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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

A comparison in product-value potential in four treatment strategies for food waste and faeces – assessing composting, fly larvae composting and anaerobic digestion

Lalander, Cecilia; Nordberg, Ake; Vinneras, Bjorn


Municipalities are expected to provide solid waste management, which is funded by tax revenue or/and waste treatment fees. In many low- and middle-income countries, municipalities struggle to provide an adequate level of service, and in these places, the informal sector plays a major role in the collection and treatment of solid waste. In contrast to the plastic and metal fraction, the organic fraction is not managed by the informal sector, primarily because it has low or no financial value and treatment would cost more than the possible revenue. If the organic fraction could be converted to valuable products, the treatment could bear its own cost and this could act as an incentive to collect and treat this fraction. In this study, the potential product value generated through four treatment strategies treating food waste and faeces was compared in a Swedish context: (i) thermophilic composting; (ii) black soldier fly treatment (BSF treatment); (iii) anaerobic digestion (AD); and (iv) BSF treatment followed by AD (BSF + AD). In order to assess the AD strategies, the biomethane potentials of the substrates were assessed. Food waste had the highest biomethane potential, while BSF-treated faeces had the lowest (417 and 188 NmL g VS-1, respectively). Thermophilic composting yielded the lowest value product (organic fertilizer; 26 (sic) t(-1) treated food waste) and BSF treatment + AD the highest total value of products (animal feed, vehicle gas and organic fertilizer; 215 (sic) t(-1) treated food waste). The treatment costs were not taken into account here; the total value gives an indication of the cost margin for the different strategies studied. In places with an existing AD plant, BSF treatment + AD strategy is the most economically viable. In places where no such plant exists, BSF treatment is likely to be the most economically favourable treatment.


animal feed; biogas; biomethane potential; economic assessment; Hermetia illucens; organic fertilizer

Published in

GCB Bioenergy
2018, Volume: 10, number: 2, pages: 84-91
Publisher: WILEY