Presentation of NOSHAN at Tarrasa in 2012/Picture: NOSHAN
Eduardo González. Madrid
The European research project NOSHAN, financed by the EU and coordinated by the Spanish technological centre Acondicionamiento Tarrasense (LEITAT), has developed a programme to turn agricultural waste into feed with the objective of promoting agriculture without damaging the environment, creating employment and reducing the European dependence on fertilizer’s exports.
18 per cent of the world food exports, to the value of 76.000 million euros, come from the EU, according to the European Commission. However, estimates anticipate that by 2050, the world demand for food will have increased 70 per cent and that the growing use of the biomass will also put great pressure on agriculture, adding the problem of agricultural waste, which acts as a brake on agriculture and means an estimated cost for taxpayers of between 55 and 99 euros per ton.
Therefore, the EU is investing, at the moment, more than 4,000 million euros in research and innovation to look for a European bio-economy that makes the most of renewable biological resources. That is the case of the project NOSHAN, which will turn food waste (in particular that coming from fruit, vegetables and dairy products) into feed, with a reduced cost and low energy consumption.
NOSHAN, which has received almost three million euros of financing within the seventh framework programme of research and technological development 2007-2013 of the European Union, is made up of research centres, a university and food companies from six countries of the EU, Spain, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands, as well as Turkey.
The programme to turn waste into feed, according to the EC, “would offer new opportunities to farmers, while reducing Europe’s dependence on feed imports”, and, at the same time, “the creation of new green jobs, process plants and feed manufacture would be promoted”.
NOSHAN, coordinated by the Catalan centre LEITAT, has received three million euros from the EU
NOSHAN’s team was set in motion in August 2012 through the assessment of the value of different types of waste and the creation of a database containing the potential ingredients of the feed. By 2016, once the project has ended, the team will also know the best technologies for the extraction and the improvement of each type of waste. NOSHAN’s presentation took place in September 2012 at the city of Tarrasa, which is LEITAT’s headquarters, a technological centre specializing in the environment, biotechnology and renewable energy.
According to LEITAT’s scientific coordinator, Montse Jorba, “a third part of the food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted in the world”, reaching 1,300 million tons per year. “The transformation of food is responsible for a large part of this waste”, Jorba continued, quoted in a statement of the EC. “Fruits and vegetables present the highest waste rates among all types of food. This means a high waste of resources, which include water, land, energy, work and capital”, she added.