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Start date: Sep 1, 2012, End date: Aug 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Background Abattoirs and slaughterhouses are an important element of the food production process. Furthermore, in addition to the meat produced for human consumption, a number of animal by-products are generated. There have been numerous efforts around the world to develop new methods to valorise such animal by-products or improve disposal mechanisms. Despite these efforts, effective management of by-products from the meat industry remains an issue of environmental, economic and social concern. Areas where pig farming is a major industry – including many parts of Spain - are particularly affected by these challenges. The pork industry generates waste – including hair, blood and wastewater from fat smelting procedures – that can have a serious impact on the local environment, notably on ground- and surface water. Some 890 000 tonnes/yr of pig wastes are being produced in Europe. Related management costs reach as much as EUR 20.68 million/yr. The corresponding figures for Spain are 140 000 tonnes/yr at a management cost of EUR 3.25 million/yr. Objectives The main objective of the 'IBERWASTE' project is to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of innovative disposal and valorisation systems for Iberian pig wastes in an environmentally friendly way, turning valueless wastes into inputs for agriculture. To achieve this overall goal, the project aims to develop one overall procedure or protocol to oversee management of pig wastes and two new technologies to improve the effectiveness of waste valorisation and disposal methods. The project aims to design, optimise and scale-up a protocol providing instructions covering collection, classification, disposal and preservation techniques for pig wastes, including blood, hair, tail or smelting water wastes. At the same time, the two new technologies will be demonstrated at semi-industrial level. An innovative waste classification system will enable the detection of spoilage microorganisms and other quality indicators in real time. This should support slaughterhouses in making appropriate decisions about the most environmentally friendly and economically advantageous disposal or valorisation alternative depending on the quality of the wastes and on market profitability. A prototype ECO-hydrolysis procedure will be constructed based on the combination of physic-enzymatic technologies to transform protein pig wastes into products rich in amino acids. The goal is to demonstrate that an environmentally friendly procedure, using wastewater from the smelting procedure, can turn all protein pig waste into a product with agricultural value as a fertiliser. A protocol will set out the formulation and preservation required to achieve this. Alternative treatments will be proposed for any non-hydrolysed waste that could appear if the yield is lower than 100%. The fertiliser will be tested at lab- and field-scale. Expected results A new management protocol for pork industry waste; An innovative waste classification system; 100% waste recovery from the pork industry chain, thereby decreasing the amount of pig wastes reaching sewage treatment plants to nil; and eliminating environmental pollution to air, soil and water from such waste; Transformation of 100% of waste pig blood and hair into a valorised solution rich in amino acids using an ECO-hydrolysis procedure; A protocol on the formulation and preservation required to produce useful fertiliser and a good practices manual on end-product application; A demonstrated 20%+ bio-stimulant effect of the end-product fertiliser; and A reduction in wastewater from slaughterhouses through valorisation in the ECO-hydrolysis procedure.
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