Contribuimos al Desarrollo Sostenible del Sector Agroalimentario



Promoting circularity in the European agri-food sector – UNLOCK

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Date: 2022/01/24

The European poultry sector generates 3.6 million tonnes of waste feathers each year, of which only around 25% is collected separately and valorised. This waste stream contains nearly 90% keratin, a valuable protein that can be a source for biodegradable materials, these residues thus having a great potential to obtain new applications for the agricultural sector. With the aim of developing new products from this feathers waste streams, Inkoa participates in the European UNLOCK project funded by the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) within the Horizon 2020 Program.

During the 4-years duration of the project, the UNLOCK consortium will design innovative, economically and environmentally sustainable value chains to create a bioeconomy based on waste from the poultry sector. Different recovery technologies will be used, such as: mechanical treatment, steam explosion, microbial fermentation or chemical hydrolysis, depending on the type of final products desired. The bio-based products that are developed will be tailored to the needs of the agricultural sector, and will include seed trays, non-woven geotextiles and hydroponic foams. Likewise, the materials developed based on keratin will be aimed at generating zero waste, allowing controlled biodegradability, while enriching the soil with organic nitrogen.

The consortium, comprising 15 partners from 7 EU countries, covers the entire value chain, from raw material to equipment assessments, processes, end product manufacturing and sustainability assessment. As part of the project's results, two commercial biorefineries will be established, the first of their kind.

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