Sustainable up-cycling of agro-, agrofood and fisheries residues in horticulture and agriculture as bioenergy, biochar and chitin-rich products

About the Project

The Horti-BlueC project seeks to address challenges in the use of sustainable resource provision in the horticulture industry by demonstrating the potential for upcycling by-products of agriculture/fishery systems in the 2Seas area. The project will demonstrate the potential for derivatives of the shellfish industry, green waste, spent growing media and plant fibres to be used as a source of sustainable growing media and CO2 enrichment for the protected horticulture industry. Valorisation chains will be developed by optimizing by-product pre-treatment and processing techniques and the generation of targeted evidence to drive the uptake of new materials by the horticulture section through pilot commercial trials across collaborative platforms. The creation of a circular economy will improve sustainability by reducing fossil fuel, chemical pesticide and fertilizer applications, while drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions from horticulture production. The project is a cross-border collaboration between England, France, the Netherlands and Belgium. This project has received funding from the Interreg 2 Seas programme 2014-2020 co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund under subsidy contract number 2S03-046.

Project Challenge

We seek to use of agricultural and fisheries waste streams (shared natural resources in the 2 Seas area) as environmentally friendly and circular economy resources for sustainable growing media (peat, coir or rockwool replacement), and chemical fertilizer and pesticide replacement. In doing so, we will create an innovative business climate by novel cultivation methods and novel products that satisfy demanding environmental and health criteria set by customers, which include CO2 reduction for global warming reduction and lower nutrient losses, lower pesticide residues and no human pathogens on fruits and vegetables. We will also stimulate technological development and innovation by demonstrating gasification as a novel bio-energy and biochar production technology. The project aims to boost innovation dynamism, in particular relative to maritime and horticulture activities, by adopting resource-efficient solutions.

Project Objective

The project’s core objective is to increase the adoption of new circular economy solutions in the 2Seas area by sustainable up-cycling of agriculture and fisheries residues in horticulture. This will be achieved through up-cycling and combining resources for sustainable soilless greenhouse cultivation into one concept based on sustainable growing media, greenhouse heating and CO2 fertigation. We will also act to reinforce the institutional framework conditions and the capacity of stakeholders to adopt these innovations. By combining all knowledge of separate materials as feedstock and low temperature gasification as processing technique into sustainable products and application techniques ready for commercialisation for use in greenhouses with a low-C heating and fertilization technology, we will optimize the use of chitin and biochar as innovative growing media amendments, closing loops at regional level. We will also generate decision models for the valorisation chains and increase the adoption of these new solutions through targeted implementation, dissemination and valorisation.

Project Partner

The project is coordinated by PCS Ornamental Plant Research (Belgium) and includes 7 other partners including Research Station Proeftuin Zwaagdijk (NL), North Sea Farm Foundation (NL), Yncréa Hauts de France, establishment ISA Lille (France), Vegetables Pole Region North (France), NIAB (UK) and Dove Associates (UK) and Ghent University (Belgium). The Bio4safe-project runs for a period of four years and is funded by Europe via the Interreg 2 Seas Programme and the Province East Flanders, Belgium.

The latest project newsletter gives an overview of the project outcomes; visit the project web site for more details.

The NIAB EMR contact for the Horti-BlueC project is Prof Xiangming Xu


In This Section

Related Links

EMR Vodcast


EMR Events


Latest News


Our People