Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Synthesis and reconstruction of processes based on alternative renewable resources for the production of green energy

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
2.02.00  Engineering sciences and technologies  Chemical engineering   

Code Science Field
T350  Technological sciences  Chemical technology and engineering 
T120  Technological sciences  Systems engineering, computer technology 
anaerobic digestion, biogas, methane, energy crops, poultry manure, co-digestion, renewable energy, process optimization, MINLP, EWO, (bio)chemical supply chain
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (18)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  27839  PhD Tanja Botić  Systems and cybernetics  Researcher  2009 - 2011  73 
2.  28471  PhD Rozalija Drobež  Chemical engineering  Junior researcher  2008 - 2011  24 
3.  24625  Aleksander Farazin  Chemistry  Researcher  2008 - 2011 
4.  30163  Gregor Ferk  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2008  49 
5.  14429  PhD Roman Glaser  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2008 - 2011  103 
6.  19106  PhD Miha Humar  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2008 - 2011  1,320 
7.  20036  PhD Nataša Iršič Bedenik  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2008 - 2011  46 
8.  02619  PhD Željko Knez  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2008 - 2011  2,028 
9.  24643  MSc Boštjan Kostanjevec  Animal production  Researcher  2008 - 2011  23 
10.  06005  PhD Zdravko Kravanja  Chemical engineering  Head  2008 - 2011  903 
11.  11369  PhD Zorka Novak Pintarič  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2008 - 2011  475 
12.  12681  PhD Bojan Pahor  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2008 - 2011  166 
13.  20043  PhD Aleksandra Pivec  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2008 - 2011  107 
14.  05248  PhD Franc Pohleven  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2008 - 2011  1,195 
15.  17867  PhD Aleksander Soršak  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2009 - 2011  46 
16.  13744  Irena Turk Rob  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2008 - 2011 
17.  31256  Maja Vaukner Gabrič  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Technical associate  2009 - 2011  14 
18.  20457  Andreja Žagar    Technical associate  2008 - 2011  62 
Organisations (4)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  66,215 
2.  0794  University of Maribor, Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering  Maribor  5089638012  13,104 
3.  1421  Scientific research Centre Bistra Ptuj  Ptuj  5844975000  431 
4.  2106  PERUTNINA PTUJ reja perutnine, proizvodnja krmil, perutninskega mesa in izdelkov, trgovina in storitve d.o.o. (Slovene)  Ptuj  5141966  57 
Inadequate treatment of different agricultural residuals and organic-waste from industrial food and meat Plants has contributed to tremendous environmental problems. New technologies, however, are significantly reducing these environmental burdens. Unfortunately, their introduction has caused very unpleasant competition between the food and energy sectors when utilizing energy plants within the food chain. The main goal of the proposed project would be to identify those alternative energy plants which are currently absent from the food chain, and to integrate them into existing or new processes. This would bean to recover from current unpleasant cost trends, and reducing environmental degradation caused by inappropriate treatment of organic waste. This goal would be achieved by integrating the innovative bio-molecular level with the process engineering level through the concept of a sustainable biochemical supply chain: a) Microscopic bio-molecular level: the new discovery of bio-reaction paths and metabolic networks would be expected at the bio-molecular level, in order to convert the biomass of fast-growing energy plants and organic waste into biogas. b) Macroscopic process engineering level: based on these bio-reaction innovations, the design and optimization of an industrial biogas plant and complete green enterprise networks would be performed at Perutnina Ptuj d.d., including heat integration of the utility network and lifecycle analysis of the biogas production site. The most advanced mathematical programming techniques, implemented in a computer package MIPSYN for a simultaneous topology and parameter flowsheets synthesis, would be employed in order to link iteratively at the bio-molecular and process engineering levels. It is expected that new bio-reaction paths would be discovered by combining fungi decay and bacteria fermentation of the biomass. On the other hand, new innovative and profitable green-energy-process solutions would be identified.
