Vaneeckhaute, C., Université Laval, Canada(free)
Recovering nutrients from (digested) wastes, such as sewage sludge and food waste, as sustainable bio-based products provides a key solution to major environmental problems. Classical technology development approaches for resource recovery largely ignore the real-world variability in raw waste materials, which currently hinders the successful implementation of recovery strategies. A major challenge is to create a consistent, sustainable and environmentally friendly supply of high-quality end-products that can compete with fossil-derived products currently on the market. There is urgent need for a paradigm shift from classical technology development approaches to sustainable integrated end-user focused strategies, supported by a reliable, competitive and repeatable quality assurance framework. An improved balance between efficiency and cost in bio-based production chains is needed, while continuously assuring product quality and safety. This paper suggests the use of a quality-by-design (QbD) approach as adapted from the pharmaceutical industry to ensure a high standard of quality consistency, thereby greatly assisting in building the world’s circular economies. The proposed QbD method is based on the assessment of product and process knowledge and understanding through (dynamic) data collection and advanced mathematical modelling so as to pro-actively design processes and treatment trains that allow to continuously meet the desired product quality. The presentation will address the challenges and opportunities in the transition to this new approach with respect to technology development, software development and stakeholder involvement.