
Staramaki is a straw made of wheat. It is produced by a social cooperative KoinSep in Kilkis, situated in rural Northern Greece. The most widely produced local product – wheat – is used to create a viable eco-friendly alternative to single use plastic straws.
Tableware made from sugar cane waste
The demand and interest for sustainable food packaging and disposable tableware is growing exponentially, requiring significant solutions. For these requirements, Pacovis produces biologically degradable materials (Naturesse line), reducing CO2 emissions and waste generation.
Ethanol production from sorghum milling wastes
Sorghum bran is an underutilised waste from the sorghum milling process in Nigeria. It contains relatively high amounts of starch and protein, indicating that it is a suitable substrate for fermentative conversion into value-added products.
Biogas production from macroalgae wastes
The digestion of Laminaria japonica in batch and continuous bioreactors produced acceptable biomethane production rates at laboratory and pilot plant scale. On the other hand, against all odds, a pre-treatment of the algae does not increase biomethane production, recommending fermenting them in their "native"" state.
Decentralised production of high purity biogas from pig slurry
The novelty lies in the possibility of decentralised recovery treatment and in the fact that the biogas produced is of high purity (biomethane) and can be injected directly into the natural gas network or used as automotive fuel.
Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS)
Biomasses are converted to biogas and thence to electricity, heat and/or biomethane; stable carbon and plant nutrients are recycled to the fields by applying effluent digestate avoiding the greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions and other environmental impacts associated with fossil-based fertilisers.
Compression of agri-residues
Production of pellets for renewable energy production.
Use of waste from cardamom production in the cultivation of the edible mushroom
In the cultivation of mushrooms (Pleurotus spp.) a wide variety of agricultural or agro-industrial waste or by-products can be used as substrate. Pulp from cardamom, lemon or coffee can be used for this purpose, making it possible to reduce the environmental impact of the disposal of these wastes.
Valorisation of Jatropha curcas waste by composting
A simple controlled composting step produces an organic solid with properties that make it suitable as a fertiliser in agriculture. The process requires mixing the waste with other agricultural waste from the fruit, thus solving several environmental problems.
"Cold Composting" to increase soil fertilization and reduce emissions and waste
"The practice of mowing the lawn and leaving the grass clippings on the ground is called ""Cold Composting"". The trimmings decompose and increase soil fertility rather than being collected and sent to landfills or a traditional composting facility."
Extraction of bromelain from pineapple wastes by enzymatic pre-treatment and membrane process
The enzymatic pre-treatment and diafiltration operation is used in a two-stage ultrafiltration system to improve the performance of the bromelain purification and concentration process. This pretreatment uses pectinase, reducing the apparent viscosity and making the process more efficient.
Reuse of vine pruning waste (vine shoots) for the production of biofertiliser
The process avoids burning the vine shoots (which involves emissions into the atmosphere and a high risk of fires due to its proximity to forest areas), transforming them into compost to be used as fertiliser and improve the state of the soil, which benefits grape production.
Karnal Process
Biological treatments (Karnal process) aiming at the deconstruction of lignocelluloses employs selective ligninolytic white-rot basidiomycetes under solid-state fermentation.
Biofertilizer with fish wastes
Produce animal proteins and organic fertilizer using Black Soldier Fly larvae.
Valorisation of grass, pasture and plant wastes using the biorefinery concept
Using the biorefinery concept, protein-rich compounds for pig feed, sugar and protein-rich compounds for cattle feed, fibres for cardboard manufacturing, as well as electricity and heat can be produced.
Use of crustacean shells for gourmet dressings and biofertilisers
A multi-stage process is used to obtain different products. From the initial extraction, the raw material for food is obtained. Subsequently, pigments are obtained and finally chitin, which can be converted into chitosan by deacetylation.
Production of bactericidal peptides from beef residues
Bioactive peptides can be obtained from meat by-products through the application of enzymes that cut or hydrolyse meat proteins at certain points, obtaining peptides of all kinds. The most interesting are those that have a bactericidal function, preventing the growth of bacteria.
