About this Research Topic
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Food waste generation is also a growing problem in our society, with landfill and food-waste management options for the growing amount of food waste negatively affecting climate change due to the emission of greenhouse gases (methane and nitrogen oxides). The waste hierarchy identifies the best options for waste management, offering alternative solutions to landfills, with the aim of considering waste a valuable resource. More recently, one of the priorities has been to recycle as much of the material and energy contained in generated waste as possible. Only after extracting the maximum value from waste can a sustainable society be reached.
Additionally, the use of fossil fuels for energy generation is one of the main sources of atmospheric emissions causing climate change. This problem is also continuously growing because of the increasing demand for energy all around the world. This is an environmental problem that cannot be solved only by reducing the demand for energy, as access to energy is required in order to achieve an improved quality of life, as well as for economic development.
Taking into account the energy and food waste problems, a good solution could be the conversion of food waste into energy. Nowadays, one of the most widely generated kinds of waste is agro-food waste. Agro-food waste has a great renewable energy potential because this waste is characterized by its high organic load and biodegradability. Moreover, due to its relationship with food production, agro-food waste is unavoidably generated. The recovery of energy from these kinds of waste offers a great opportunity to obtain value, and, at the same time, the energy is stabilized, ultimately resulting in a double advantage.
The energy produced from agro-food waste presents minimal environmental impact and can be considered clean and renewable energy. The recovery of energy from agro-food waste integrates conversion processes (physical, chemical, electrochemical and biological) to produce heat energy, fuels (methane, hydrogen, ethanol, etc.), as well as electrical energy. There are a wide number of processes that can be utilized to extract the energy contained in agro-food waste and most of them still require exploration. With this in mind, the aim of this Research Topic is to present the most recent developments related to the repurposing of the energy produced from agro-food waste.
This Research Topic will highlight the current knowledge and innovations regarding the recovery and repurposing of energy from agro-food waste, paying special attention to the substrates characterization, waste preparation and waste transformation by means of energy-focused processes. This Topic will cover the different waste technologies operating at the different scales (laboratory/bench scale/pilot-scale/full-scale). Both research articles and general review papers are welcomed.
In order to reach this objective, this Research Topic focusing on the valorization of energy from agro-food waste aims to bring together research works falling under, but not limited to, the following topics:
• Agro-food waste characterization for energy conversion;
• Industrial symbiosis: how to gain a competitive advantage through the exchange of wastes, or the shared use of assets, logistics and expertise with the aim to obtain energy from wastes and, at the same time, reduce the environmental impact;
• Energy valorization technologies – energy from waste (e.g. fermentation; anaerobic digestion, thermal processes, bio-electrochemical systems, etc.);
• Wastes generation and energy conversion modeling;
• Process design and improvement – waste management, operational conditions, business cases, etc.
Keywords: Agro-Food wastes, Characterization, Management, Energy conversion, Operational conditions, modelling, Business case
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.