In the United Kingdom, around 15 megatons of food waste (FW) are produced annually. Mixtures of different sources of FW are currently treated and valorised as biogas through anaerobic digestion, but other approaches could be applied for recovery of valuable chemicals. The carboxylate platform, similar to anaerobic digestion, produces volatile fatty acids (VFA) from organic waste by an anaerobic microbial community under non-sterile conditions. Waste-derived VFA for the production of fuels and energy are a promising alternative to those derived from fossil resources. In this study we evaluated the operational conditions required for both VFA and biogas optimal production to maximize the recovery from FW.
A mixture of substrate from different sources (mainly household, supermarket) was fermented in batch-mode varying organic loads and food to microorganism ratio (F/M). The highest VFA production, mainly acetate and propionate, was achieved at 5 g COD/L of FW and 1 g VSS/L inoculum (F/M of 5) while the process was inhibited by overload at F/M of 10 and switched to biogas production instead of VFA at F/M of 1. Biochemical methane potential tests were performed to yield the biodegradability and biogas production of FW at F/M of 0.5. Further sources of FW are characterised to predict valuable resources such as proteins or inorganics and determine the stability of the VFA or biogas production to contribute to sustainable development of energy resources.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 665992

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 31 Mar 2016
EventChemEngDayUK 2016: Towards a sustainable future - University of Bath, Bath, UK United Kingdom
Duration: 31 Mar 20161 Apr 2016


ConferenceChemEngDayUK 2016
Country/TerritoryUK United Kingdom


  • Food waste
  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Volatile fatty acids
  • Carboxylate platform


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