Biorefining of Citrus Processing Waste (CPW)

Publishable summary: 

The aim of the proposed cooperative project is to develop technologies, suitable for implementation in a biorefinery, for the conversion of pectin-rich residues to fuels and chemicals.

Large quantities of pectin rich biomass such as citrus peel and sugar beet pulp are produced worldwide. In Brazil, the world’s major exporter of orange juice, 12 million metric tons of citrus peel is produced annually. Worldwide, about 20 million metric tons of sugar beet pulp is produced. Both dried sugar beet pulp and dried citrus peel are currently used as cattle feed, but several sugar factories and orange juice factories just dump it and let it rot because the energy costs of drying and pelletizing are too high.

Citrus Processing Waste (CPW) will be addressed in this collaborative proposal. It is produced in large quantities by the orange juice industries of Brazil, Argentine and Colombia but also in southern Europe. We will develop a biorefinery concept where the extraction of high value compounds and the conversion of the pectin rich biomass to fuels or chemicals will be developed.

As a result we expect to present different approaches for the valorisation of CPW. A techno-economical evaluation of the different approaches will be presented. All the approches are novel and innovative. The valorisation of this waste product is not only economically valuable but also creates employment in rural areas where many of the orange juice industries are located.