Scientific and technological innovation is increasingly playing a role for achieving the major breakthroughs for energy-saving solutions, waste valorization, and efficient integration of renewable resources. Biorefinery can be considered indeed a sustainable innovation for producing different high-value products without using any fossil energy source. As depicted in Figure 1a, biorefinery in the wine production chain allows obtaining bioactive molecules, biopolymers, and energy by recycling winery by-products and waste (i.e., grape pomace, wine lees, washing waters).
Thanks to its dual function of harvesting energy from waste and cleaning up waste from organic pollutants, bioelectrochemical systems, such as microbial fuel cells (MFC/MEC), provide a sustainable and low cost strategy for wine waste valorization, management, and disposal (Figure 1 b).
In this work, we will show the working principle of MFC/MEC devices and the experimental results achieved in the frame work of the AGER BIOVALE Project, which has been focused to harvest electrical energy and hydrogen from wine lees. We will also dicuss the possibility of a technological trasfer of MFC technology to different agro-industrial sectors to promote food sustainability and valorization of local agro-industries.
Figure 1. Schematics of (a) Biorefinery applied to the wine production chain; (b) an MFC device fed with wine lees.
Article based on the poster presented at the at the 10th edition of Enoforum (May 16th-18th, 2017, Vicenza, Italy)