Solving the problem of locally available wet residue streams by recovering the energy content and extracting the valuable elements from the inorganic part using a small scale biorefinery concept based on the SCWG process


Residual organic streams from the agricultural and food production sector with a high (>50% w/w) water content form a considerable problem and challenge in our European society. Utilizing such streams to provide additional value is therefore needed to give a necessary boost to the sector. Regardless the policy, “utilization” in the sense of destruction or dumping is far from optimal.

As these streams contain a substantial organic fraction they can be considered as a chemical energy carrier. Moreover, they contain a variety of inorganic elements that can be very attractive from an economical point of view. Some of these elements are already scarce or are expected to be depleted in the near future (e.g. phosphorus).

The SUPERVALUE project will evaluate the possibility of using a small-scale biorefinery concept based on a supercritical water gasification (SCWG) system to convert wet residual streams from agricultural primary production in the broad sense, and (crop) transformation sector into a valuable combustible gas and both   liquid and solid streams from which the elements P, N, Mg and possibly others will be extracted and recovered.

SUPERVALUE has been born by the wish to evolve beyond the actual state of the art with a novel approach to the treatment of wet bio-residues, where high energy efficiency is the key characteristic not only of the treatment process, but also of the environmentally-friendly outputs of this process – new market products, based on recovered resources, as well as biofuels synthesized for diversification of the energy supply chain.

This dual approach to energy efficiency improvements shall be developed by building on interdisciplinary research onSCWG and energy harvesting from all effluent streams along with procedures for resource recovery.

SUPERVALUE aims to make a significant contribution towards fulfilling the long-term EU goal of the transition towards a circular economy. The platforms of waste treatment must be transformed to facilitate and participate in the transition to a circular economy.

This change will require further incorporation of energy efficient treatment systems as well as the introduction of novel technological solutions which will enable resource recovery and recycling and, in consequence reinforce environmentally sustainable growth and intensification of agriculture.

In addition SUPERVALUE’s key challenges are to optimize the SCWG process by a critical evaluation of key performance indicators of technical, economic and LCA impact categories. Potential routes of produced gas utilization, including polygeneration and (bio)synthesis will be proposed and evaluated. 4 different scenarios will be taken into account for our investigation to adapt the outline and  characteristics of the proposed system for the end user.

Economic versatility of the concept will be determined through economic and ecological assessment of each of the small-scale biorefinery case studies analyzed within the SUPERVALUE project. 


Dr. Marcin Siedlicki

Research and Innovation Centre Pro-Akademia, Poland


Project partners: 

Research and Innovation Centre Pro-Akademia, Poland  

Technische Universiteit Delft, Netherlands

Fresh World Int. Sp. z o.o., Poland

Material from EUBCE 2019

Poster from EUBCE 2019