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Mushroom Farm Gemert Winner of bioenergy competition, Eastern Brabant, Netherlands

Winner of bioenergy competition, Eastern Brabant, Netherlands

In Autumn 2013, BioenNW’s Bioenergy Support Centre for the Eindhoven region of the Netherlands (SRE) organised a competition to find the best new biobased business opportunity in Eastern Brabant. The winner, Mushroom Farm Gemert was crowned the winner and received the award from Roël Hoppezak, Aldermen of Gemert-Bakel and the ambassador of the region for the Biobased Economy.

The aim of the competition was to challenge companies to develop new ideas for high-quality application of ingredients, nutrients or fuels from agri-food waste and residues. SRE started this competition together with the Brabant Development Agency, Agrifood Capital and Avans University. These organizations formed part of the competition judging panel.

Prizewinner: Mushroom Farm Gemert The company Mushroom Farm Gemert won the competition for its new process of ‘upcycling’ spent mushroom compost to a sought-after soil improver. This process also results in the reduction of 1.5 million cubic metres of natural gas and a reduction of CO2 emissions.

The idea arose from the company’s need to find an economical and environmentally friendly way of disposing of the waste product from its mushroom production operations. With the new process the company has found a way to ‘upcycle’ its waste and turn it into a valuable new product. Mushroom Farm Gemert has won an amount of €10,000 to spend on advice from an external expert. The Farm has used this money to work on a study, together with consultancy agency Ingenia Eindhoven, to prove the quality of fertilizer that is produced.

The process

At the moment the spent mushroom ‘champost’ is still being removed as waste material. But the material can be dried biologically and used as a material for horticulture. In this way the company not only manages to save waste (and costs), but also saves a lot of natural gas. This is because the heat that is released during the process can be used in heating the nursery and the adjacent greenhouse with strawberries. The company is working for two years already with a team of advisors from the Eindhoven region.

The opinion of the competition judging panel

The panel thought the innovation is ready for the market and is positive on the coalition of the parties who work on the realization of the initiative. They found it to be a very good example of innovation in the Biobased economy.

Words by Barbara Marcus
SRE, Netherlands