Aflasafe® (Biopesticide)
Aflasafe® is an environmentally friendly product that was developed by IITA and USDA. Aflasafe consistently reduces aflatoxin contamination in groundnuts, maize and sorghum by between 80% and 100% when the crop is in the field and during storage.
Gas permeable membranes at atmospheric pressure
It reduces the ammonia load in livestock effluents, recovering nitrogen in the form of an ammonium salt, with high fertiliser value.
Production of cosmetics from biowaste.
Production of polymeric biocomposites from rice endosperm
By mixing rice endosperm with a polysuccinate butylene (PBS) matrix, polymeric materials are obtained. The functional characteristics of these are similar and even improved in aspects such as ductility. Mixing can be done with both the original and the enzymatically treated endosperm.
Waste sanitation to produce alkaline biofertilizer adapted to acidic land
Elaboration of a liquid and solid alkaline biofertilizer that adapts the soil for a greater use of nutrients using waste to give them a second life.
Production of natural dye from the seed of Bixa orellana (achiote)
The extraction of bixin from 'achiote' is based on leaving the seeds of the fruit in potassium soda for 12 hours. Subsequently, 10% sulphuric acid is added and finally filtered under vacuum, obtaining a mass that is dried in an oven at 56º-58ºC. The final material obtained is crushed to obtain colouring powder.
Use of banana leaves for the production of nano/microfibres
Banana waste leaves are used to create a pulp from which micro/nano lignocellulose fibres (MNFLC) are obtained, which can be used for papermaking by adding them to cellulose pulp from wood, improving the mechanical qualities of the paper.
Conversion of agricultural waste fibers into biodegradable food packaging
Buying of banana wastes, Cassava wastes and other agricultural wastes from farmers to produce bioplastics for food packaging.
Paper production from tomato and pepper crop wastes
The technology has been developed by the Dutch company Shutpapier through the "Valorise" process, marketing the paper produced through VELPA B.V. The paper is produced from fibres extracted from waste and can be used for packaging vegetables, seeds, etc., providing a circular economy approach.
Production of an eco-insulating material using tree bark
Technology for the development of an eco-insulation through compression processes with insulation capacity similar to that of artificial insulators and a higher specific heat than traditional materials based on foam or fibres. Its main added value is its environmental sustainability with a neutral CO2 footprint.
ORIBAGS Ecopulping and Packaging Technology
Manufacture of paper, packaging, stationary and other products.
Production of biodegradable bicycle lubricant from sheep hair
Bicycle chain lubricants are produced from petroleum. Eco Sheep™ is a biodegradable lubricant, obtained from the sheep's summer coat. The wool is washed and the lanolin is removed by degreasing. This is mixed with vegetable oils and used as a lubricant.
Use of Ligninolytic Micro organisms
This technology subsumes the use of white-rot; Brown-rot and soft rot fungi. White rot fungi are capable of degrading lignin without affecting much of cellulose and hemicelluloses, while Brown rot fungi preferentially attack cellulose and hemi-cellulose. Soft-rot fungi leaves the attacked lignocellulosic material watery-soft and breaks down cellulose and hemicelluloses.
Vegetable Granules for Vibratory Finishing, Polishing, Sandblast
Main aim is to valorise agri-food wastes and transforming them in materials used in sand blasting, deburring and polishing as well as additives in many industrial production processes for machining metals, animal feed and restoration work.
Removal of synthetic dyes from wastewater using rice biomass
By using rice husks as a bioadsorbent, tartrazine yellow and brilliant blue FCF (both synthetic azo dyes), among others, are removed from wastewater from the agri-food, textile, leather and paper industries.
Fish protein hydrolysate from fish farming wastes
Fish protein hydrolysates are the result of enzymatic or chemical hydrolysis of the protein fraction of fish or fractions such as muscle, by-products or process waters, presenting interesting properties from a technological and sensory point of view.
Livestock feed production from fish by-product silage
A liquefaction process prepares the fish for ensiling. This occurs due to the presence of enzymes naturally present in the fish, and is accelerated by the acid, creating suitable conditions for the enzymes to break down the tissues, while limiting the growth of harmful bacteria.
