Sustainable Food 2.0 is based on the latest technology and research findings in a variety of areas, and will create new opportunities for a circular food production through collaboration and implementation of new smart technical solutions.
Handling of waste products
Well-functioning waste product management function is crucial for food production to be completely sustainable and circular. To establish such management there is a need for both a good performing system and collaboration between stakeholders.
Ljusdal Energi will be responsible for energy, water supply, and treatment of waste and wastewater. Therefore, it will establish a special waste production company, which will operate waste product management to ensure that the recovery systems operate as intended for the circular production plants. This company will be responsible for purification and recycling , both in an environmental and a cost-effective manner.
The systems will be built in such a way that water, nutrients and energy can be reused and recycled as much as possible. However, since the various production units may run as a completely independent production plant, the waste production company will therefore ensure that there is both purification and storage capabilities of various waste products according to the variations of production loads. The different food production plants will receive benefits from possible synergies but also concurrently avoid negative disturbances that will be transferred from other production facilities.
Aside from environmental benefits, the overall waste product management provides cost benefits through reduced treatment costs and revenues from the upgraded products that will be produced within the plant. The overall residual management includes the following features:
- Water from the fish farm will be a resource for the horticultural production through nutrient and energy recovery.
- Greenhouse cultivation purifies the water from/to the fish farm.
- Sludge and excess water from the fish farm can provide nutrients to surrounding farmland.
- Well-organised collection of the organic waste in the area (fish waste, plant parts, cow feces, food waste) enables a large-scale upgrading to fish feed material and compost. For the upgrading maggots are used, which can provide the whole plant with competitive priced feed.
- In the production of feed there will also be a large amount of compost produced. This production can be combined with existing composting plants in the area.
- Separate treatment of nutrient-rich water and sludge when there is a surplus that cannot be taken care of in any other way.
The residual company will ensure that the closed-loop systems and the upgrading of waste products will work at both the local and municipal level, which will result in an even broader closed-loop system. What this means is that the company is not only directly responsible for the service function and that the upgrading opportunities are fully exploited within the production plant itself, but that the neighbouring businesses and the municipality are fully involved.
This means that the residual product company on the Bränta industrial park will have a local collaboration with:
- Snatens’ farm for the exchange of nutrient-rich water, mud and cow feces;
- Bränta AB for the utilisation of the waste wood and wood chips from the area, and possible heat production and coordination of the production and sale of different compost qualities; and
- local residents and operators for the collection of organic waste for upgrading within the industrial.
Land-based fish farming
Traditional fish farming is carried out in large cages in lakes or at sea. This type of farming can be performed on a very large scale. Excess doses of fish feed in combination with fish feces greatly impact the local environment. For many years, various pilot and demonstration plants have been built and evaluated for land-based and circular fish farming. The positive results from these evaluations outline why a number of large commercial land-based fish farms have been built. In these facilities water is recirculated and has a very high recovery rate, which is keeping down the costs of water, energy and water treatment. The reduced need for water makes it both easy and cost effective to gain control of the local environmental impact through a cleaning of the emissions that is not directly taken care of within the facility. Problems with the local environmental impact gives as a result that it is also more difficult to receive environmental permits due to the increasing environmental requirements for new installations why this new technology is now in steep rise worldwide.
The new land-based facilities called Recycling Aquaculture System (RAS) can be built with very good technical, economic and environmental conditions. However, it is possible to create a number of additional benefits if a full-scale aquaponic plant is built, that is a coordinated production of fish and vegetables. Coordinated production also creates good conditions for new circular and closed-loop food production that in addition to outstanding environmental performance will also become very cost effective. In Ljusdal, we expect that such a system will be built in the form of large-scale greenhouse facilities, large-scale land-based fish farming, and coordinated large-scale collection and upgrading of waste products.
We expect that the coordinated production provides opportunities for efficiency gains, both within each facility and above all by the plants within the area which can utilise each other’s excess products. In addition to the ability to reach completely circular and sustainable food production of fish and vegetables, fish farming synergies can lower the production costs through various means:
- Nutrients in the water can be used in the greenhouses while at the same time purifying the water .
- Excess nutrient-rich water and sludge can be disposed of and utilised in neighbouring farms.
- Heat in the excess water can be taken care of in the greenhouse plants.
- Collected organic waste will be upgraded to fish feed material and compost.
The current planned land area is very large so there is room for an unlimited expansion of a fish farm along with possible processing operations for fish, for example.
To achieve our vision, we believe that the land-based fish farm should be built in accordance with the following principles:
- Large-scale production to achieve a level of cost-efficiency.
- High recirculation and closure of the water systems for both cost and environmental reasons.
- Coordination of cleaning systems and media supply to the greenhouses to minimise both the external environmental impact and costs.
- Common energy systems within the area for obtaining an optimal energy recovery for affected businesses.
