Optimal Conversion of Organic Wastes to Value-Added Products: Toward a Sustainable Integrated Biorefinery in Denmark

Carina L. Gargalo, Julien Rapazzo, Ana Carvalho, Krist V. Gernaey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

46 Downloads (Pure)


It is crucial to leave behind the traditional linear economy approach. Shifting the paradigm and adopting a circular (bio)economy seems to be the strategy to decouple economic growth from continuous resource extraction. To this end, producing bio-based products that aim to replace a part, if not all, of the fossil-based chemicals and fuels is a promising step. This can be achieved by using multi-product integrated biorefineries that convert organic wastes into chemicals, fuels, and bioenergy to optimize the use and close the materials and energy loops. To further address the development and implementation of organic waste integrated biorefineries, we proposed the open-source organic waste to value-added products (O2V) model and multi-objective optimization tool. O2V aims to provide a quick and straightforward holistic assessment, leading to identifying optimal or near-optimal design, planning, and operational decisions. This model not only prioritizes economic benefits but also takes on board the other pillars of sustainability. The proposed tool is built on a comprehensive superstructure of processing alternatives that include all stages concerning the conversion of organic waste to value-added products. Furthermore, it has been framed and formulated in a "plug-and-play" format, where, when required, the user only needs to add new process data to the structured information database. This database integrates data on (i) new processes (e.g., different conversion technologies), (ii) feedstocks (e.g., composition), and (iii) products (e.g., prices), among others. Due to Denmark's high availability of organic waste, implementing a second-generation integrated biorefinery in Denmark has been chosen as a realistic showcase. The application of O2V efficiently led to the identification of trade-offs between the different sustainability angles. Thus, it made it possible to determine early-stage decisions regarding product portfolio, optimal production process, and related planning and operational decisions. Henceforth, it has been demonstrated that applying O2V aids in shifting the fossil to bio-based production, thereby contributing to the switch toward a circular bioeconomy. Copyright © 2022 Gargalo, Rapazzo, Carvalho and Gernaey .
Original languageEnglish
Article number837105
JournalFrontiers in Chemical Engineering
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Circular bioeconomy
  • Integrated biorefinery
  • Organic waste
  • Superstructure optimization
  • Multi-objective
  • Open-source


Dive into the research topics of 'Optimal Conversion of Organic Wastes to Value-Added Products: Toward a Sustainable Integrated Biorefinery in Denmark'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this