Feed formulation/mixing
Supplementation of low-quality forage with legumes will increase diet utilization to some extent, but for higher levels of production, increased dietary energy density through the use of higher quality forage and some grain may become of interest to livestock producers. Legume fodder such as cowpea can remain an important part of these higher energy diets.
Development of functional materials from natural fibres
The technology developed produces functional materials through the use of natural fibres and bio-resins, which avoids the use of chemical additives/adhesives. Two types of materials have been developed, STRAWave and TRAshell, and it is possible to use straw or coconut fibres.
Pelletising- Use of cassava in livestock and aquaculture feeding programs
On a global scale, cassava (Manihot esculenta) represents both an important human food resource and, in many regions, an underutilized animal feed ingredient. Cultivated in tropical/subtropical environments, cassava can be grown on marginal lands; it is relatively drought-hardy, and all parts of the plant can be utilized; and its roots comprise an energy staple in many regions. In recent years, the African continent produced ~60% of the global cassava crop (256 million tonne) through targeted efforts to develop improved varieties; yet only a small fraction is utilized for animal feeding programs throughout Africa. Potential for increased utilization is vast, particularly of unused or underused fractions and residues such as peels.
Densified Total Mixed Ration Blocks
The first step in the process of making straw-based feed blocks is the grinding of concentrate ingredients, followed by their mixing and addition of the feed additives. This is then followed by mixing of these ingredients and straw in proper proportions along with addition of molasses in a specifically designed TMR mixer, taking care that mixing is uniform and ingredients are not separated due to gravity. Finally, the weighed quantity of the mixed stuff is transferred into a hydraulic press to get the final product – the DTMRB.
Uromin lick (UML)/urea-molasses-multi-nutrient blocks (UMMB)
UMMB is a convenient and inexpensive method of providing a range of nutrients to animals. It can improve the digestion of low-quality roughages by satisfying the requirement of rumen microorganisms, creating a better environment for fermentation and increasing production of microbial protein and volatile fatty acids. Urea, after hydrolysis to ammonia in the rumen, provides a nitrogen source for the rumen microbes, while molasses acts as a source of readily-fermentable energy.
Valorisation of non-food-grade milk by casein extraction and conversion
In a simple process, casein is extracted from milk and processed without the addition of chemicals to obtain various products such as biopolymers (automotive, clothing, home textiles, cosmetics or medical applications).
Melt compounding of agri-food wastes biomass
This technology produces bioplastics and biodegradable plastics to valorise agricultural wastes.
Conversion of cotton waste into biodiesel and animal feed
Conversion of cotton waste into biodiesel to power vehicles, the factory and farm machinery.
Valorisation of mango waste for healthy bakery products
Basic physical techniques such as drying and sieving can produce a powder from mango wastes, rich in antioxidants and dietary fibre, suitable for human consumption. This technique focuses on producing additives for healthy bakery products that reduce the glycaemic index after consumption.
Torrefaction of wheat stubble into pellets for solid biofuels
Wheat stubble biomass has an irregular size, low density and low calorific value, among others. By means of a torrefaction process (thermal process carried out at moderate temperatures in an inert environment), a significant increase in retained energy and calorific value was obtained at moderate operating conditions below 150ºC.
Nutrient recovery from livestock by-products by thermochemical process (pyrolysis)
The aim of the 3R Zero emission technology is the recovery of nutrients through the valorisation of animal by-products into high-value organic phosphorus fertilisers and bio-oils by integrated thermal and biotechnological recycling means. The products are "Animal BioChar" - organic biophosphate fertiliser and NPK bioformulations.
Obtaining bioenergy and nutrients from poultry slurry
Fluidised bed combustion produces heat energy, ash (which can be used as PK fertiliser) and electricity (when combined cycle technology is incorporated). The boiler is capable of generating a thermal output of 500 kWh, sufficient to provide hot water at 850°C required for distribution to the hatcheries.
Thermo-chemical treatment for obtaining activated carbon and synthesis gas
An advanced modular thermal process produces synthesis gas and activated carbon. The gas is conditioned for use in power generation. The activated carbon can be reintroduced into the process as a fuel or sold as a commodity and used as a filter medium or for soil remediation.