Significance for science
At the biomolecular level, a very important scientific contribution is a revelation of new bioreaction paths for converting alternative renewable sources and organic waste into green energy and precious compounds. The alternative energy plants were identified for addition to the chicken dung, which are not part of the food supply chain, and can be cultivated in an extensive way without fertilizing and other cultivating measures. The originality of the research is in combining fungi decay and bacteria fermentation of chicken dung and alternative energy plants. Besides, the conditions for biogas production were optimized experimentally in the laboratory and pilot scale. It is a world-scale novelty and international patent application is foreseen. At the process-systems level, the originality is in the development of the advanced mathematical models for simultaneous optimization of bioprocess operating conditions, heat integration with other plants and service facilities, coproduction of heat and electricity, as well as the selection of plants, input substrates, transportation paths, water resources, minimization of water demand, etc. Developed models include the life cycle analyses and sensitivity studies. Such models represent the innovative systematic tools for sustainable decision making in the bio-systems engineering based on the optimal values of economic measures. A computer aided tools were developed for the extended concept of biochemical supply chain design. To the best of our knowledge, this is one of the pioneer works on connecting the researches at the molecular level of biomolecules, biochemical reactions and their kinetics with the algorithmic process-systems approach for designing bioenergy plants simultaneously with transportation paths, life cycle analyses and sustainable development. The important benefit of the project is its synergistic function. The researches were performed integrally on the agronomic, experimental-laboratory, and process-systems level. They included the production and cultivation of alternative energetic plants, laboratory and pilot plant experiments for discovering new reaction paths and optimizing production of green energy and useful products from renewable sources, and the systematic design of new biochemical processes applying the advanced methods of Computer Aided Process Engineering. All the above mentioned activities were handled simultaneously utilizing the synergistic effects and enabling the discoveries of innovative and profitable process solutions for green energy production. Our researches thus widened the well-known concept of Chemical Supply Chain to the less developed area of Biochemical Supply Chain. Multicriteria optimization produced optimal solutions in the economic, environmental and social points of view. Within the project, the cooperation was strengthened in the field of the experimental research of the anaerobic digestion with two Slovenian institutions: Department of wood science at the University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty, and the Scientific Research Centre Bistra Ptuj. The international cooperation was strengthened in the field of biorefinery process design with the group of Prof. I. E. Grossmann, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA (bilateral cooperation SLO-USA). The syntheses of regional renewable networks were performed in the cooperation with Prof. J. Klemes, Pannonia University, Veszprem and UMIST (bilateral cooperation Slovenia-Hungary).
Significance for the country
This project has involved the research topics about designing innovative and efficient processes for transformation of unpleasant environmental burdens, e.g. slaughterhouse waste, manure, sludge, green waste etc., into green energy and useful products. Within the project the scientific knowledge was acquired about the efficient and innovative ways for transformation of biomass into biogas by the anaerobic fermentation. Design methods and computer tools were developed for designing sustainable and integrated processes based on renewable sources. The results of the project provide the grounds for implementation of new technologies for production of green energy and other valuable products from biomass. This allows the Slovenian enterprises to achieve the technological expansion and modernization of their activities. This could increase the efficiency of small, medium and large enterprises, improve their market competitiveness and environmental characteristics due to lower consumption of energy and raw materials. As the produced heat and electricity exceed significantly the demands of bioplants, the surpluses could be offered to outside consumers. The results of the project thus contribute to increasing share of renewable energy sources, and to progressing energetic infrastructure in Slovenia. Solving the environmental problems also increases the energetic efficiency and added value of enterprises. Transformation of wastes into useful products helps the enterprises to progress towards the concept of minimum or even zero wastes, which enhances the preservation of the environment, and fosters the sustainable development in Slovenia. Reduced environmental effects and odor emissions improve the quality of life in the area, and the relationships between enterprises and local communities. New jobs contribute to social development in the region.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2008, 2009, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2008, 2009, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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