The operational environment of circular bio-based side and waste streams for biogas and nutrient recovery

Research output: ThesisMaster's thesis


The current linear economy system has failed to preserve nature and induced severe environmental burdens such as pollution and climate change threatening living on Earth. The shift to circular economy is then crucial. As a major source of waste and by-product generation while possessing high potentials of nutrients and energy recovery, bio-based side and waste streams valorization and utilization play a crucial role in establishing the circular bioeconomy within the big picture of the circular economy. In dedication to foster the transition to circular bioeconomy, this thesis aims to create an overview of the operating environment of circular bioeconomy for biogas and nutrients and identify its associated challenges and opportunities. To reach the goal, the research work was conducted following the literature review of the state-of-the-art valorization and digitalization technologies and legislations, 9 stakeholder interviews and 1 questionnaire for the 3 case studies of HAMK manure hygienization project, MTK e-marketplace and ECO3 industrial ecosystem. Those 3 case studies represent the 3 circular bioeconomy operational models of self-sustaining circularity, rural-urban symbiosis, and industrial ecosystem to be assessed for circular bioeconomy systemic operation. PESTLE analysis is utilized to assess the circular operational environment from different perspectives of political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental factors. The operational challenges and opportunities are determined through literature review in addition to the validation and opinion of stakeholders on the practical operational environment. According to the literature review and stakeholder interview, key elements impacting circular bioeconomy operation are feedstock availability and quality, technical operation, financial viability, policy and legislation change, social acceptance, resource competition and virgin material alternative. The common adopted valorization technologies for BSWS are biological methods including composting and anaerobic digestion. The main technical challenge following it is to ensure product quality whose root causes are from feedstock quality and availability and unsustainable material design. Technological cure solving the problem from the earlier cause can bring more efficient and cost-effective effects. Data and digitalization technologies can foster the transition to circular bioeconomy through e-marketplace, artificial intelligence, and blockchain-based value chain management system. The challenge for it remains in the high-tech adaption and digital infrastructure requirements. The policies and legislation are moving towards CBE promotion through biowaste separation mandate and renewable energy target. However, unharmonized regulations, restriction on BSWS product entry, taxation and low circularity incentives are the noticeable legislative challenges. In addition, more financing and fiscal supports for small operation are needed as developing small self-sustaining circularity model can reduce great burden for further logistics and treatment. Initiating systemic transition to circular bioeconomy requires close interlinkage between small self-sustaining circularity, medium rural-urban symbiosis, large industrial ecosystem operation models, and stakeholder engagement. The driver for transition is the combination of technological push, market pull, political support, and sociocultural change to adopt circular products and services. The role of the system orchestrator is crucial to foster stakeholder collaboration and make that combination feasible.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationMaster Degree
Awarding Institution
  • Tampere University
  • Tenhunen-Lunkka, Anna, Supervisor
  • Auvinen, Hannele, Supervisor, External person
  • Takala, Annina, Supervisor, External person
Award date31 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2023
MoE publication typeG2 Master's thesis, polytechnic Master's thesis


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