Pyrolysis, carbonization
Biochar production and waste recycling.
Pyrochemy is a renewable energy technology developed by PyroGenesys, it was developed as a carbon removal system for converting agricultural waste to renewable electricity, process heat & biofuels.
Reuse of olive wash water in agriculture as a biofungicide
Waste water from olive mills generated during the extraction of olive oil by traditional milling and pressing processes is considered to be an agro-industrial by-product rich in phenolic compounds. The quantities and physico-chemical characteristics depend on the used oil extraction system, the olives and the operating conditions.
Making of packaging materials from zero carbonisation process
Circular economy model is promoted in Uganda so that people know that their waste is gold.
Refining water void of heavy metals
This technology uses locally available biological materials especially agricultural waste to remove heavy metals from water and waste water. This effort alone contributes towards the acheivement of sustainable development goals 6, 11 and 13. Besides the technology provides an economical alternative for removing toxic heavy metals from industrial waste water thus aiding in enviromental remediation. The project is being implemented in Kasese, district in Nyamwamba valley and, to make the project as low cost as possible, coffee husks and cotton seed cakes are used as bisorbents.
Production of Biodiesel from eggshells
The biodiesel is green fuel produced from various sources. At NARO biodiesel is produced by converting vegetable oil into fuel. Re-use and overuse of vegetable oils results into production of compounds that can lead to cancer in human beings. Poor exposure of such oils is also a municipal catastrophe as the highly vicious oil can clog water ways and limit the flow water causing clogs and affecting municipal waste management. As such conversion of waste oil into bio diesel alleviates its overuse, provides for better waste management practices, while generating fuel that is environmentally sound. Bio diesel can be used to make animal feed making machines, small house generators, walking tractors for clearing the land.
Biomass Utilization by Sustainable Harvest for biochar stove - BUSH project
The project titled Biomass Utilisation by Sustainable Harvest (BUSH) ran from November 2018 to July 2021. The sub-project on 'Biochar Production, Processing and Testing', looked at how biochar can create income for farmers and entrepreneurs as well as benefits for crop and rangelands.

The project developed prototypes for stoves that heat water or allow cooking while producing biochar.
Household biogas digester
Α household biogas digester piloted in a slum called Terterkessim in the K.E.E.A. Municipality of the Central Region of Ghana. A 2-seater toilet compartment was constructed on a pilot manually-stirred, fixed pyramidal-dome-shaped single-stage household biogas digester for a compound house of 32 persons in the Terterkessim slum. The pyramidal dome-shape biogas digester was constructed on an abandoned septic tank meant to contain faeces from the toilets. Blocks and concrete were used for the construction. The digester has a rectangular sub-surface base and a pyramidal gas holder above the surface of the soil. It also has a two-blade manual stirrer, a ball bearing affixed at the bottom and a handle to manually mix the content of the digester. A solar-photovoltaic was installed on the roof of the toilet connected to the digester to heat the content to a hyper-thermophilic condition for hygienising the digestate.
Farm-based lignocellulosic biorefinery
This is a pilot research project that involves the creation of a biorefinery plant at the university’s “Unterer Lindenhof” research station. The vision is to design a small-scale plant for farm use that uses both biogenic plant residues and agricultural by-products to produce a wide range of raw materials and energy sources, without competing with food production.
Biogas production in rethinking innovative agricultural systems to produce food and bioenergy achieving large environmental benefits.
Biooxidation of livestock manure and GHG emissions reduction
Composting is a tool within the circular economy through which organic waste is valorised by transforming it into fertiliser with high added value. It provides a solution to the management of organic waste that can be a problem due to its negative effects on the environment, such as GHG emissions or the contamination of aquifers through leaching.
Production of 5-HMF (5-Hydroxymethylfurfural) from inulin-containing wastes
Through a hydrothermal synthesis, 5-HMF is produced using waste containing hexoses and monomeric sugars. This technology can establish synergies with biogas production within the biorefinery concept and reduce transport costs for the supply of a decentrally implemented conversion plant.
Multistage anaerobic digestion process
Treatment of any kind of agricultural and residential biowaste/residues.