BiomassWeb – Improving food security in Africa through increased system productivity of biomass-based value webs (WP 5.1)
Commonly, post-harvest technology is performed in a one-dimensional chain approach. Most value adding steps in those processing chains are performed in agro-industry. By-products along the processing chain are mostly seen as waste and dumped, which causes environmental problems. However, in a web-approach all parts of a crop can be used, increasing resource use efficiency and generating maximum returns for the rural population. Therefore, increasing web integration at the post-harvest level will stimulate innovations and efficiency gains together with economic benefits.
In this work package, a systematic matrix screening of existing and potential future pathways in the biomass webs will be carried out. The result will reveal areas for developing innovations in postharvest processing. Fundamental knowledge about physical and chemical properties relevant for energetic or material use of various biomass fractions will be generated in lab research. Conversion methods like hydrothermal treatment, pyrolysis and fermentation as well as protein extraction will be developed on lab scale. Biogas production from coffee processing wastes in combinations with further feedstock like crop residues from enset, banana or plantain will be investigated in laboratory research. Digestates will be processed and converted into organic designer fertilizer on the basis of complementary compounds from compost, biochar and ashes produced from crop residues. The organic designer fertilizer will be tested in the greenhouse and on the field respectively.
Most promising solutions of multifunctional use of cassava, coffee and maize biomass will be identified. Successful approaches will be tested and optimized in Ethiopia in a participatory research approach together with farmer cooperatives.