Africa is the world's second largest continent, and one of the world's fastest growing markets. Besides, Africa is the world's second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia, thus with a huge demand for food and feed. Africa covers about 5% of the Earth's total surface area and 20% of the total land area, thus there is an urgent need for energy and fertilizer supply to grow all the feedstocks needed. Contradictory to these facts, a significant part of biowaste in Africa is food waste and waste from agriculture. In Ghana, for example, cassava occupies an important position in the agricultural economy, and contributes about 46% of the agricultural GDP corresponding to a yearly production of about 12 230 600 metric tons (2010, FAO). Cassava accounts for a daily caloric intake of 30% in Ghana, and is grown by nearly every farming family. Typically about 30 % of the processed cassava ends up as biowaste directly at the plant. This type of food biowaste, which is rich in starch, hemicellulose and pectin based sugars, would thus be an excellent substrate for fermentation processes for production of ethanol, lactic acid, and amino acids with DDGS, as by product, from the protein containing feedstock. Other typical biowaste types could be banana fruit, leaves, and stems, rice straw and bran, cotton stalk etc.

In this project, we focus on finding the shortest and most efficient (simplest) way of converting African biowaste (in this context from food waste and waste from agriculture) into value added products. A key focus is on pinpointing and using the right technology for the most significant raw materials identified in each of the participating five African countries, Ghana, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, and South Africa for the production of bioethanol, biogas, biofertilizer, lactic acid, protein and amino acids. In order to do this in the best possible and economical way, one has to know about chemical composition:
  1. The biowaste contents of carbohydrates, both starchy and lignocellulosic based should be considered and evaluated as potential fermentation substrates for bioenergy carriers, chemicals, and food/feed ingredient (e.g. amino acids)
  2. The biowaste ash contents, which are potential plant nutrients as in fertilizer
  3. and biowaste proteins, which are important ingredients in food and feed applications
These mentioned products can substitute fossil based chemicals and energy products and turn a waste problem (biowaste) onto a wide range of valuable products. Emphasis will be placed on biowaste streams that are produced in significant quantities in the participating five African countries. The overall strategy for technological approach and choice of methods and materials is to have a low energy input and a high value added output. In order to achieve the above goals the following scientific and technological objectives will be pursued:
  • Identifying and characterizing significant industrial sugar based biowaste streams in five African countries Morocco, Egypt, South Africa, Kenya and Ghana. One sugar based biowaste from each country will be used for demonstrating proof of concept in the project.
  • Identifying and characterizing significant and typical nutrient element based biowaste (manure, MSW and some lignocellulosics) and selecting one or more to be used for demonstrating proof of concept in each of the five countries.
  • Developing suitable pre-treatment processes for an efficient conversion of the identified biowaste resources (feedstock) into fermentable substrates and upgraded polysaccharide fraction (sugar platform) by testing and evaluation.
    iv.Developing the most appropriate bio-conversion methods for converting pretreated sugar solutions from biowaste into ethanol, lactic and amino acids.
  • Recovering and upgrading DDGS (protein fraction from ethanol and lactic acid production) by solid state fermentation.
    vi.Deriving best technologies for downstream processing in order to recover (and utilize) oligo-and polysaccharide fractions (beta-glucan, hemicellulose, proteins) to meet product specification in terms of purity and functionality required by industry.
  • Utilizing a biogas reactor for conversion of all unconverted waste streams to biogas and for co-production in a compost facility of a fully loaded (all 14 essential plant nutrients) lignin based biofertilizer from nutrient based feedstock.
  • Evaluating the whole process chain of producing biobased energy carriers, chemical amino acids, proteins, and fertilizer from biowaste in terms of sustainability and economic viability.
  • Disseminating the results to industry and stakeholders and providing guidelines for using biowaste as a resource for production of bio-based sustainable products


  • No More Food to Waste
  • Biowaste4SP Newsletter
    Volume 1, March 2014...
  • CSIR-GH Biowaste4SP News
    CSIR-GH project activities before the end of the year...


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