- Flexible facility design to allow for several different species of fish to be farmed in the plant and thus can be easily adapted to current market conditions.
The climate-smart Greenhouse
Today’s new greenhouses can be effectively designed with high-energy efficiency and a recycling system that reduces the need for externally supplied water and a high closing ratio, which means that the need for water treatment is minimal.
We expect that this efficient design can be developed and adapted to Swedish conditions, which can reduce the energy costs further, and that through coordination with fish and upgrading facilities a number of synergies can be achieved. In addition, reaching a completely circular and sustainable fish and vegetables production, the synergies will result in lower production costs through the recovery of nutrition and energy from the fish farm, and a coordinated management of organic material that can be upgraded within the planned facility.
The current planned land area is very large so there is room for one or several large greenhouses for growing vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers. However, there is also interest, for example, in cultivating spices and flowers, which provide opportunities for an interesting overall concept.
To achieve our vision, we believe that greenhouse will be built according to the following principles:
- They should be large to achieve a good cost efficiency. For a tomato, it probably means a minimum size of 5 ha, but in other cultures this size may vary.
- Production takes place year round using energy-efficient lighting.
- Recirculating ventilation for a lower need for energy, carbon dioxide and water.
- A positive pressure ventilation that minimises the flow of air through the roof hatches, which also reduces the intrusion of bugs and hence the need for pesticides.
- Designs based on energy efficient materials and tissues to achieve a low heat demand.
- Design of an integrated energy system with neighboring businesses to make best use of residual heat from both fish farming and the upgrading facilities for waste
- Design of heating systems based on a low temperature system than can lower the overall cost of heating.
- An integrated heat energy system in addition to an integrated heat recovery is built up around an efficient biofuel plant that is combined with heat pumps and energy storage.
Combined local and sustainable and closed-loop food production at Bränta, Ljusdal.
In the developed system solution, the focus is on every production plant and system, so that each system will be as cost- and resource-efficient as possible. In addition, a number of opportunities for collaboration are described, whereby resource and environmental efficiency can be further improved.
This approach has several advantages for the facility such as:
- Plants can be developed in phases independently.
- Malfunctions in a system do not carryover to other systems.
- Several alternative coordination possibilities are created, which increase both the flexibility and the chance for achieving optimal resource efficiency for the entire area.
Food production at Bränta will be built around large-scale greenhouses and fish farms. Both cultivation systems have a very high resource efficiency and especially the production in greenhousen will have a very small impact on the environment, and both plants will have a very high competitiveness by itself.
Food production at Bränta will be built around large-scale greenhouses and fish farms. Both cultivation systems have very high resource efficiency, and the production in greenhouses will have a very small impact on the environment and both plants will be highly competitive.
However, there are a number of cooperation opportunities that can boost competitiveness further by:
- reducing costs through improved resource utilisation for each plant;
- coordinated waste management, thus creating opportunities to upgrade them to high-quality products; and
- creating a closed-loop production with very good environmental performance, reducing environmental costs and createing the possibility of selling eco-labelled products.
- Primarily this integration will be performed through various means:
- Water from the fish farm is used as a resource for the horticultural production so that the nutrition and energy is reused.
- Greenhouse cultivation purifies the water for the fish farm.
- Well-organised collection of the organic waste can be done in the area, and primarily composed of fish waste and organic plant parts.
Well-organised collection of the residuals that cannot be directly utilised in the industrial area can be reused in cooperation with other local stakeholders.
In addition to collaboration within the industrial area at Bränta, an interesting interaction could also be established with the existing businesses in the region where Ljusdal Energi will have a leading role in developing possible interactions. Stakeholders for this cooperation in the region are:
Conducting business in the neighbouring plot and can offer:
- heat deliveries from own boiler plant that today already supply enough heat during the summertime;
- possible location for a new boiler plant directly adjacent to the industrial area;
- operation and maintenance of the boiler;
- delivery of large amounts of waste wood and wood chips from the neighbouring plot;
- access to mobile auxiliary power units that are located on the neighbouring plot; and
- already functioning production of compost and soil conditioners that may be used together with the new production of compost and feed within the new industrial zone.
One of the largest dairy farms in Sweden and can offer:
- large arable land that can utilise sludge and nutrient-rich water to increase their production capacity; and
- large amounts of cow feces that could pose an interesting component for the production of feed and soil conditioners.
Responsible for energy, water, waste water, and waste in Ljusdal, and can offer:
- coordination of the handling and reuse of residuals within the industrial area;
- establishing the necessary infrastructure to and from the area with regard to water, waste water, and energy, for example;
- collection of organic waste that can be used and upgraded in the industrial area; and
- coordination with neighbouring municipalities, if there is a need for additional waste, to get the appropriate output volume for the feed production.
With the above-described coordination possibilities, the planned production facilities will be able to strengthen their competitiveness, which will also show the way for others on how to build local, circular and sustainable new food production in very good economic conditions.