What has the BioBoost project achieved?
Thursday 10 December 2020
The BioBoost project is almost completed. A project that I worked on with great pleasure and dedication as a project manager. Since 2016, the municipality of Westland has been active with the BioBoost project. It has taken the initiative, together with partners from the European regions of Flanders and Lea Valley, to focus on the residual flows from horticulture. This concerns both open ground cultivation and glasshouse horticulture. Plant parts that are left over after harvesting for example, but also second-class horticultural products that cannot be sold.
Furthermore horticultural products that are specifically grown, because they have special compounds. The aim of the project is to obtain added value from these horticultural flows. These flows are still usually left on the land, composted or digested. This can be done better. Plant parts and fruits can be used for high-quality products. For example as a raw material for building materials, the packaging industry, cosmetics, crop protection pesticides, material for colorants and fragrances.
Various concrete products have been delivered within the BioBoost project;
- Work has been done on designing and testing processes for the application of fruit and vegetable flows. Examples are the production of various smoothies, Yacon ice cream and vegan burgers.
- Horticultural waste has been tested as a food source for insects ,such as the black soldier fly and the mealworm. These insects can become an important protein source in the animal feed and food industry. A pilot installation has also been built for the cultivation of insect larvae. The results of this will be used to build a full-scale insect farm.
- A pilot installation has been built for processing green plant parts for making chipboard. At the end of the BioBoost project, this pilot installation will be upscaled to a production installation that is used in a chipboard factory.
- Many trials and experiments have been carried out to find harvesting techniques. This is necessary to be able to conserve all plant parts and use them later. The techniques tested were done on the basis of drying, heating, freezing, extraction and fermentation. These techniques have been used to be able to apply plant parts in animal feed, food and cosmetics industry for example.
- A pilot facility has been built to test green pesticides from soft fruit and mushroom residues. This pilot facility can be upscaled to a production facility.
- Colorants have been extracted from blackberries, strawberries, tomatoes and red beets for use in the cosmetics industry.
- Attention has been paid to communication. This is to increase awareness for the bio-based economy. Teaching materials have been developed for high school students and a super fun board game has been designed. Thematic meetings have also been organised around bio-based themes.
- Regional platforms have been set up where entrepreneurs can gather and exchange ideas. A BioBoost platform has also been set up (https://www.bioboost-platform.com) with more than 80 practical initiatives. You can find inspiring examples here and can get in touch with the initiators of the examples shown.
There is still much to be done in the bio-based economy. There are also plenty of opportunities for horticulture. Good cooperation is a precondition for this. The knowledge and experience gained in the BioBoost project will be retained. The website http://www.bioboosteurope.com and the information contained therein will remain available even after the project has ended. You can also approach the project partners of the BioBoost project after the end of the project for further information.
I would like to thank all partners in the project for the pleasant cooperation in recent years. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a healthy 2021!